Every parent cherishes the snuggling, cradling, and quiet that comes with feeding your little one a bottle, but they always get to a stage where they can hold their own bottle and feed themselves, while you attend to other things. With so many baby products in the market, it would be surprising if there was not at least one that could help to make the process more effective.

Bottle slings are specially designed to fasten to your little one’s car-seat handle, holding the feeding bottle at an ideal angle for easy use while keeping it within easy reach for your baby. Even lazy and uncoordinated babies can use such a device to bat the bottle into their mouth. The typical age when a baby starts feeding himself/herself is between 6 and 10 months, though some little ones begin to show signs of independence at an earlier age.

oball_largeHand-Made Bottle Holder

Since the bottle is too large for the baby’s hands to grip, you can use this simple life hack to make it easier for your baby:

Cut one joint out of an OBall (from Rhino Toys) to create a baby bottle cage, so it can hold the bottle while the baby has multiple easy positions for holding.

OBalls come in a variety of sizes, so you will probably want to use the regular size, which is about 4.5-inches in diameter. Most clearances are quite flexible, and bottles appear to be more or less the same diameter around the neck (where it settles on the opening), so regular sizes should fit. However, bottles with greater capacity may be too tall to fit properly inside the ball.

How to tell that your baby is ready to hold his/her own bottle

The best way to tell if your little one is ready to hold his/her own bottle is to hand him/her one and watch the reaction. A baby who displays motor skills to put the bottle in the mouth and take it out when he has had enough can be offered one occasionally.

That said, you should not prop a bottle in your baby’s mouth to hasten the feeding process if he/she takes long to show signs of interest in holding his own bottle. This could cause him to choke or even overeat. Additionally, your baby could fall asleep with the bottle in his mouth, causing the breast milk or formula to pool around his teeth, which may result in tooth decay. To prevent this, you should not hand your baby a bottle or prop it and put him to bed.

babybottleData Against Self Feeding

Research shows that a propped bottle increases the risk of ear infection. When your baby is lying down during feedings, the milk can flow from his mouth to the Eustachian tubes in his ears, where it can linger and lead to an infection.

Another vital reason to not always let your baby hold the bottle on his own, or prop it, it because it can deprive your baby of crucial snuggle time. Holding and cuddling your little one during feeding time not only gives him/her a sense of safety and security, but also promotes bonding.

Lastly, never leave your baby alone to feed himself until it is about one-year old and can sit upright by himself.

Check out last week's life hacks for parents on liGo!