Bottle-feeding an infant is not rocket science, but it’s not necessarily easy either. Some babies take to the bottle like champs, while others require a bit more coaxing. In fact, introducing a bottle can be a process of trial and error.
This seemingly simple undertaking is made exponentially more challenging by the staggering plethora of bottle options, varying nipple flows, different formula types, and multiple feeding positions.
Yes, there’s a whole lot more to bottle-feeding than what meets the eye, so don’t be discouraged if your wee one is a bit fussy at first. You’ll soon find the routine — and products — that work for your little one. In the meantime, we’ve got you covered with all the bottle basics.
Step-by-step guide to bottle-feeding a baby
Once your bottle is prepared and at the ideal temperature (find more details on these below), it’s time to start feeding your baby.
First, find a position that’s comfortable for you and safe for your baby.
Hold the bottle at a horizontal angle so that your little one has to gently suck to get the milk.
Be sure that the milk fills the entire nipple so that your baby isn’t gulping lots of air, which may result in gas and fussiness.
You’ll want to take breaks every few minutes to gently burp baby. If they seem particularly squirmy during a feeding, they may have a gas bubble; take a pause and gently rub or pat their back.
Use this opportunity to bond with your baby. Hold them close, look into their wide eyes, sing soft songs, and make feeding time a happy time.
Be sure to pace your feeding. You can’t expect — nor do you want — a new baby to chug a bottle down in 5 minutes flat. It may take a while, and that’s a good thing.
You want a baby to regulate their own hunger, so slow down and allow an infant to go at their own speed. Be sure to follow their cues Trusted Source, pause to burp or reposition them, and put the bottle down if they seem bothered or disinterested. You can try again in a few minutes.
And if they seem to want a top off? Go ahead and offer a free refill if it seems necessary.
What are good positions for bottle-feeding a baby?
There are several positions you can try for bottle-feeding. Make sure you’re both comfortable so it’s a pleasant experience. Find a suitable place to sit comfortably, use pillows to support your arms if needed, and cozy up together during feeds.
While this option frees up your arms, you’ll still need to hold the bottle for your baby. Propping or rigging a hands-free situation has potentially dangerous consequences.
Once a baby is old enough and expresses interest in holding the bottle themselves (somewhere around 6–10 months of age), you can let them try. Just be sure to stay close and monitor them carefully.
Whatever position you try, make sure that your little one is angled, with their head raised. You don’t ever want your baby to be lying down flat while eating. This could enable milk to travel into the inner ear, potentially causing an ear infection Trusted Source.
What’s the best way to prepare bottles for feeding?
Of course, feeding baby the bottle might be the easy part. Picking the right vessel to hold your breast milk or formula can be a whole other complicated story. The information below can help you master the art of preparing the perfect bottle for your baby.
Choose the right bottle for your baby
If you’ve ever browsed the feeding section of a baby store, you know that bottle options are seemingly endless.
You might have to try a few different brands to find “the one” for your baby.
Post time: Oct-19-2020