Feeding your baby a bottle often involves a respite from your day, as you take a time out to snuggle your baby closely. Eventually, your little one develops the independent skills that enable her to hold her own bottle. When you discern that your baby is developmentally ready to reach this milestone, you can give her some gentle encouragement to help her attain self-sufficiency.
Wait until your baby is at least 6 months of age before trying to encourage him to hold his own bottle. By about 6 months, a baby possesses the physical ability and coordination to hold his own bottle -- if he chooses to -- according to the Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota.
Hold your baby in your arms the way you usually hold her to feed her a bottle. For physical safety and emotional bonding, you should always hold your baby while bottle feeding, advises Nationwide Children’s Hospital. It’s best to hold your baby at an angle with her head and back tilted up.
Grasp the bottle with one hand and place one or both of your baby’s hands around the bottle with your other hand, advise Paula Tarver and Jeanne Martin, authors of “Advance My Baby: The Ultimate Secrets of Healthy Development for Your Baby.”
Watch to see what your baby does. If she removes her hands, allow the bottle to drop so she doesn't continue to get milk. Reposition the bottle again with your baby’s hands around it and then remove your hands again. Continue this process to teach your baby that she needs to keep her hands on the bottle to hold it.
Monitor your baby’s progress as he learns how to hold his bottle. Until he learns the process, you will probably need to support his forearms or elbows to ensure that he keeps the bottle propped at the correct angle. Eventually, your little one will progress to completely independent bottle holding.
Never force your baby to hold her own bottle; she'll feed herself independently when she's ready.