When we consider the most significant developmental milestones for babies, we often consider the significant ones that everyone inquires about: crawling, sleeping through the night (hallelujah), walking, clapping, and pronouncing the first word.
It may also be the tiny things, however.
For example, consider the first time your kid holds their bottle (or any other item, such as a teether) and how much you miss having an extra hand to do tasks.
The possibilities are endless. Not every baby will do it on the route to other milestones (such as holding a cup as a toddler) is also acceptable.
Average age for accomplishing this goal
Around six months old, some babies can handle their bottles. That's not to say it won't occur sooner or later; normal may take many different forms.
The typical age may be closer to 8 or 9 months when babies have the strength and fine motor abilities to grip items and direct them in the direction they want to go (even one in each hand!) (like to their mouths).
A range of 6 to 10 months is thus quite acceptable.
Even though their strength and coordination would theoretically permit it, babies who have just started using the bottle may not yet be interested in holding it.
Babies more interested in eating may also reach for the bottle early, which is completely normal. As they say, where there is a will, there is a way.
But remember that this milestone isn't always advantageous or even essential.
It would help if you started weaning your kid off the bottle around age one. Therefore, you may not want your child to get too attached to the notion that the bottle is theirs, as you could later find yourself attempting to take it away.
In conclusion, even once kids can hold a bottle on their own, you'll still want to be in charge of bottle feeding.
Read: How to put your baby to sleep in 40 seconds
Indicators that a child is ready to handle their bottle
Don't worry if your kid isn't there yet; their coordination is probably fine. Every newborn is unique. But if you see these indications, start clapping your hands joyfully because autonomous bottle-holding (or drinking from a cup, which you may want to start promoting instead) is coming.
👉 Your child can sit independently.
👉 Your child can maintain balance when playing with a toy in hand while sitting.
👉 Your baby sits and reaches out to pick up items.
👉 Your baby takes the (age-appropriate) food you are holding out to them and puts it in their mouth.
When you feed your child, they place one or both hands on the bottle or cup.
How to help your baby handle the bottle by themselves?
Baby does what baby wants, when and where baby wants, as most parents are aware.
However, if you want to subtly persuade your child to lend your mother a hand (literally), you might try:
- ▣ Showing the hand-to-mouth action by carrying baby-safe objects, such as teethers, from the floor to the baby's mouth.
- ▣ Purchasing sippy cups with handles or bottles that are simple to grip (baby will need to use two hands to hold the bottle, at least initially), directing the bottle to their lips after placing your hands-on top of the bottle.
- ▣ Investing a lot of belly time to help the baby develop strength.
Before feeding themselves, your baby should be able to sit up by themselves since it is best to do it in an upright posture. They can develop the core strength necessary for this ability via tummy time, and you may encourage them by seating them up on your lap.
But for the reasons we've previously mentioned, you should also carefully consider whether you want your baby to handle its bottle.
Another strategy to promote independence and teach skills to your baby is to concentrate more on letting them feed themselves and teaching them how to hold and drink from a cup (normal or sippy) in the high chair. At the same time, you continue to offer the bottle.
Cautions to take while handing up possession of the bottle
Undoubtedly, the day your child can feed itself is a joyful one. It will be helpful if you leave children to their own devices since they are still too young and inexperienced to always make the right decisions.
Three safety measures to remember are:
- Keep in mind that the purpose of the bottle is to provide nutrition, not solace or sleep. Giving your baby a milk bottle to hold, or even milk in a sippy cup, and then leaving the room to do other tasks may not be a good idea.
- Avoid putting your child's bottle in their crib: While they may be content to drink themselves to sleep, it's not a good idea to enter a dream state while holding a bottle in your mouth. Milk may build up around their teeth, causing short-term choking and long-term dental decay.
Instead, feed your baby just before putting them to bed (or let them do so while you keep an eye on them), and gently wipe the milk from their gums and teeth. Put a pacifier in if they struggle to go to sleep without a nipple in their mouth.
- Avoid the urge to use anything to support the bottle in your baby's mouth if they are still too little to handle the bottle themselves. Although we all like having two hands, it is never a good idea to do so when the baby is unattended. They have a higher risk of overeating as well as choking, you can get your single bottle warmer to avoid germs and keep your bottle clean
In particular, if your baby is lying down, leaving your baby in their crib with a bottle and propping it up may raise the risk of ear infections.
What if my baby cries during bottle feeding?
Older babies (7 to 12 months) begin to become mobile and may not want to remain still when fed a bottle. It might be challenging to pique their interest in snuggling during bottle feeds if they have been cruising, crawling, or walking with their bottle. Their inability to remain motionless at times may reveal more about their growth than we think.
Your child may be ready for a cup for at least some of their milk feeds if they only drink a bottle while distracted by screen time or when moving.
- Keep your routines constant. When your baby knows what to anticipate, they will be more at ease and attentive. The optimal bottle intake for many newborns is first in the morning, before naps, and just before night. If the baby allows you, use that time to cuddle and connect.
- When teething, many babies don't eat or drink as well: If you think your baby may be dehydrated, keep an eye out for the symptoms (poor urine production, dry lips/mouth, tearless sobbing), and see your doctor right away.
Trust your instincts. Poor bottle feeding may sometimes signify more serious difficulties, such as digestive troubles, sensory abnormalities, oral-motor weakness, etc. If you see a problem, discuss it with your healthcare practitioner. If you live in the US, don't hesitate to contact your state's early intervention program to set up an assessment.
Is it necessary for the baby to grip the bottle?
By "crossing the midline" or moving a hand or foot from one side of the body to the other, your baby shows off vital abilities when they hold their bottle.
But it's okay if some babies especially breastfed babies, never accomplish this by holding a bottle. There are more methods to learn and use this talent.
Around the age of one, a breastfed baby, for instance, could go from nursing to independently drink from a cup, which requires the same ability.
This doesn't imply that they didn't previously have this talent. Other actions require crossing the midline, such as putting a toy in one's mouth or using the dominant hand to pick up something on the body's non-dominant side.
In conclusion, mom rememer those tips.
Your child is starting to eat on their own, so raise both hands in the air and seem unconcerned. Naturally, you'll still want to feed your baby most of the time for safety, the hugs, and the connection.
Furthermore, learning to feed independently is a skill in and of itself that is much more crucial than learning to hold a bottle in particular, particularly if your kid is getting close to the one-year mark.
However, if your baby shows this ability between the ages of 6 and 10 months, feel free sometimes to give them their bottle.
And if your baby doesn't demonstrate the ability to cross the midline by age one, see your physician. They'll be able to respond to your queries and concerns.