Baby Bottle Feeding: How To Hold, What To Avoid & More

Your little one is an actual human, just a miniature version, and like all living things, nutrition is a big deal. 

By now, you must have done your research concerning what formula to use, which offers the best value for your baby, and the best washing and sterilization practices to keep the bottles clean.

However, that is not all to the story. 

Whether a newborn or a baby who has been previously breastfed, bottle feeding is a crucial player in substituting and complementing breastfeeding.

It is quite a beautiful art and easy to master in no time. Outlined are various tips you can try and answers to some of your questions. Keep in mind that every child is unique, so have fun exhausting the list.

How To Hold A Baby When Bottle Feeding

How To Hold A Baby When Bottle Feeding

The key to understanding this is that none of these positions involves your baby laying down flat. Just as it quite difficult for you to eat or drink anything lying down, so it is for your baby.

Feeding at an inclined plane allows the infant to breathe correctly, and gravity can help them swallow. Experts say it is best to angle your baby at 45 degrees if you prefer the more scientific version.

You also want to feed your baby in the best position that allows you to angle the bottle downward, allowing fluid to fill the nipple and reduce him/her swallowing air.

Make sure to gently introduce the teat and make sure that your baby’s lips encircle the widest part of the teat. 

The Cradle Position

This one is the traditional method and the first image that pops into mind when you think of bottle feeding.

The baby’s head is nestled into the crook of your elbow, and you make a slight incline with the supporting hand.

The other hand holds the bottle (make sure you angle it correctly so that all the liquid fills the nipple.) Parents love it because it makes for a good bonding session.

The Sitting Or Upright Position

This is great for babies who have gained neck and body control or those who have excessive acid or gas reflux.

The baby sits upright with his/her placed on your chest or your arm. It also allows you to make excellent bottle angulation.

The Boppy Or Pillow Method

Unlike the other two methods, your arms can take a break with this one. Here you make your little one sit on a soft, comfortable surface and gently place their back to rest against a pillow or boppy.

If your tiny one is old enough to reach for the bottle and feed themselves, you only keep an eye on them and enjoy the view (make sure never to leave your baby unattended)

The Lap Method

This method for parents who do not feel like sitting upright or for those who just want to spice things up. The parents take whatever position they feel comfortable in, and their legs are up and bent at the needs.

The baby’s back is placed against the thighs so that they are facing you. You can always bring your knees to your body as close as possible.

This beautiful position is great when your baby can play, coo, and smile, making bottle feeding an enjoyable experience.

Remember that you can always talk to your baby while feeding them but try not to make them laugh too hard before the food goes into their airway.

If your baby is not hungry or refuses the bottle, do not try to force-feed them, you can always take a break and come back.

Do You Have To Hold A Baby While Bottle Feeding?

Do You Have To Hold A Baby While Bottle Feeding

Yes and no.

The answer to this is highly dependent on how old your baby is and if he/she has attained certain developmental milestones.

Developmental milestones or changes are a set of new characteristics that you notice in your child every month as they grow. They are common to all babies and show that they are growing well.

You may observe that your child who could not sit upright now crawls about the house or the one who just stared at you now wants to have a conversation. 

A tiny infant or a baby below six months will not be able to feed themselves properly, and you would need to hold them to make sure they do not choke while taking the bottle.

As your child reaches 6-10 months, they may begin to grasp the bottle and reach for everything. If your baby has mastered the art of sitting, then you do not need to hold them.

However, on no occasion is it advised for you to leave a baby unattended. The little ones love to explore, and you might come back to meet a disaster. The same advice goes for a toddler. 

How Long Should A Bottle Feed Take?

How Long Should A Bottle Feed Take

The length of bottle-feeding depends on your baby’s age and, ultimately, the amount of food they are taking. For newborns establishing whatever form of feeding, either breast or bottle, takes a while.

It may take you about 8-10 minutes to feed, and you would need to feed every 3 to 4 hours. The first month can be quite overwhelming as you would need to ensure they get adequate nighttime feeds.

Some parents practice dream feeding that allows them to feed their little ones just before bed so that they can wake up at more reasonable hours. 

As your baby grows, they would require less frequent feeds; however, you may notice a longer feeding time of about 10-15 minutes because they would consume more fluids.

At around six to ten months, your baby may be fed less, at approximately 4-5 times daily. During your regular visits to the doctor, your baby’s doctor may make sure that he/she has attained their required weight. 

If they have not, you may be advised to increase the formula’s volume, hence each session’s length and reduce the intervals.

As your baby becomes grows, you may also notice that they become fast or slow eaters. Therefore they determine the pace and length of the feeding process. 

Paced Responsive Feeding

Do not let the name deter you from this technique. Here, the aim is to help your baby understand when they feel full and work just as hard as they would while being breastfed.

The technique involves placing the teat into the baby’s mouth at a horizontal plane or waiting a few seconds while the baby begins to suck.

Then you incline the bottle correctly, so the formula starts to flow.

It mimics the breastfeeding let-down reflex where once sucking begins, it takes a while for breast milk to reach the nipple and the baby’s mouth.

You can always change sides and positions with this technique. Just take care not to overfeed your baby and not to feed for long hours at a stretch. Let them suckle on the teat and take a little break.

Feeding is hard work for the little ones, and you do not want them to associate feeding as a tedious process. Overfeeding can result in childhood obesity. 

It is essential to remember the satiety cues such as refusing to suckle, turning away and even falling asleep.

Bottle-fed babies tend to swallow a lot of air and causing them to feel unnecessarily full and very uncomfortable. They resort to crying and associate bottle-feeding with as an overwhelming process.

After every 2 to 3 ounces, take the time to burb your baby, especially the infants.

You can place them lying tummy down on your lap or a flat surface and rub their backs, or you may place them on your shoulder and gently bounce them.

How Do You Stop A Baby From Refusing A Bottle?

How Do You Stop A Baby From Refusing A Bottle

Babies who are initially breastfed at birth do not find it difficult adjusting to the mode of feeding because suckling is an instinctive trait.

The knowledge of giving a baby a bottle is essential even if you do not use formula because you might just want to have time to yourself, and you would need to keep a few expressed bottled in the fridge. 

Experts recommend trying bottle-feeding at least once a month to allow your baby to get used to the feeling.

However, around 3 to 4 months, if you have never tried the process, you may notice that your baby would be very reluctant to accept the bottle.

5 Things You Can Do To Ease The Process:

Try & Keep Trying

Like all things, practice makes perfect. Try to offer your baby as many bottle feeds as possible and at least once a week. If it becomes ingrained into the routine, a time will come when they won’t resist it.

Keep The Bottle For When They Are Satiated

If your baby is distressed and starving, they would rather have something they are comfortable with, and introducing a new feeding method would leave you with a wailing child.

Try to offer the bottle when they a comfortable, happy and content. 

Get Your Partner Involved

Let your partner take charge of the process. Your baby may have associated you with breastfeeding, and introducing bottle feeds may seem like an aberration.

If your partner takes the lead, they may associate them with the new process.

Ask For Help

Many hospitals provide a lactation consultant that can teach you the best ways to get a very resilient baby to use the bottle.

They are the experts that easily spot latching problems and give general, sound advice on the process. 

Take A Break

Do not force your baby to take a bottle. The tendency is that you would have been frustrated concerning the entire process. Remember, anything new is complicated for first-timers, do not give up.

Can You Bottle Feed A Baby While Swaddled?

Experts do not recommend that you keep your baby swaddled while bottle-feeding, even if they are young infants. The baby’s body and limb movements are a great way to know if they are satiated.

As they get older, some may reach forth and push the bottle away, among other things.

Besides, your baby needs a break from being cooped into a bundle. Let feeding time be an excellent way for them to stretch and hold you close.

At What Age Should The Baby Hold The Bottle?

Your baby would reach for a bottle by the time they are six to ten months.

As they get older, their holding skills are refined, and they can grasp and firmly hold a feeding bottle. You can allow them to take control of the feeding process. 

However, it is essential to remember that they would need supervision and monitoring so that they do not injure themselves or make a mess that you would have to clean.

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