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5 Essential Tips To Optimize Bottle Feeding

Are you worried that if you bottle feed, your baby won’t experience the same oral development as a breastfed baby? You’re not alone. This is a very common concern we hear from parents and caregivers time and time again. Our speech-language pathologists and lactation counselor assess a mom and baby and recommend what’s best for both individuals. One important thing to remember when it comes to feeding is that everyone’s journey is different.

Just like there are ways to optimize breastfeeding, there are many ways to optimize bottle feeding that parents need to be made aware of because there is a lack of support. When bottle feeding is optimized appropriately, it will positively impact the baby's oral motor and jaw development.


Using different positions, like an elevated side-lying bottle-feeding position, will help your little one develop strong oral motor skills, which can help support breathing, speech, and feeding later in life.

Choosing The Right Nipple and Bottle

Purchasing the right tools, like appropriate nipples for the bottles you use, is essential in promoting oral development and proper feeding. It’s best to feed infants using a narrow neck or pyramid-shaped nipple vs. a wide-based or flat nipple, which are often marketed as “breast-like”. These will help ensure that baby is actually using a suck pattern to get milk vs. chomping on the bottle. If you’re breastfeeding, we definitely don’t want them practicing incorrectly on the bottle for your sake.

Creating The Right Environment

Provide a comfortable feeding environment to optimize bottle feeding for your little one. Minimize distractions like loud noises and bright lights to make it easier for them to focus on eating and make the experience positive for you both.

Responsive Feeding

Pay close attention to your baby’s feeding cues and give them the autonomy to eat at their own pace. Are they turning their head away or closing their lips? This could mean they are finished. This approach allows them to learn how to self-regulate and helps avoid overfeeding.

Offering the Bottle

If you have plans to return to work or have your baby take a bottle, starting bottle trials around 4 weeks old is very helpful to ensure baby accepts another medium. Offering the bottle shouldn't impact the mother-baby dyad as long as an optimal bottle is being used.

Optimizing bottle feeding is one of many ways to achieve overall wellness for your little one, and can help decrease stress. Following these tips will give your baby a solid foundation for oral development and communication skills. Our speech-language pathologists and lactation counselors are here to support you in any way you need.

Take our fun and interactive quiz to see how much you know about breast, bottle and solid feeding.


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