Whether you’re breastfeeding or using formula, chances are, your child will eat from a bottle at some point. However, finding the perfect fit for them and getting enough nutrients in each feeding can take some time to perfect.

Mahaska Health Family Practice and Obstetrics Physician Shawn Richmond, MD, has been helping moms and babies with feedings for many years, so he knows a few tips and tricks for keeping your little one growing!

Whether you’re a mom of many or this is your first child, don’t fret; a few small adjustments can help make those mealtimes more enjoyable for everyone involved:

Get Comfortable: Unless your child is a speed racer, feedings will take at least 20 minutes. Make sure you’re comfortable before you give them their bottle. Sit in a chair with supportive arm rests or prop a pillow under your arm for added support.

It’s All About Position: If your baby is not positioning correctly, they can end up sucking in a bunch of air or spitting up all that good stuff before they’ve even had a chance to swallow! Rather than leave them laying flat, prop them up at a 45 degree angle for minimal air intake and maximum digestion.

Switch it Up: Babies know when they’re full and will turn their heads away from the nipple. However, if this happens after just a few minutes into the feeding, they’re more than likely full of air and in need of some more room! Fit in a burp session halfway through a feeding (or earlier if they act like they’re full) and to get the air out of their tummy. Switch arms at this point too to give them a new perspective and let your muscles take a break.

Don’t Force It: If your baby is not quite finishing their bottle at every feeding, don’t fret! As long as they are gaining weight consistently and having regular diapers, they’re probably just fine! Here’s a good rule of thumb: If they’re under six months of age and not eating anything else, they will usually need two to two-and-a-half ounces of formula per pound of body weight each day. If you’re concerned about their eating habits, talk with their doctor, it’s what we’re here for!

No Snoozing Allowed: Is your baby one of those who drifts off to dreamland halfway through a bottle? Wake them up to help them learn to eat a full meal instead of snacking. Try changing position, burping or removing a layer of clothing to give them a gentle wake-up call.

Which formula is for you?: If your youngster is vomiting, wheezing, has diarrhea or develops a skin rash, you should consider consulting your primary care provider about a possible sensitivity to their formula. Your provider can suggest alternatives to try so you can keep your baby happy and healthy!
When it comes time to eat, your little one will be doing a lot of it for many months, so make sure to do what’s best for them! If they don’t seem to like the nipple or bottle, try something different. There are hundreds of options available so the perfect fit is out there!