Top 3 Bottle Feeding Tips

For some babies, bottle feeding is an easy process and they will take whatever bottle you throw at them. Then there’s kiddos like my son who did not like the bottle if I was anywhere near him and if he did take it, the volume would barely keep a fly alive!  Unfortunately the advice that we got was’ just put it in his mouth and eventually he’ll take it’ and ‘if he’s hungry enough he’ll take it’. These comments were said with the best of intentions but ultimately, not that helpful!  Do these comments sound similar?

Now 10 years later, with a whole lot more experience and training, I realized that my son wasn’t just being stubborn, but that I was offering a bottle or rather a nipple that was way to long and hard for his sensitive palate and I was holding him in a position where he was essentially forced to drink whatever amount of milk was in the bottle rather than what he wanted to eat.  Also, I came to realize that there is a difference between offering a bottle and forcing a bottle.  Oh man, I would do so many things differently!  The beauty is that all of you can learn from what I did and have a much more enjoyable experience! Let me share the things I have learned.

Here are my top 3 bottle feeding tips to make both you and your baby happier!

Tip #1: Choosing the correct nipple 

Oh man, the marketing on bottles and nipples are really targeting us parents who are desperate for our kiddo to feed.  There is the promise of the most similar to the breast, colic relief, fast flow, slow flow, most loved and so many other claims that make us want to buy them all. The other difficult part is that what one company deems ‘slow flow’ is ‘fast flow’ on another. And the 1, 2, 3 levels can mean different thing on different brands! Talk about confusing!  

Ok, this may sound crazy, but when you buy a new bottle, test it out! Seriously, what does it feel like? Taste like? What’s the flow like? Do your lips cover the whole nipple or slide to the end? Is it too soft that it collapses with a strong suck?  This will give you a much better understanding of your baby’s experience when drinking from a bottle!

Here is what to look for:

  • Nipple is the shape of a smooth oval- no extra ridges or textures needed
  • Soft or no shoulders (more like a triangle)- I like the Lansinoh nipples and the Pigeon nipple
  • A Slower flow to allow the baby to pull the milk out rather than it just flowing into their mouth
  • Adequate size bottle for the size of your baby- This is more a mental thing for parents.  If you have an 8 oz bottle and your baby only drinks 2 oz, it won’t seem like much. But, if you use a 4 oz bottle, you’ll be so happy your baby drank half! 

Tip #2: Offering the bottle instead of forcing

Let’s imagine you are super hungry and you are telling your mom you are hungry and then someone jams a burger in your face. You are gonna want to have nothing to do with that food even though you are hungry. Now, let’s think about this as you are offering the bottle to your baby.  That’s right, you are going to offer the bottle and allow them to accept it.  If you are wondering how to do this, check out my reel I made talking about the 4 steps on how to offer a bottle. 

Tip #3: Allow the baby to have control

There are many different ways you can hold your baby while bottle feeding. Some babies love to be held in the cradle-hold similar to breastfeeding while others love to rest on your knees looking at you.  Or if you have a baby who is really struggling to take the bottle, what about side-lying on your lap with your knees elevated?  These are all possible options however, the most important part is how the bottle is being held while the baby is drinking.  If the baby is leaning back and the bottle is propped upright, the baby is forced to guzzle back all the milk as the milk just continues to flow whether they want it or not.  The better way is to hold the bottle in a horizontal position to allow the baby to eat at a rate that they can handle- responsive feeding! To help with this, you will want to have the baby in a slight upright position to help get the bottle in the correct position.

Following these 3 bottle feeding tips can help you and your babe feel more comfortable during feeds and reduce stress for both the babe and the parent. You will feel confident that you are offering a bottle that will help with their latch and that you are responding to the baby’s cue rather than forcing a feed. You are setting the groundwork for healthy eating! Way to go parents!

If you are wanting more support with your feeding journey and have questions about bottle feeding, I would love to support your family and empower you with knowledge and confidence to feed your baby. Please check out my website for more information and reach out with any questions you may have!


Kerissa Connolly- The Mama Coach

Supporting Kelowna, West Kelowna and Virtually Across Canada

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