April 1, 2024

How to Position a Baby Bottle

A bottle is a narrow-necked, rigid or semirigid container that is primarily used to hold liquids and semiliquids. It usually has a close-fitting stopper or cap to protect the contents from spills, evaporation or contact with foreign substances. Bottles are commonly made of glass, but plastic and other materials are also used. Bottles are typically used to transport and store foods, beverages, chemicals, and other substances, but they can also be used as containers for medical purposes and pharmaceuticals. A bottle may have an embossed label that contains information about the contents of the bottle, its manufacturer and other relevant details. A bottle may also have a handle, which makes it easier to grasp.

During a bottle feed, infants require the assistance of their parent or caregiver to control the flow of milk into their mouths (Kassing, 2002). The positioning of the bottle and the infant during a bottle feed affects the infant’s oral feeding skills and ultimately the feeding outcome. The positioning of the bottle is particularly important for infants who rely on their bottle to obtain breastmilk or formula from an artificial source (AAP, 2006).

When choosing a bottle, consider how many times your baby will be fed each day. Then use that number to calculate how much milk the baby needs each time you want to feed them. It’s best to have a little extra volume stored in case your baby is hungrier than expected.

If you are using a plastic bottle, make sure to check for any scratches or dents on the bottle. If there are any, it’s best to find a new bottle to avoid any leaks or spills. If your bottle is stained or damaged, try rubbing it with a damp cloth to remove any stains or dirt from the surface of the bottle.

Before offering your baby a bottle, run the nipple of the bottle under warm water to help your child accept it and keep the milk flowing smoothly. Once you have warmed your baby’s bottle, place it in an upright, almost sitting position similar to the position your support person uses during breastfeeding. This helps your child to feel safe and secure during the bottle feeding and will allow them to keep control over when and how quickly the milk flows.

National Geographic Explorer Heather J. Koldewey works to empower communities around the world to participate in solving the ocean pollution crisis from single-use plastics by taking incremental, individual actions, such as committing to using one less single-use plastic bottle. Learn how you can help here.

Once your baby has established a routine for their bottle, it’s important to start weaning them off of it. Begin by reducing the amount of time your baby is drinking from the bottle and then gradually eliminate bottle feedings at other times, such as naptime and bedtime. To help your child sleep without a bottle, you can offer them a pacifier or cuddle with them while they listen to soothing music or a story.