Baby Pushing Bottle Away But Still Hungry (Reasons & Solutions)

Babies are full of surprises! They can be incredibly adorable and equally stubborn. No matter how hard you try to meet their needs, sometimes deciphering their cues can be incredibly challenging. For instance, pushing away their bottle even when they’re hungry. As a parent, if this is something you can relate to, you’re certainly not alone! 

When a baby pushes away a bottle but is still hungry, it could mean a number of things. They might be distracted, teething, not feeling well, or dealing with colic issues. However, it’s also possible that the baby simply doesn’t like the formula.

Baby Pushing Bottle Away But Still Hungry

Dealing with a baby who is refusing a bottle is stressful to say the least. That being said, the majority of the time, it’s not something serious. So, instead of reading too much into it, stick around till the end of this article to find out what you can do about it!

Reasons For a Baby Refusing The Bottle

If your baby is constantly refusing bottles even if they’re hungry, there are a number of factors that could be at play. Some of them include:-

1. Wrong Position

The way you hold your little one has a lot of impact on their eating habits. If you don’t position them properly during feeding, it can make it tricky for them to drink from the bottle. 

Holding the bottle at the wrong angle can make the milk flow too fast or too slow, making it tough for your baby to drink comfortably. Thus, they end up refusing the bottle. 

Wrong positioning is one of the main reasons why babies may grunt while breastfeeding. Let’s explore more about the topic of “Why Babies Grunt While Breastfeeding

2. Baby is Distracted

Babies are naturally curious. It takes a second for them to get distracted by their surroundings. If there’s too much going on while they’re having their meal, there’s a good chance they’ll lose interest and push the bottle away.

3. Baby is Teething

While teething is a natural process, it can be quite uncomfortable and painful for babies. It can cause soreness, tenderness, and irritation in their gums, making it difficult for them to feed from a bottle comfortably. As a result, they may push the bottle away. 

4. Baby is Not Feeling Well

When babies are unwell, they may encounter symptoms like fever, nausea, pain, or discomfort. Likewise, if a baby is exhausted, it can affect their appetite. In such situations, feeding can become a challenge, and the baby may refuse the bottle.

5. Wrong Temperature

Babies tend to be really picky when it comes to food. If the milk is too hot or too cold, it can make them uncomfortable and lead to them refusing the bottle. Therefore, it’s super important to check the temperature of the formula before giving it to them.

6. Baby Has Colic Issues

When babies have colic, they may cry for a long stretch of time, for no apparent reason. Along with being fussy, they may also experience gastrointestinal issues like bloating, burping, and constipation. All of these symptoms can contribute to the baby refusing the bottle.

7. Baby Doesn’t Like the Formula

If a baby doesn’t like the taste of the formula, they simply won’t eat it. It’s as simple as that. As mentioned earlier, babies are super picky, and if they don’t like the formula, they’ll just push the bottle away, even if they’re hungry.

8. Transition from Breastfeeding to Bottle

Transitioning from breastfeeding to bottle feeding can be quite a challenge for little ones. They may struggle to adjust to the different nipple shape and milk flow of a bottle compared to the breast. As a result, they might push the bottle away during the initial stages of the transition.

9. Transition from formula to solid foods

Solid foods tend to be more filling and high in calories. Moreover, they can be quite appetizing for babies! So, once your little one starts having solids in their diet, they may lose their appetite for bottle-feeding. This newfound love for solids can lead them to push the bottle away. 

10. Underlying Health Issues

Sometimes underlying health issues can cause the baby to refuse the bottle even if they’re hungry. Conditions such as infections, thrush, respiratory problems, or eating disorders can negatively impact their appetite and create an aversion to food.

Things to Do When Baby Pushes Bottle Away

As a parent, it can be heartbreaking to watch your baby push the bottle away, even when they’re hungry. Well, the good news is, there are plenty of strategies you can try to address this issue. 

Changing The Formula

If your little one keeps rejecting the bottle despite being hungry, chances are they don’t like the formula, or have sensitivity to certain ingredients. Trying a new formula may help in this regard.

However, it’s best to consult a pediatrician before choosing a new formula. They might recommend a different brand, or a hypoallergenic formula taking your baby’s needs into account. 

Change In Atmosphere

Babies thrive in cozy and comforting atmospheres. Therefore, it’s important to create a calm and soothing environment during feeding times. Dimming the lights, minimizing distractions, and ensuring a quiet room can truly make a world of difference!

Involving a Different Caregiver

Babies can pick up on the energy and emotions of those around them. That’s why a change in the person offering the bottle can often make a difference in your baby’s willingness to accept it.

Select someone whom your baby is familiar with and feels comfortable being around. Just make sure the caregiver approaches feeding with patience, creating a nurturing environment for your little one.

Experimenting With Different Bottles

If your baby is consistently refusing the bottle, it could be worth trying out different bottles. You can experiment with bottles made from different materials to see if your baby has a preference.

Additionally, trying out different nipple shapes and sizes might help determine which one your baby responds to best.

Burping Before Feeding

Air trapped in your baby’s tummy can make them feel full or uncomfortable. Burping your baby before a feeding session can be beneficial in this regard.

Simply hold your baby upright against your shoulder and gently rub their back in an upward motion. It’ll help release any trapped air and reduce the chance of bottle refusal. 

Trying Different Feeding Techniques

Every baby is unique, so what works for one may not work for another. If a certain feeding technique doesn’t seem effective, experimenting with different options is the way to go.You can try dream feeding which  involves feeding your baby while they are in a semi-asleep state.

Another option is pace feeding, which helps regulate the flow of milk from the bottle, mimicking the natural breastfeeding process. The key is to keep experimenting, until you find a technique that works for both you and your baby. 

Trying Different Positions

When it comes to feeding your baby, ensuring their comfort should be a top priority. The last thing you want is a cranky baby because they’re not comfortable during feeding.

Whether you opt for the classic cradling position, side-lying, or an elevated position, keep experimenting until your little one feels at ease before the feeding session.

Introduce Solid Food Only If The Age is Appropriate

Introducing solid foods to your baby is an exciting milestone to say the least. If your baby has reached the appropriate age and is showing less interest in bottle-feeding, it’s time to introduce them to solids.

Remember to start with small amounts and gradually increase them as they adapt to this new lifestyle.

Things You Shouldn’t Do When Your Baby is Pushing The bottle Away

There are so many dos and don’ts when it comes to feeding your baby. Especially if your baby tends to push their bottle away during feeding, there are a few things you need to be mindful of:

1. Force or pressure the baby to continue feeding

Seeing your baby refuse the bottle can be tough, especially when they’re hungry. But forcing them to eat won’t help. In fact, it can make them even more resistant in the future. That’s why it’s important to respect your baby’s cues and only feed them when they’re ready.

2. Become frustrated or stressed during feeding sessions

As stressful as it is to watch your baby refuse the bottle constantly, it’s important to remain calm. Babies can sense our emotions. If they pick up on your frustration or stress, it’ll only make things harder.

Take a little breather, collect yourself, and try again later. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference it can make.

3. Introduce solids too early as a solution

Having solids for the first step is a big milestone for your baby. But just because your baby is pushing the bottle away, doesn’t mean you should rush into it.

Premature introduction of solids comes with so many consequences. Instead of resorting to early introduction of solids, figure out what’s causing the issue in the first place. 

4. Switch to a different feeding method abruptly

Switching to a different feeding method all of a sudden isn’t recommended, especially if your baby is pushing the bottle away. It can disrupt their routine and make things worse. Instead, introduce the new method gradually.

Start by incorporating it alongside their current feeding routine, and see how they respond. Taking it slowly and gently will help make the transition easier for your little one!

When to see a doctor

The majority of the time, bottle refusal is not a cause for concern. However, if your baby has been consistently refusing the bottle for several days and showing signs of discomfort, like fever, vomiting, or gut issues, it’s a good idea to consult a specialist right away.

As a parent, trusting your instincts is important. Even if your baby doesn’t exhibit any of these signs, a regular visit to the doctor can give you peace of mind. Moreover, taking prompt steps can prevent potential complications like malnutrition or the development of eating disorders.

FAQs about baby pushing Bottle Away 

  • Is it normal for a baby to refuse the bottle but still show signs of hunger?

It’s incredibly common for babies to push the bottle away. Usually, it’s just a temporary phase that goes away on its own. However, if you’re feeling concerned, seeking support can help you navigate through this phase.

  • How long should I continue offering the bottle if my baby keeps pushing it away?

If your baby keeps refusing the bottle for 10-15 minute, it’s okay to let it go for now. Sometimes babies need a little time to settle down. The best approach is to comfort your baby, and try again later when they’re ready.

  • Is it common for breastfed babies to refuse the bottle?

It’s totally normal for breastfed babies to refuse the bottle initially. To improve your chances of success, try using different bottles that closely resemble breastfeeding. Finding a nipple that feels similar to what your baby is used to can also make the transition easier.

  • How can I differentiate between genuine fullness and bottle refusal?

Keep an eye out for your baby’s hunger cues before and during feedings. Signs like rooting, sucking on hands or fingers, smacking lips, or getting fussy are all signs that they’re hungry. But if your little one still refuses the bottle despite showing these cues, it could be a case of bottle refusal.


Being a parent is no easy feat. If your baby is pushing the bottle away despite being hungry, there’s no need to panic. Try to figure out what’s causing the issue, and come up with a solution that works for both you and your baby. 

The important thing is to be patient during the process. Remember, each child is unique, and they will adapt at their own pace. With your love and support, they will eventually get the hang of it! 

About Smily Mom

Smilymom is an initiative by a group of four friends who simply wanted to help you make good decisions. We bring you the greatest and latest information about parenting, baby wellness, housekeeping, and home decoration along with expert advice and trusted product reviews. We don’t settle for misleading, half-baked information and we take pride in it.

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