Responsive Bottle Feeding

How you bottle feed is more important than the bottle you use. You should notice a rhythm – suck, swallow, breathe. Pace them by either tilting or removing the nipple every 8-10 sucks.

Choose the right bottle for your baby’s unique mouth

  • Buy a few different bottles with different nipple shapes – a narrow base nipple and a wider base nipple. It’s impossible to predict what type of bottle your baby will be able to use. Have your baby try out both options and then decide which is best for your baby. Whichever brand you choose, always use the slowest flow nipple the company makes (“slow flow”, “newborn”, “0 months”). 

Make both of you comfortable

  • Take in your surroundings, and try to find a dim, quiet spot to snuggle your baby (even skin to skin) during bottle time. In the beginning, you may need to hold your baby in a side-lying or upright position, until they have enough body control for a cradle hold. Use items you have around the house to make you and your baby comfortable during bottle feeding (boppy, rolled blanket, burp cloth, etc.).  Offer the bottle, wait for the baby to open before putting the nipple in the baby’s mouth.

Get the right seal

  • It’s important for your baby to have a good seal around the bottle nipple to reduce air intake, which leads to gassy, upset babies. Ideally, your baby’s lips will be flanged around the bottle nipple and little to no milk will leak out. If your baby seems to be having difficulty getting a good seal, you might need to flange their lips out for them, or you may want to switch the nipple base (wide, narrow). If this doesn’t improve the seal, you can offer support (chin, cheek). 

Watch the baby

Pace the feeding. If it seems like the baby is chugging or drinking quickly, slow the baby down. The entire bottle feeding session should take about 15 minutes. 

  • Your baby should be comfortable throughout the entire bottle feeding. You should notice a rhythm – suck, swallow, breathe. To avoid your baby drinking too fast, you can pace them by either tilting or removing the nipple every 8-10 sucks. Watch for signs of discomfort (milk leaking out, gulping, grunting, arching) and respond by removing the nipple from the baby’s mouth to give them a 3-5 second break, then allow them to relatch to the bottle nipple. 


  • Burp your baby after every ½-1oz. As you and your baby practice bottle feeding, you will learn how often to burp, and when to read cues they’re ready for a burp. If your baby becomes upset during a burp break, you can offer a pacifier.

Feeding Volume Guidelines

Age of BabyBaby’s total Intake
mL/feed based on 8-12 feeds per 24 hours
Expected Output
48-72 hrs old15-30ml (0.5-1oz)3 pees 3 poop
(brownish greenish, less sticky)
72-9630-60ml (1-2oz )4 pees 3 poops (brownish/yellowish)
Days 5-745-90 ml (1-2 oz)5 pees  3 poops
(yellow, seedy)
Weeks 2-460-120 ml (2-4 oz) or the equivalent of about 1-1.5 oz per hour, or 24-32 oz every 24 hours.5 pees  3 poops
(yellow, seedy)