Bottlefeeding Basics

Starting your baby on a bottle and feeling a bit baffled? Whether your have a newborn or you've been breastfeeding until now, we answer your pressing questions to get your little one feeding like a pro, and taking in life-sustaining nourishment to grow big and strong! Read on for a lesson in basic bottlefeeding.


Choosing a Bottle for Your Baby

Bottlefeeding - Choosing a BottleAlthough a panoply of different types of bottles are sold—from angle-neck, to natural-flow, to wide-grip—there is no scientific evidence to support that one type of bottle is superior to the others. Simply select a bottle that feels comfortable in your hand.

One important thing to note when shopping for baby bottles: always buy bottles that BPA-free. BPAs are possibly harmful chemicals that are found in certain plastics; these chemicals can bleed into the contents of the bottle, and although the effects of BPAs on your baby are not yet known, it's best to be safe. There are plenty of BPA-free bottles on shelves today, so there's no reason to buy products that contain these chemicals.

Preparing a Bottle for Your Baby

Bottlefeeding - Preparing a BottleSterilize Equipment

After buying a new bottle and/or new nipples, always sterilize the equipment before the first use. To do this, submerge your new baby gear in a pot of boiling water for a minimum of five minutes. Spread out a clean dry towel and place the gear on the towel to dry. You do not need to sterilize equipment after each subsequent use. Simply thoroughly clean gear in hot, soapy water or use your dishwasher to clean the bottles and nipples.

Warming Formula/Breastmilk

Contrary to popular belief, its not medically necessary to warm formula or breastmilk before feeding Baby, but often little ones prefer warm nourisment. If you do warm your baby's meal, never nuke a bottle. Although the convenience of microwaving a bottle is tempting, it can be harmful for many reasons: a) the contents of the bottle may not warm evenly, making some parts very hot and some cooler, b) chemicals from the plastic bottles may seep into the formula or breastmilk, c) nuking can cause some of the nutrients in the formula or breastmilk to break down.

How should you warm a bottle?

  • Run it under hot tap water for a few minutes or use a bottle warmer
  • Give the bottle a good shake
  • Test the temperature of the formula on your wrist. It should be very slightly warmer than room temperature

Feeding Your Baby with a Bottle

Bottlefedding - Positioning BabyIntroduce Bottle to Baby

If you have been breastfeeding until know, you may want to let someone else bottlefeed your baby until she grows accustomed to this new way of feeding. If your baby smells you, she may not take the bottle in preference for the breast.

Gently touch the bottle nipple to your baby's cheek to stimulate the rooting reflex, and allow her to find the bottle.


Support your baby in a semi-upright position, angled about 45 degrees, cradling her head in the crook of your arm. Hold the bottle angled so that nipple is completely full of milk and devoid of air. Do not:

  • prop the bottle by balancing it on your baby's chest and feeding hands-free. This causes babies to swallow a lot of air and, in extreme cases, can cause a baby to choke.
  • bottlefeed Baby while she is lying down. This is a choking hazard and may cause ear infections.
  • put Baby to bed with a bottle. This is a choking hazard, may cause ear infections, and ,may lead to tooth decay.


  • bond with your baby while feeding. Make sure there is lots of skin to skin contact, and take advantage of this time to cuddle with your baby

How Much to Feed Baby?

Bottlefeeding - How Much to FeedWhen your baby is an infant it can be hard to tell if she is taking in enough nourishment, which can be stressful. Follow a few simple feeding guidelines for your baby.

Feed baby whenever she is hungry. How do you know when hunger strikes? Look for these sign and cues of hunger:

  • rooting reflex
  • sucking on her hands and fingers
  • smacking her lips

Generally newborn babies only take in one to two ounces of milk or formula in one sitting within the first day or so of life. When your baby turns away from the nipple and won't take any more, she is finished. It's not necessary to force the bottle on your baby; simply wait a while and try again later. A few days later, she will likely be taking in two to three ounces in a sitting. Just be sure to feed your baby every 5 hours (even if you have to wake her).

One month old babies take in about four ounces of milk every four hours, and by six months, she be dining on six to eight ounces about five times a day. Of course, every baby is different, and you should talk to your pediatrician about any concerns; your doctor should be weighing your baby regularly to enure proper growth and development.