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Bonding With Baby Over the Bottle

I’ve heard nursing helps moms and babies bond, but I’m not breastfeeding. Are there any ways to connect with my baby while I give her a bottle?

Re: I’ve heard nursing helps moms and babies bond, but I’m not breastfeeding. Are there any ways to connect with my baby while I give her a bottle?

The Bump Expert

Absolutely. Clinical psychologist Shoshana Bennett, PhD, reminds moms that bonding is a process of familiarity – getting to know each other -- that happens over time. And, wonderful bonding can be facilitated no matter how your baby is fed. Here are some ways to make bottle-time a warm and fuzzy experience for both of you.

•Don’t multi-task. Give baby your full attention while she feeds, and don't rush her to finish. Let her enjoy the pleasures of snuggling with her favorite person, and let yourself savor this precious time too. What do you think is better for baby bonding – breastfeeding while you look away and speak on the phone or bottle-feeding with your full attention on her?

•Get close. If you’re in private, take off or unbutton your shirt -- babies love that skin-to-skin connection. Also, try to maintain eye contact. It’s easier to make great eye contact with your baby while bottle-feeding, so take advantage of it. In addition, physical and visual connections are linked to optimum brain development.

•Switch midway. Move baby to your other arm halfway through the bottle. Giving her a different perspective on the world provides visual stimulation and encourages development and curiosity. And it gives your shoulder a break.

•Don’t prop. It may save you a few minutes, but propping baby up with a bottle wastes potential bonding time. It also increases her risk of choking, ear infections and tooth decay.

•Share these tips with other caretakers who feed, so they can also make the most of bottle-time.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Bottle Feeding

Picking a Baby Formula

How to Bottle Feed Baby

Paula Kashtan

re: Q: Bonding Over the Bottle?

I stroke my son's face and head softly when I bottle-feed and hold him close to me. And I also keep eye contact - I don't feel I lost much of the bonding experience (I thought I would).

APsMom2007 |

re: Q: Bonding over the bottle?

Maybe it's a newborn thing, but my daughter doesn't usually maintain much eye contact when we're breastfeeding. When we give her a bottle, though, she's more alert and looks all over the place - at us, at the ceiling fan (one of her favorite things to fix on!), but she loves to hold eye contact with us. And of course, it's bonding that Daddy can enjoy as well.

formossissima |

Q&A: Bonding with baby over the bottle?

snuggling and talking to DD while i feed her.

jeeanfoxy |

Q&A: Bonding with baby over the bottle?

I try to find a quiet place to feed my son so we can really bond. During his feeding I keep eye contact, stroke his hair, and I talk/sing to him.

sumpay1028 |

Q&A: Bonding with baby over the bottle?

I stroke my son's face and head softly when I bottle-feed and hold him close to me :) I think so

lavender8x |

Q&A: Bonding with baby over the bottle?

I hold my babygirl close to me and keep eye contact. I talked softly to her and smile.

madamech |