Bottle Feeding

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Newborns should be fed every 2 to 3 hours. There may be a longer time between feedings as your baby gets older. Feedings are more positive when babies are calm. Make sure your baby is dressed comfortably, and their diaper is dry before you start feeding. Feedings help you bond with your baby, so take your time and give them your attention.

Getting Ready to Feed Your Baby

  • You can warm human milk or formula that’s in a bottle by putting it in a bowl of hot water. Let it reach lukewarm or room temperature. It should not be warmer than room temperature because it could burn your baby. Do not heat bottles in the microwave.
  • Test the temperature of the human milk or formula by shaking a few drops on the inside of your wrist. It should feel warm, but not hot.
  • Do not cut the nipple.

Bottle Feeding

  1. Wash your hands before feeding your baby.Bottle Feeding
  2. Sit in a comfortable position. Hold your baby in the curve of your arm close to your body. Hold their head and back tilted up (Picture 1). This position will:
    • Help keep them from choking.
    • Keep your baby comfortable so they can enjoy their food.
  3. Hold the bottom of the bottle at an angle, so the human milk or formula fills the nipple. This keeps your baby from sucking in air.
  4. Feed your baby and stop as needed for breaks. Let them eat until they show signs that they are full. The amount your baby eats depends on their age.
  5. Burp your baby 2 or 3 times during the feeding to get rid of any swallowed air. When burping them:
    • Put a towel or burp cloth under their chin.
    • Hold them in a sitting position on your lap and support their chin and chest or hold them up against your chest.
    • Gently rub their back with your other hand. Do this until they burp.
    • Sometimes a little human milk or formula can come up.

After Feeding

Wash the bottle, nipple, rings, and cap in a bowl of hot soapy water or in a dishwasher (follow package instructions). Rinse completely and let air dry. Clean the bottle brush and basin or bowl with hot soapy water.


  • Do not change how you feed your baby before checking with your doctor or health care provider.
  • When feeding your baby, they should be held with their head and shoulders up. They should not be fed while they are lying flat.
  • Never prop your baby’s bottle. This can lead to choking and possible ear infections.
  • Do not let your baby fall asleep with a bottle. The milk around the teeth can cause cavities.
  • Throw away any human milk or formula left from the feeding within 1 hour.
  • Do not put honey, corn syrup, cereal, or other foods in your baby’s bottle.
    • Do not feed water, juice, or honey to infants under 1 year of age.
    • Newborns only need human milk or formula. Adding foods can lead to choking and/or overfeeding.

If you have any questions, please ask your doctor or health care provider.

Bottle Feeding (PDF)

HH-IV-5 | ©1980, revised 9/2022 | Nationwide Children's Hospital