My NICU baby will not take a bottle...advice?

My newborn is 5 days old, she was born at 37 weeks. She’s in the NICU on a feeding tube. We cannot get her to take a bottle. She will take a little from it here and there but they won’t let her come home until she’s consistently taking the whole bottle. She’s in a different city than me and it’s starting to feel like she will never get to come home. My heart hurts. Any moms experience something similar? I know our situation could be worse but my heart breaks every time we have to drive away from the hospital.


With some babies you have to try all kinds of bottles. Make sure the flow is slow but not too slow. It may help by getting some milk on the outside of the nipple so when she latches she can taste it. Also if she isn’t hungry she may not care to try. Good luck momma I hope you can take your baby girl home soon :heart:

My son was born at 30 weeks and spent 3 months in nicu, he usually only took about 20/40mls from the bottle in there so I requested ng training so I could take him home and wean him off the tube there.

I was in this exact same position and ours was 37 weeks aswell. She was doing well on the bottle then stopped. She had a tube for 2 days and All of a sudden she started taking the bottle.

My son was born at 39 weeks but had trouble taking a bottle because he was tongue tied, it’s something to look into to. He had his clipped at like a week old and now 9 y/o still has issues with speech and related issues

As a mom who’s daughter spent 180 days in the NICU at the Childrens hospital 5 hours away, I see you and I know it’s so hard. Our situation was different and we ended up with a gtube permanently, but I know tons of babies who just needed a little time :slightly_smiling_face: They will get there. Make sure they are giving her plenty of chances to try before just feeding her through the tube so you know she’s feeling hunger enough to want to eat. Have they looked to see if she has a severe tongue tie by chance? Try several different nipples and bottle types? Different formula if she’s not on breastmilk, or maybe try to pump milk or nurse if you’re not? Just take it one day at a time, I bet she’ll pick it up before you know it.


My preemie was like that. The nurse suggested that every time anyone used the feeding tube to give her a pacifier at the same time. It took a few days for my baby to catch on- when she did, it was game on

Have you tried giving a pacifier. Rule out if their is any ties in the mouth so lip and tounge tie and cheek tie and postier tie which is at the back of tounge and throat.

My daughter had problems feeding, she spent 3 weeks in neonatal, your child will get there I promise. It feels like you’ll never get there but you will, one day it’ll just click for them,

If she’s on a feeding tube, she may not be hungry.
If they know that she is hungry, you should try several styles of nipple. I was a preemie and only liked one style until I was about 3 months. Can you brrastfeed? Not asking to shame you, just bc2 if you can, try a nipple closer to natural. Sometimes that helps if the baby breastfeeds too. :heavy_heart_exclamation:

Some baby’s require the smaller nipples, as they get tired and sleepy from trying to latch. They do sell bottles and the nipples that are meant for premature babies. Also this may sound mean (but trust me I’m not trying to be!!) NICU babies do much better on breastmilk and breastfeeding than with bottle. My son was 3lbs 8oz, and would nurse great, but would NOT for the life of us take a bottle. We had originally pumped and gave it to him that way, but the nurse is the one that was like “listen, try the breast. Babies are naturally going to want real over fake, maybe he’s like that” sure enough he was. I had to nurse him, then give him a syringe of formula/breast milk (it had a small tube attached at the end which was placed on the side of inside his mouth) to ensure he was getting enough calories.

My Twin Niece and Nephew were in nicu after being born 32wks 6 days…
We were told to give dummys to encourage sucking…
We tried every day feeding them and were told to stroke under their chin as they fed to encourage swallowing…
My Nephew was the smaller Twin and it took longer for him to master the feed…
He took a bottle once and they let her home the next day…

My baby was born 31 weeks and was in the nicu we didn’t think he was ever gonna come home since he wouldn’t take the bottle and was a feeding tube. But he finally got it and was home in two months

She will get it. I promise. As long as shes healthy and nothing wrong than she will learn how to drink from a bottle. Shes just taking her time learning. I had a baby in the nicu for just under a month, its heart wrenching. Thankfully mine was in the same city i was in. Just hang in there. Visit as often as possible and just know that she will come home. She cant stay there forever. There is light at the end of this tunnel. Take care of yourself right now! Take this time to rest up. :heart:

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I had to try no less than 5 different bottle nipples for my son before I found one he liked. Keep trying different types.
Also, have they looked for lip or tongue ties that could be preventing her to latch properly?

Been here, some babies just take more time. She’ll get there.

So sorry mama. Ive had 2 at 37w and never had this issue as theyre considered full term least when i had them they were so i dont think it has to do with that. I suppose all ypu really can do is keep introducing new nipples. Maybe baby will take to one more than the usual hospital nipples. Also i feel like those hospital nipples smell funny. My 39w baby was in the NICU for 9 days cuz the lil burger wouldnt breathe at first. I also ran a fever dueing labor which automatically put her there sonwe knew she was going there while in labor but then had a longer stay bc she decided not to breath on her own. Oh and if theres nothing wrong going on in her mouth as well but i hope theyve already looked.

Mine was cup fed until I was able to breastfeed. I don’t understand why they’re forcing a newborn to take a whole bottle. I’d expect only a couple of ounces even if it was formula. I never ever used bottles.

Encourage a Binkie for suckling practice. Staff are too busy to ensure each baby is getting bottle fed so will just use the tube because it’s faster and easier and keeps them on schedule. You need to be there constantly to do the feedings to ensure time and effort is given at each feeding. The more often the tube is used the less the desire to eat will be. I was in the nicu for 15 hours a day with my daughter to ensure her safety to advocate and ultimately to feed her because she wasn’t getting the opportunity. The hospital/nicu is also a business so baby remaining there is profit to them so of course they aren’t in a hurry to get rid of their easy profit. She was taken at 31 weeks and came home at 34 weeks.

Please check to be sure baby isn’t having Tongue-tie issues

Do pacifier same time as feeding tube runs.
I bet the nicu is already doing thst though.
How big is your baby? Ask the nicu nurses to explain EVERYTHING to you- its likely that the calories baby gets from the food and about equal to how much energy baby uses to do sucking reflex, and some babies just have poor sucking reflex and have to be taught/slightly forced to eat until they understand that being full=using their mouth to get full and feel nice and warm and satisfied.