When Do Babies Hold Their Own Bottle?

When Will He Start Eating On His Own?

Most babies learn to hold their own bottles between 6-10 months old. Some babies master this quickly while others never give up having the bottle held for them.

After weeks or months of holding your infant's bottle so that she can eat, one day it will happen. She'll reach up, put her hands on the bottle and hold on. Once she masters this skill, your baby will have reached a milestone of independence in which she can hold the bottle and self-regulate her own eating. Like all milestones, this occurs over a wide range of time. Some babies learn to hold their own bottles at 6 months or even earlier, while other babies take until closer to 10 months to reach this milestone. Of course some babies love having the bottle held for them and never really give up on this little luxury, but thankfully they won't keep taking a bottle forever.

Sitting and Coordination

Holding onto a bottle and getting it to his mouth requires your little one to have a significant amount of coordination. Around the 6 to 10 month age range, most babies also learn to sit up, grab and mouth toys, and move around by crawling. All of these milestones require your baby to coordinate various parts of his body in order to move around and explore his environment. Letting your baby spend lots of time on the floor and putting interesting toys just out of his reach will encourage him to stretch, roll, and scoot to retrieve them.

Helping with Holding

If your baby hasn't shown any interest in holding her own bottle by the time she is 6 months old, it may be time to encourage this a bit more. Try gently taking your baby's hands and holding them to the bottle while she is eating. If she pulls her hands away let her go, but try again a few minutes later or at the next feeding. Once she has her hands on the bottle and is drinking, you can lower your hands a bit so that she has to work to keep the bottle up and the milk flowing. This technique also works well if you place her hands on the bottle when it is nearly empty, so that it is as lightweight as possible.

Precautions

Although the day when your baby can hold his own bottle might seem like it is years away, it will be here before you know it. You can help him, but avoid propping the bottle up into a fixed position in hopes that he will hold onto it himself. Your baby can choke on a propped bottle if he doesn't drink the milk as quickly as it comes out. Also, avoid letting your baby fall asleep while drinking a bottle of milk, since this can cause tooth decay. Treat feeding time as bonding time, even after your baby can hold the bottle by himself. If your baby is over 10 months old and still shows no interest in holding his own bottle, see if his development is on track in other areas, and talk with your pediatrician if you have any concerns.

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