To begin feeding, start by washing your hands. If your baby is sleepy, checking her diaper prior to the feeding is often a good way to wake her up. Make sure to wash your hands again after checking her diaper. Sit in a comfortable position. Several pillows may also help with positioning.
Place your baby’s head in the crook of your arm. Hold your baby close, turned slightly toward you, with her head slightly higher than the rest of her body. It’s very important to elevate your baby’s head so that formula doesn’t back up from the back of her throat, through her Eustachian tubes, and into her middle ear because this can cause an ear infection.
Tip the bottle slightly to completely fill the nipple with milk and prevent your baby from swallowing any air. Tickle your baby’s lips gently with the nipple until they open wide and latch on. Make sure her tongue is below the nipple and her mouth has made a tight seal. Keep the bottle at a slight angle to make sure your baby is not sucking air as she drinks.
It’s important to never prop a bottle. Feeding time is an important time for physical contact between parent and baby. Propping a bottle not only deprives your baby of cuddling, but is also a safety hazard because your baby can easily choke. In older infants, propping bottles or putting them to bed with a bottle can cause serious decay in their early teeth and increase the risk for ear infections. If she needs to “suck” to go to sleep, give her a pacifier instead of a bottle.