Here's Why Your Baby Hates Formula & What You Can Do About It

By
Share
Ad failed to load

People think that formula feeding is easy, but as most formula feeding moms know, it can be a bit of a struggle, especially if you are feeding a fussy baby. Some babies are happy with whatever formula or milk you put in front of them, and others can be a little pickier. If you’re a mom whose baby can’t stand the sight of their bottle, you may be frustrated and concerned, but there may be more to their scorn than you think. Figuring out why your baby hates formula can actually educate you to some bigger issues.

My sister has twin boys and while one baby thrived on the formula, the other just refused to drink it. He would fuss, cry, and continuously spit up during feedings, so she ended up trying different formulas until one sticked. Whether it was the taste, smell, or composition of the formula that turned him off, he definitely changed his feeding behavior when his formula was switched.

So while some babies can tolerate and enjoy certain formulas, others may be more sensitive. As a parent, all you can do is keep offering different options, and keep an eye out for signs of poor nutrition. If your baby is having any kind of allergic reactions, including rashes, weird stools, or vomiting, or if they aren’t gaining weight properly, you should definitely let your pediatrician know. You can also consult with a nutritionist who can guide you on the healthiest and most suitable formula options for your baby.  

Ad failed to load

In the meantime, here are some ways to decipher why your baby may be shunning their formula and fussing when you feed them.

Ad failed to load

1They're Used To Breast Milk

Giphy

If you have recently switched from breastfeeding or breast milk to formula, taste and smell may be the reasons your baby hates feeding. Parenting Science explained that babies are equipped with all five senses of taste — they can taste sweetness, saltiness, sourness, bitterness, and umami.

Breast milk has 10 times more glutamate than cow’s milk, which falls under the umami (protein sensing taste buds), explained The Guardian, so babies might taste the difference when you switch to formula. Babies can also smell the difference between breast milk and formula, noted Parenting Science, so it might take a while for them to get used to the change.

2Their Tummies Can’t Tolerate It

Giphy

Around 20 percent of babies may not be able to tolerate the lactose in cow’s milk formula, explained the Mayo Clinic, and they can even be allergic to the proteins it contains. In an email interview with Romper, Anita Mirchandani, M.S. R.D. C.D.N, a clinical nutritionist and registered dietitian at Yummy Spoonfuls, says that most formulas are made with cow’s milk, and if your child doesn’t respond well to their formula, they may not be able to tolerate cow’s milk.  

According to Parents, babies who are intolerant of cow’s milk will be fussy, gassy, bloated, and have loose stools. The article noted that when babies have allergies to cow’s milk, you may see hives, vomiting, or blood in stools. If you suspect that your baby is unable to tolerate cow’s milk formula, let your pediatrician know. There are alternative formulas, like soy-based formulas that are lactose-free, and protein hydrolysate formulas in which proteins are partially or extensively broken down into smaller sizes that baby can tolerate.

3They're Distracted

Giphy

It may seem like your baby is refusing to drink formula because they hate it, but if they are getting older, it just might be that they’re too distracted to drink. According to Sleeping Should Be Easy, sometimes babies will find more excitement in exploring their surroundings than drinking, so you should avoid loud or distracting rooms to feed them in.

Baby Care Advice also noted that if your baby has had a negative, stressful, or painful experience with feeding (like acid reflux or an allergy), it might trigger anxiety when they see the bottle. In this case, you may want to distract them while feeding, keeping their mind off of their aversion. You can even try using a different bottle, or try a sippy cup if they are old enough.

Ad failed to load

4They're Not Hungry

Giphy

If you have recently introduced solids into your baby’s diet, they may not want to feed as much as they did before. According to Baby Center, if your baby has started solids, they may just be too full to drink. So the fussiness you see could just be attributed to a full belly. If this is the case, the article suggested trying to feed your baby again a little while later. Hopefully by then, they will have more of an appetite and fuss less when drinking.  

5They Aren’t Feeling Well

Giphy

No one feels like eating when they’re sick, and babies aren't different. Baby Center mentioned that if your baby is fussing at feedings, it could be because they have a cold, a sore throat, or an ear infection. If you see that your baby is feverish, congested, coughing, or just generally fussy, they may be feeling under the weather. If this is the case, it’s important to make sure they're drinking enough to stay well hydrated, and definitely keep your pediatrician in the loop.

6They Can’t Go With The Flow

Giphy

If your baby is fussing at feeding time, it could be that they aren’t happy with the flow of the milk. Baby Care Advice noted that if your bottle’s nipple is not the right size and speed for your baby — too short, too long, too fast, or too slow — your baby might get frustrated with feeding. Swapping out the nipple for the correct size and speed may be the solution to your baby’s feeding fuss.

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.  

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

8 Things That *Will* Go Wrong Every Time You Plan A Kid-Free Night

The last time my husband and I went out to dinner alone was… actually, I can’t remember. But I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen a movie in a theater in the last year. Before we had children we used to go out all the time. But even with …
By Liza Wyles

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack