When Do Babies Hold Their Own Bottle – Practical Information and Tips for Moms

Every mom would love to see their baby feeding well. 

This is why they spend so much time with the feeding process to make sure that their little one is getting ample calories and nutrients from milk.

But let’s get real - don’t you secretly wish that you can be hands-free and have your baby drink her milk without your help?

This means that you would love to see her holding her own bottle and drinking up and actually doing good at it. 

So the question is, when do babies hold their own bottle? And another important thing - how can you be able to help her along the process?

Keep reading because we’ve got the answers for you right here.

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When Do Babies Hold Their Own Bottle

Once babies can hold their bottle without your help, it means that they have reached a certain level of development in their muscle and brain. This is why it is an important milestone for babies.

This usually happens around the age of 6 up to 10 months. The age varies from one child to another, depending on when their fine motor skills become more developed.

Since every child is different, the window for independently holding their own bottle is wide. There are those who are able to do this early on while other babies tend to take a bit longer.

There is nothing wrong at all if your child is unable to perform this skill earlier, though. You just need to be patient and encourage him or her by giving the support needed.

Signs of Readiness to Hold a Bottle

There are a few signs that will let you know right away that your baby is ready or not to hold his or her own bottle.

As a parent, you should watch out for these clues, to determine if your baby is getting closer at it.

Here are the signs to watch out for:

  • Your baby is able to sit up by himself for as long as 10 minutes.
  • Stabilizing himself is a fine motor skill, so if your baby can remain stable by sitting up without your help, it means he is ready to hold his own bottle.
  • While in a sitting position, he is able to grab his toy and gnaw or chew on it. An ability to multitask is a sign of cognitive development, as well as a self discovery that the bottle and food are linked together.
  • Whenever you feed your child, he reaches for his bottle. 

How to Teach Your Child to Hold His Own Bottle

Do you see any of these signs in your baby?

If so, then you can step up his game and actually help him do it!

How?

Here are a few things you can do to get him to hold his bottle and succeed at it.

Practice is the name of the game. The more he practices holding his bottle, the easier it gets and the greater success he can get from it. 

The same way you can’t expect a little child to be a young Piccaso by simply giving him a crayon one time.

The ability to hold a bottle is not an overnight success. There are stages and phases involved in it but you can try each day to help him become better at it.

The following are among the things you can do to teach your child how to hold a bottle properly:

1. Provide safe and age-appropriate toys while your little one is sitting. This allows your child to use the same muscles in her face and neck that are important when holding and drinking from a bottle.

2. Let him spend plenty of tummy time. Core strength helps babies hold objects in a still manner while putting these in their mouths. In fact, coordinated sucking, combined with breathing and swallowing are complex skills that are tricky for a baby!

3. When feeding your child, be sure to guide his hands properly. You can begin by positioning your child in your arm when you feed her. Then, slowly guide her little hands right around the bottle.

It is all about mastering this important and crucial skill of being able to hold the bottle. Once he is able to hold it well, you can observe if he can put it to his mouth.

In case he is still unable to do so, simply help guide your child and keep practicing. That’s the way to teach him and gain success at it!

Another thing that you can do to help your child hold his own bottle is by providing him with appropriate gear for independent bottle feeding.

For instance, a nipple that is cylindrical in shape instead of a breast-shaped one is better. This allows for the proper positioning of the tongue. A bottle band that is made from silicone (be sure it is BPA-free) also helps. Not only does this offers a good grip but it also prevents slippage.

Bottle Propping - Should You Do It or Not?

Some moms choose to prop the feeding bottle with the hope of making it easier for their child to hold it.

But it is not actually a great idea since this can be quite dangerous for your child. Your baby may end up rolling and falling as he tries to reach the bottle.

Overeating can also occur, as well as choking because your baby is unable to regulate the amount of milk he takes in. With the bottle propped, milk flows quite fast.

And if your baby falls asleep and still sucks on the bottle, there are other possibilities that might occur including tooth decay, ear infections, and so much more!

So the best thing to do is to watch out for signs of readiness to hold a bottle, gently guide him as he attempts to do it, and be by his side the whole time.

Your baby will love being cuddled and held as he independently holds his bottle, and this also creates a wonderful bond between the two of you, which is quite a beautiful thing!

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