Feeding From a Bottle

A parents feeding their baby from a bottle.
A parents feeding their baby from a bottle.

You can feed your baby breast milk or infant formula from a bottle. If you choose to feed your baby using a bottle, he or she will need to learn how to drink from a bottle. It can take some time for your baby to get used to it.

Cleaning Bottle Feeding Supplies

Keeping your bottle feeding supplies clean is very important to keep germs from getting into the milk or infant formula you feed your baby. This includes the bottles and nipples, rings, caps, and any valves or membranes that are part of the bottle.

Learn more about how to clean your baby’s bottles and other feeding supplies.

Tips for Bottle Feeding

Getting started:

Did You Know?

Don’t put cereal or other food in a bottle.
Putting infant cereal or other solid foods in your baby’s bottle will not make him or her sleep longer and could increase your baby’s risk of choking.

  • Pick a time when your baby is calm and not too hungry or full.
  • Start by offering your baby small amounts of breast milk or infant formula in the bottle. You can offer more if he or she is showing signs of hunger until you figure out how much your baby usually eats in a feeding from the bottle.
  • If you are breastfeeding, your baby may be more willing to take a bottle from someone other than you.

How to bottle feed:

  • Position the bottle at an angle rather than straight up and down so the milk only comes out when your baby sucks.
  • Let your baby take breaks from drinking when he or she seems to want them.
  • Watch your baby for cues that he or she is full, and then stop, even if the bottle is not empty.

Things to remember:

  • Give your baby only breast milk or infant formula in a bottle.
  • Hold your baby close when you feed him or her a bottle.
  • Do not prop or leave the bottle in your baby’s mouth. This can increase your baby’s risk of choking, ear infections, and tooth decay. Your baby may also eat more than he or she needs.
  • Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle. Milk can pool around the baby’s teeth and this can cause tooth decay.
  • Do not force your baby to finish the bottle if your baby is showing signs of fullness as this can lead to your baby eating more than he or she needs.
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