Resources for New Moms

Feeding Your Baby From a Bottle

You can feed your baby breast milk or infant formula from a bottle. If you choose to use a bottle to feed your baby, they will need to learn how to drink from it. Your baby may need some time to get used to this.

Tips for bottle feeding

Getting started:

  • Pick a time when your baby is calm and not too hungry or full.
  • Start by offering your baby small amounts of pumped breast milk or infant formula in the bottle. You can offer more if they are 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 they want.
  • Watch your baby for cues that they are 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 them 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 they need.
  • 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.

Cleaning bottle feeding supplies

Keeping your breast pump and bottle 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 or breast pump. Use a dishwasher or sanitizing device to clean your baby’s feeding supplies.