How to Give a Baby a Bottle

Whether you're feeding your baby formula or freshly pumped breast milk, holding his body and angling the bottle just so will make for a happy meal.

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Up next in How to Feed Your Baby (19 videos)

Learn how to feed your baby properly with these Howcast videos. Advice includes how to know the difference between foremilk and hindmilk; how to increase breast milk production; how to pick finger foods for your baby; how to know when to stop breastfeeding; how to start your baby on solid food; how to bottle feed a baby; how to use a breast pump; how to make baby food; how to burp a baby; and much more.

You Will Need

  • A hungry baby
  • An absorbent bib or burp cloth
  • A prepared bottle of breast milk or formula
  • And a comfortable chair in a calm place
  • A comfortable footstool (optional)

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Put on bib

    Put on the bib or tuck a burp cloth under your baby's chin.

  2. Step 2

    Position baby

    Sit in the chair with the baby sideways on your lap. Prop him against the crook of your arm so that his upper body is at a 45-degree angle to his legs. Wrap your arm around his body so that he's snuggled close and feels secure.

  3. If you're right-handed, you'll probably be most comfortable with your baby propped against your left arm, and vice-versa.

  4. Step 3

    Try other positions

    If for some reason your baby doesn't like being held this way, try holding him facing forward on your lap, leaning back against you. You can also prop your feet on a stool so that your knees are bent and sit your baby facing you.

  5. Step 4

    Check head & neck

    Whatever the position, make sure the baby's head and neck are straight in relation to the rest of his body. If either is tilted back or turned sideways, it'll be hard for him to swallow.

  6. Step 5

    Bring bottle to lips

    Bring the bottle to his lips. If he's an infant, you may have to stroke his lips with your finger or the bottle's nipple to get his attention.

  7. Step 6

    Hold bottle at angle

    As he sucks, hold the bottle at an angle so that the nipple is always filled completely with fluid. Otherwise your baby will suck in air along with his meal.

  8. Make feeding time an opportunity to bond with your baby. Look into his eyes as he eats (if they're open!) and talk to him.

  9. Step 7

    Watch as he eats

    Watch as he eats. If he sputters, he may be getting too much milk at once, which means you should switch to a nipple with a slower flow; on the other hand, if he seems to be working too hard, try a nipple with a faster flow. The type of nipple you need will change over time as he gets bigger and stronger.

  10. Step 8

    Burp baby

    After every ounce or two the baby drinks, take a break and burp him.

  11. If your arm is getting tired, switch sides after burping him.

  12. Step 9

    Don't force to finish

    Don't force the baby to finish the bottle. If he falls asleep while drinking or pushes the nipple out of his mouth, he's done. Put him down in his crib if he's asleep; if he's still awake, burp him one last time and have a cuddle for 'dessert.'

  13. In the Middle Ages, babies were fed from a cow's horn with a scrap of soft leather tied on as a nipple.

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