Baby not drinking milk is something that every mother worries about. Whether a baby is not drinking breast milk or formula feed, there can be many reasons why your baby is refusing to drink. Whether you are breast feeding or bottle feeding, you will sometimes notice that your baby drinks less milk that he usually does.
Keep reading to find out why your baby is not drinking enough milk and what you can do to make them drink more.
Baby Not Drinking Milk
Whenever you offer milk to your baby, you will notice that he will push it and start crying and screaming. You are not alone in this.
Babies not drinking milk can be a real challenge from parents. Sometimes they worry needlessly due to having unrealistic expectations about how much milk their baby should drink. If they are formula feeding, they worry thinking their baby is consuming the amount that is mentioned on the product box. But you need to know that every baby is an individual and their requirements can be different.
If your baby has been drinking milk normally and the issue has arised all of a sudden then your baby might be going through some kind of discomfort. Sometimes if the baby is finding it difficult to latch, it could be normal during the first few times and will learn over the time.
There are many reasons why a baby doesn’t want to drink milk. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons for your baby’s refusal to drink milk.
Injuries among premature babies are common especially when the baby has gone through a difficult labor. You need to observe if your baby starts crying immediately whenever you hold your baby or during your nursing session.
Problem In Breathing
Babies can sometimes find it difficult to breathe during their feeding session and because of this it becomes difficult to them to suck and swallow milk which makes them to refuse.
Babies can suffer from oral aversion due to which they will refuse to take anything in their mouth.
Discomfort due to ear infection or any other kind of pain can make your baby cry a lot and refuse to drink milk.
Many babies go through the colic phase where they cry a lot and nothing else. It comes difficult to calm such babies and can usually last for 2 to 3 months. This can be due to problem in digestion, sensitive food, etc.
If your baby is lactose intolerant or has milk related allergies, then he will refuse to drink milk. You need to find out if your baby is allergic to milk or not.
Too many distractions due to sound, light or any other factors that your baby is sensitive can make him stop from drinking milk.
Your baby can refuse to drink milk if he is not feeling well. In fact, not drinking milk or consuming anything is the first sign that can be attributed to illness.
If the flow of milk to too less due to clogged beasts or other reasons it makes difficult for your baby to suck and this can lead to baby refusing to drink milk.
Your baby might like to drink milk in a specific way and any change in that can make them refuse to milk. For example, your baby is bottle fed and someone else tries to feed your baby.
Some other reasons like tiredness, feeding excessively in the night, milk additives, giving too much solid food can also result in babies refusing to drink milk.
What To Do If Your Baby Refuses To Drink Milk?
Here are some things that you can do if your baby doesn’t want to drink milk.
- Look for signs of illness fever, diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, breathing problems, etc.
- Look for signs if your baby is nourishes well. If yes, it means that your baby is drinking enough milk.
- Always look at your baby whenever you feed him and not the bottle. Respond to your baby’s needs accordingly. If your baby says enough, stop feeding him and do not try to force.
- Do not provide any solid food until your baby is atleast 6 months of age.
- Offer solid food only after feeding milk (atleast 10-15 minutes after feed) and not before or in between feeding. Until your baby is drinking healthy intake of milk, limit the amount of solid food that you offer to your baby.
- Finally remember that every baby is different and their needs will be equally different. Do not try to compare your baby with someone else.
Solutions If Baby Is Not Drinking Milk
Let’s take a look at some of the solutions to make your baby drink milk.
Long Interval Feeding
Avoid feeding your baby before making them sleep and feed them after they wake up. This can help them in self soothing, but that can also mean that their feeding times will change as they grow up. As babies grow up, they take lesser naps which also mean that their feeding sessions will also get less.
If your baby is refusing to drink milk, see if you can stretch the time before you feed him again so that he will get hungrier. Since baby’s tummy cannot hold much, they might need regular feedings.
If you are finding it difficult to make your baby sleep, you can check this article on how to soothe your baby and make them sleep.
Check How Much Your Baby Should Eat
After the first few weeks of your baby’s birth you will be on the race to make sure that your baby is gaining a healthy weight. But they might also hit a stage where they don’t have to gain as much weight.
The growth of some babies might be much slower than other new born babies and you will often find that your baby is more interested in crawling and doing other activities rather than eating. In such situation providing solid food will provide enough calories to him that he used to get from milk.
So if you see that your baby is not drinking enough milk, it might just mean that he doesn’t need as much calories from milk that he usually needs.
To make sure of it you can consult your pediatrician to find out how much milk your baby actually needs. You might be needlessly stressing about something that isn’t an issue in the first place.
No Solids Before Milk
Many parents make the mistake of providing solid food to their baby before feeding milk. This will make you baby full even before they feed on milk making them to refuse.
So, always make sure to feed milk to your baby before offering them solids. He might finish eating solids after drinking milk but not finish milk after eating solids.
If your baby is insisting on eating solids, then another option is to feed the milk much later after giving the solid food. Giving both at the same time can be a bit too much. Wait for atleast an hour after giving him solid food and then provide milk if he has the appetite for it.
Mix Milk With Solid Food
If you are worried that your baby is not getting enough calories then you can try by mixing solid food with milk.
Instead of using water to prepare cereal, using milk means that your baby will get both solid food and milk at the same time. You can also mix vegetable or fruit puree with milk.
Some parents get more creative by turning the mix into popsicle by freezing them and let their baby suck on it. Just keep in mind that this will get a bit messy if your baby is new to holding ice pops.
It can get frustrating when your baby starts with his tantrums whenever you try to feed him. You cannot force your baby to drink while stressing over that they don’t drink much.
It is very important to find the cause if your baby is refusing to drink milk and solve them in a timely manner.
By using simple methods as discussed above, you can make your baby drink milk regularly. Just relax and look out for signs that your baby is giving you on why he doesn’t want to drink milk.
If all else fails contact your pediatrician who can diagnose your baby’s and provide a solution accordingly.
If you have any experiences on baby not drinking milk, share with us in the comments below.