Why Does My Baby Push Bottle Out with Tongue?

Does your baby push bottle out with tongue or to the side of their mouth during bottle-feeding?

It means your baby refuses the bottle and may make you frustrated or worried. But why they do like that, and what can you do?

There would be many reasons behind the behavior, like she may be full or not hungry, tired, feeling bad, distracted, or physically uncomfortable. 

The temperature and flow of milk may be high, or she may be sick, teething, not like the flavor, and protest the transition from breastfeeding. Even it may be the time to change the teat or take the exact size nipple.

However, keep reading to know why your baby pushes the bottle out of their mouth with their tongue. Get the tips you can do to stop refusing and help her take the bottle again effectively.

Some Signs Your Baby is Refusing to Bottle-Feed

Commonly, a breastfeeding baby refuses the bottle sometimes. So it isn’t the cause for panic. 

However, if you notice these bellowing signs in your baby while bottle feeding, it seems they are refusing the bottle.

  • baby pushes the bottle to the side of their mouth
  • baby pushes the bottle out with their tongue
  • Turning their head away to avoid the bottle.
  • Start to cry while attempting to bottle feed.
  • Spilling milk out from their mouth.
  • Feeding too fast or slow.
  • Refusing more milk than sucking
  • Falling asleep before completing her feeding
  • Chucking up the milk.
  • Not sucking or closing their mouth while inserting the teat in her mouth.
  • Coughing and spitting when feeding.
  • Not feeding the desired amount. 

Anyway, your baby might reveal these signs to refuse their bottle feed. But there would be any reason to do this. So you must keep your eyes on them and find the probable reasons why they refuse the bottle.

Some possible reasons why a baby refuses a bottle and their solution:

It seems a little scary if a baby refuses the bottle with their tongue or pushes the bottle to the side of their mouth. Babies’ behavior is not like ours. They share their feeling with us by crying or showing us some cues. So, we should notice these cues and identify their problem.

However, when you bottle feeds your baby, sometimes they might be pushing the bottle to the side of the mouth. It means they want to avoid or refuse the bottle.  

Anyway, there can be a lot of reasons why they refuse the bottle feed. Some of these are described below. So you first know them from below and take the following steps to solve this problem.

Some of the most common causes your baby refuses a bottle include:

  • The baby isn’t hungry
  • She doesn’t like the formula
  • She’s teething
  • Due to illness
  • Distracting environment
  • The Temperature Isn’t Right
  • The baby can have a milk allergy
  • The slow or fast flow of the nipple
  • Exact position for feeding

The baby isn’t hungry:

If your baby is still not hungry, they don’t want to feed. In that case, they can refuse or push the bottle to the side of the mouth. 

Sometimes your baby may suck their thumbs due to anxiety, tiredness, or simply being boring. So if you think of them sucking as they are hungry, you are wrong. Even if you are feeding them depending on their behavior, the result is refusing the bottle.

Your baby is so much smart. They can show their attitude when they’re hungry or not. Depending on this, they can accept and refuse their feeding by using their tongue to push out the bottle.

What do you do?

If your infant refuses to feed, let them for a while. Let it is your misinterpreting, and don’t force them. Notice the hints of being hungry and wait till they give the clues again.

She doesn’t like the formula:

If your baby doesn’t like the formula you give them, they may refuse to feed it. Even if you offer them particular formula milk, it will be a reason to reject the bottle. They didn’t like the formula anymore.

Even if you change the formula or transform the baby from breast milk to formula, they also reject the feeding.

What do you do?

Change the formula or make the baby formula taste better and try again to feed the baby. 

She’s teething:

Another reason is your baby may face teething. It may be challenging to feed babies when they feel pain, tiredness, or fussy from teething. During this time, naturally, they refuse to bottle feed.

Even they tend to suck or bite something with their gums for teething. So if you offer them the bottle, they may push out the bottle or chew the teat of the bottle.

What do you do?

You can offer them a teether and let them chew for some time. Then after a few moments, give them the bottle again. 

You can also take some steps to relieve your baby’s pain. Such as, you can offer them cold breast milk or recipe milk using the bottle. It may soothe your baby’s teething pain, and they can again take feeding.

You can even apply some gum massage that may help lessen your baby’s pain. You can also contact your doctor.

Due to illness

When our baby is sick, they may refuse to feed or eat anything as they lose their appetite. If your baby has diarrhea, RSV, colds, fever, vomiting, or tummy problems, they may push away the bottle. 

Sore throat, mouth ulcer, or thrush may be the other reason for refusing to feed. So the logic is if your baby is ill, they don’t want to feed and refuse the bottle to feed anymore.

What to do?

It is better to consult your doctor if you notice this problem in your newborn.

Distracting environment

Our baby is curious about their environment. The noise or environmental instruments attract them and their concentration away from the bottle.

Their attraction converts into the surrounding things like TV, light, children, or pets from feeding, and then they refuse the bottle.

What can you do?

Find a quiet and noise-free environment to decrease distraction. For this reason, you can take your baby into a room and close the door to remove the unwanted sounds. It may help improve your baby bottle feeding.

In addition, when you’re outside your home, find a calm place like a nursing room. You may even use your car, and it can help your baby focus and feed well.

The Temperature Isn’t Right:

When breastfeeding a baby, there is no need to worry about the temperature of the milk. The breastmilk is naturally warm. 

But when you start to give your baby bottle feed, you need to care about the temperature. If the milk is very warm, your baby can’t get it and refuse the bottle.

What to do?

  • Ensure the right temperature of the formula milk.
  • Don’t warm the milk in a microwave. It doesn’t heat the milk properly and creates hot spots that can harm your baby’s throat and mouth.

The baby may have a milk allergy:

Just like an adult, a baby may be exposed to milk or dairy product. You may notice your baby’s face eczema, diarrhea, and spitting up while giving them bottle feed. 

It occurs because they have an allergic problem. So they may refuse to bottle feed and push out the bottle with their tongue.

What to do?

If you notice these signs in your baby, you can use a soy-based formula. Even you may take the help of a doctor to get some instructions.

The slow or fast flow of the nipple

It will be very frustrating if the flow of the bottle nipple is too slow or too fast. It will be the cause to push the bottle away.

So it is essential to choose the right size nipple to maintain the correct flow for your baby. 

Anyway, if the flow is too fast, your baby may spill the milk from their mouth. Even they also spit, cough, and reject the bottle to feed.

Conversely, if the flow is too slow, you notice your baby biting the teat, sucking more before swallowing, pulling out the teat with the hands, or may asleep before feeding.

What to do?

  • If the milk flow is too fast, you need a slow-flow teat.
  • If the milk flow is too slow, you may try switching to a faster-flow nipple.

Always remember, if the milk flow is correct, your baby is comfortably feeding the milk. So always choose the right size nipple for feeding.

Correctly bottle-feeding your baby

It is also important to select the exact position to feed your baby. Sometimes babies may push the bottle to the side of their mouth or refuse it due to the lack of good positioning.

Most parents don’t know the right positing to feed the baby. In that case, you can follow the side-lying position with incline feeding. 

In addition, if your baby is young, you can use another way. You take the infant at a 45-degree curve with their head nestled in the cavity of your elbow.

What is s side-lying position, and how to do it?

When a baby is lying on their side and tilt their head narrowly with the help of a pillow, hand, or crossing the legs, it is called a side-lying position with incline. For this position, your baby’s ear, shoulder, and hip should keep aligned. 

This position allows infants to maintain the flow of the bottle, less coughing, choking, ear infections, or flooding.

How to perform the side-lying position to feed your baby?

Turn your knees and fix your legs on the coffee tables. You may also cross your legs or put a cushion on your lap.

Set your baby in a side-lying position on your legs or laps. 

Keep your baby’s head nearest to your knees.

Hold your baby’s head and neck with the other hand.

Control the bottle parallel to the bottom.

Now start to feed the baby.

Why does my baby spill so much milk?

Are you worrying about noticing your babies spilling milk? Don’t worry. It is common behavior for a healthy baby. Even there are some simple reasons behind this situation.

Baby spills milk and refuse bottle feeding
  • Sometimes your baby may spill so much milk due to the fast flow of the bottle of milk. 
  • When your baby feeds more milk, they may be spilling out the milk.
  • If your baby is sensitive to milk or dairy products, they may spill so much milk.
  • If your baby has a full stomach, they may spill or spit up after feeding.
  • If you suddenly change your baby’s place, your infant may spill so much milk. 
  • If you force them to feed, they will spill so much milk.

However, you can feed your baby in an upright position to owing this problem. Yet some babies face this problem more than others.

What happens if you pull the bottle out of the baby’s mouth?

Most parents don’t know the experiment for feeding their babies. Sometimes they may pull the bottle out of their baby’s mouth. But they don’t know how much it affects their baby.

Such as it may be the reason for tooth decay, choking, ear infections, etc. So, you shouldn’t pull the bottle out suddenly of the infant’s mouth.

Why is my baby pulling away from the bottle and crying?

If you think your baby is hungry by seeing them sucking thumbs and offering them feed, she may reject the bottle. As they are not hungry, so they may take a little milk or refuse the bottle. Even if you give them more milk than they need, they will be upset, fuss, pull away from the bottle, or cry. 

At the bottom line:

So I think now you know some reasons why your baby pushes out the bottle with their tongue or side the bottle of their mouth. Even you may get some possible solutions to reduce this problem and return your baby to accept the bottle effectively.

Not only do babies refuse to bottle feed, but they show some cues for us. As parents, we should notice the clues carefully to know their exact problem. 

Now, according to their issue, you should take the right approach to solve their problem and ensure to accept the bottle again comfortably.

Sarah, a health writer and editor since 2014, is an adoring wife and dedicated mother to 2 daughters and 1 son. As the creator of Babies Plannet, she combines her extensive expertise with her maternal dedication to provide essential care and safety advice for infants, nurturing their well-being and happiness. Her writing explores topics like fitness, pregnancy, and women's healthy lifestyles.

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