When should my baby be able to hold his or her own bottle? Formula Feeding

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baby holding bottle
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Each baby learns to hold his bottle in his own time, so don't rush it. But here's when experts and moms say baby may gain some feeding independence.

Every Baby Is Different

"It varies widely, but the typical age range is 7 to 10 months. The best tell if your baby is ready is by practicing with him! He will let you know quickly if he is ready or not!" -- Skyler Gardner, RN, BSN, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA

Never Prop the Bottle

"You may see it happen around 6 to 10 months. It's important that the baby truly is grasping and holding the bottle herself, and that you're not propping the bottle in her mouth. This could be a choking hazard, and you also can miss critical signs your baby is giving you during the feeding process if she can't pull the bottle out of her mouth." -- Heidi Miller, pediatric speech pathologist and feeding specialist, Heidi Miller Speech LLC, Florham Park, NJ

There's No Set Time

"Some babies never hold their own bottle, and some grab at it early. If your baby starts trying to hold it during a feeding, I wouldn't discourage it. Just help keep it steady while they grasp it as well."

Early Bottle-Feeders May Grasp It Sooner

"I've noticed babies who have been bottle-fed from the time they were born seem to learn how to hold their bottles more quickly than a baby whose mother started bottle-feeding later, like at 6 months of age."

It May Never Happen

"My son could hold the bottle after about 10 to 11 months, but I was more than happy to hold it and bond with him, so he didn't have to."

Don't Let Baby Feed Solo

"A doctor told me the baby should never be left alone to feed themselves until at the very least 9 months old and when they can sit up by themselves."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.