How To Hold Your Baby For Feeding

How To Hold Your Baby For Feeding

Find out how to hold your baby for feeding and why it is important.

Getting ready

Thoroughly wash and dry your hands.

Prepare the bottle of formula and wash and dry your hands again.

Some sleepy newborns may need waking up to feed. (If you are worried because your baby is sleepy and hard to feed, talk to your midwife, doctor or nurse.)

Sit in a comfortable chair with your elbows, arms and back supported.

Holding your baby

Your baby needs time for sucking, looking at and listening to you and skin- to-skin contact. Holding your baby while you are feeding him or her is an opportunity to give love and cuddles

  • hold your baby in the bend of your arm – it may be more comfortable to switch arms mid-feed
  • keep your baby nearly upright and the bottle at the correct angle while you feed them – this helps to prevent ear infections caused by the formula flowing into the middle ear

Do not leave your baby lying with a bottle to suck on – if babies fall asleep with milk in their mouth, the milk can damage their teeth.

Holding the bottle

Hold the bottle:

  • with enough teat in the baby’s mouth to form a tight seal
  • with the teat in the centre of the mouth and over the tongue
  • at an angle so that the formula fills the teat and bottle neck
  • firmly so that the baby can pull against it while sucking

Winding (burping) lets your baby bring up any air swallowed during feeding. If your baby wants to stop feeding too soon, they may need burping before they can go on feeding.

This page last reviewed 10 June 2013.
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