How to Give a Bottle

images-1Giving a breastfed baby a bottle can excruciatingly painful for both you and the baby.  Here are some tips, for bottle feeding either formula or breastmilk.

1.  The bottle does matter. You decide on glass or plastic.  The important part of finding a good bottle is finding one that doesn’t leak! Leaking bottles are ineffective, messy and wasteful of good pumped milk.  Dr. Brown’s bottle are my favorite, I’ve tried a variety of other bottles including, Evenflo, Avent, Playtex, etc., Playtex bottles are the worst, they leak horribly.

2. Size Matters, kind of: If the bottle you’re getting comes with different nipple sizes make sure to get the appropriate one for your baby. Infants should have a size one, this part refers to the hole of the nipple, and how easily the milk will flow out.


Flow can also be most effectively regulated by the adult giving the bottle.  Consider the base and actual protruding nipple size.  You might want to try to match the bottle nipple to that of the mothers nipple.  If the baby is used to a small nipple from mom, a huge nipple from the bottle will likely gag your baby.

3. Baby Position: Baby can be in varying positions but most commonly in the cradle hold.  The difference being that the baby should be seated up a little more rather than lying in the traditional cradle hold.  With bottle babies naturally take in more air, its best for them to be more upright.

For the first few feedings it might be best to turn the baby away from your chest, just slightly so she doesn’t try to root, which will only frustrate her.

Try: Cradle hold, baby upright at 45 degree angle, and slightly turned away from the chest.

4. Don’t shove the bottle in her mouth.  Tickle your babies lips with the nipple of the bottle, and when she opens her mouth only put part of the nipple in. She will suck in the rest of the nipple when she is ready-let her guide herself, she knows what she’s doing!

5. Bottle Angle.  Contrary to popular belief, avoid turning the bottle straight down so the milk fills up the whole nipple. This causes milk to poor out of the nipple which is likely to frustrate your baby because she is getting more than she can swallow. Keep the bottle basically horizontal (depending on how full it is) so that only half of the nipple fills with milk. This way your baby has to work a little for the milk she gets. This is especially important if your baby is also breastfeeding because getting milk from the breast can be more work for her than getting it from a free flowing silicone nipple.It’s important to keep her sucking consistent so she doesn’t lose her sucking technique and doesn’t begin to prefer bottle over breast (unlikely scenario). The horizontal angle also helps to prevents milk from pouring out of her mouth and from her gagging.



2 thoughts on “How to Give a Bottle

  1. When Boo was a baby I tried everything to get her to take a bottle. The cost of different bottles and teats that she refused wasn’t funny, even less so tipping unused breast milk down the sink.
    My own personal tips would be:
    1) Get someone else to give the feed other than Mum. Knowing that milk-providing boobs are at hand isn’t going to make things easier.
    2) Be patient. It took 3 days of being in all-day daycare before my friend’s son would accept a bottle. She was frantic, but persistence (and hunger) won out.
    3) Get into a routine. My son was far easier to establish an acceptance for bottles as early on we got into a routine where my husband would feed him whilst I put my daughter to bed (and had a nap). Mind you, my son also took to having a dummy, whereas my daughter refused, so the ease next-time around may have been as much due to a like/distaste for plastic as anything else.
    4) Shops don’t tend to like it when you whip your nipples out mid-aisle to compare and contrast teats. 😉 (But I know what you mean.)
    I’m confused by the horizontal technique though. Doesn’t it lead to wind to have a baby suck on a teat with air in it? Having a smaller hole that makes flow slower would surely be better?

    • Thanks for your comment and tips! I definitely agree that someone other than the breastfeeding mom should give the bottle.

      In regards to your question about keeping the bottle horizontal, the common belief is that the whole nipple, base and tip need to be full of milk otherwise air will get in. This is not true, only the tip, where the hole is needs to have the milk. Keeping the base only partially full of milk helps to limit milk from pouring into babies mouth, and this over eating. The other thing is that even with the smallest nipple size, milk still naturally, without suction will come out, so the same problem happens. It’s all about preference. Personally I would prefer for the baby to get a little air and burp than over eat. Check out this article about the myth of air bubbles creating gas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s