Baby Hates Formula Taste: Here’s What To Do

Baby Hates Formula Taste

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“I want to stop breastfeeding, but my baby hates the formula taste. What should I do?” asked my friend Mercy, a first-time mom. One thing we can all agree on about babies is that they can be choosy regarding what they eat. Trust me; I know how frustrating it is. But the truth is you are not alone; so many mothers battle with this issue which is quite normal. 

For a lot of reasons, babies might reject formula but do not panic, as there are certain things you can do to make your baby get accustomed to the formula taste.

If your baby keeps rejecting the taste of formula, the first thing you should do is try another brand of formula that closely tastes like breastmilk. One other thing you can do is to have someone else feed them instead of you. Also, remember that you have to keep trying; your baby will eventually begin to enjoy it.

About 30% of parents have complained about feeding issues with their babies in their developmental stages. But be rest reassured that with experimentation, commitment, and tolerance, you will eventually help your baby adapt to formula.

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5 Reasons Why Babies Refuse Formula 

Sometimes we wish babies could communicate their feelings clearly to us, for a better understanding of why they dislike formula or bottle feeding. Meanwhile, the following are five reasons why your baby would reject formula;

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1. They prefer the taste of breast milk 

If you are trying to stop exclusive breastfeeding to minimize your baby’s dependence on you or you want to switch to formula totally, you might find it hard for the first 5-7days of starting. And this is because your baby can tell the difference between the taste of your breast milk and the formula. Babies naturally love breast milk for its warmth, sweetness, and flavor. Formula taste might seem quite strange and different to them.

2. Lactose intolerance

Drinking your breast milk may be different from drinking cow milk formula. Roughly about 22 percent of babies have been reported to be intolerant to the protein content in formula. Their stomachs respond to the milk in unfavorable ways, you may notice your baby is bloated, gassy, and defecates watery poop. If your baby gets bloated or gassy you can help them get through it by mildly pressing the tummies with a small towel dampened with warm water. 

3. They Are Not Hungry 

One thing all mothers know is that babies will refuse to eat if they are full. And this may be one of the reasons why your baby is refusing to drink the formula. Especially when you might have introduced solid foods to their meal plan, it could take a long time before they feel hungry. If it hasn’t been too long since you last fed your baby, you should wait a while and then try again.

4. Your Baby Is Easily Distracted

Baby Hates Formula Taste
Image: @rohane via Twenty20

Easily distracted babies would hardly finish their food (formula), this may make it seem like they dislike it. Whenever I was feeding my baby, especially bottle-feeding, she’d always turn at every sound and stare for a while. I’d have to call her multiple times to bring her attention back to her food. All the while the milk gets cold then she ends up refusing to finish it up. 

5. The Size Or The Flow Of The Bottle’s Nipple Isn’t Appropriate 

Your baby might find it hard to suckle on the bottle if the nipple size is too big for their little mouths or the holes are too tiny for the milk to properly flow into their mouths. They might find this frustrating hence the refusal to continue feeding.

What To Do If Your Baby Hates Formula Taste

There are so many reasons why moms feed their babies with formula. From not producing enough milk supply to creating an opportunity for others to babysit without you being present.

1. Let Someone Else Feed The Baby

Might be hard to believe but babies can smell breast milk if you are around them. Do not underestimate your baby’s intelligence, they can tell if you are around and won’t want to take the bottle when they can smell their favorite food source.

Giving the bottle to someone else to feed your baby will make a big difference not only for the baby but for you as well. However, it’s best to ask someone who has first-hand experience in bottle feeding. 

2. Be Quiet As Possible

If your infant is easily distracted you might want to feed him or her in a quiet and peaceful place. It helps the baby concentrate on latching the bottle rather than looking around until the food gets cold. If someone else is feeding your baby, have them move to a quiet location in the house. 

3. Feed Them At The Right Time

When babies are not hungry they can be picky eaters, so it makes sense to wait till they are hungry before feeding them with formula. At this point, they won’t mind drinking the milk even if they don’t quite like the taste. 

Image: @Nadezhda via Twenty20

4. Experiment With Different Bottles

Finding an appropriate feeding bottle for this purpose might do the magic. Your baby is already used to suckling from your breast so getting a bottle that he should be comfortable with will help. Try different bottle sizes as much as you can and examine if the hole on the bottle nipple is wide enough for easy flow. 

5. Find The Right Formula

Your baby might not like the taste of the particular brand of formula you fed him, you can try to switch it with another with a taste quite identical to that of breast milk. This can help a great deal as your baby might not be able to tell the difference between the two.

6. Don’t Give Up

Do not be discouraged along the line, you might have tried all you can but don’t stop trying. You just introduced your baby to a portion of different food, and it could take a while for him or her to adapt to the changes being made. And giving up will just take it all back to square one. Make sure to include the formula in your baby’s meal plan every day. 


Different reasons can make you decide to introduce the bottle to your baby’s menu. But where you might face some difficulties is when your baby refuses to adapt to the changes being made for certain reasons. 

When this happens it’s best to remain calm and patient, ask someone to feed them, find the right formula with a better taste, use the appropriate feeding bottles, and feed them in a non-distracting place.

All of these are things you can do to improve bottle feeding time.

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