8 1/2 Month Old Not Holding Bottle

Updated on October 09, 2008
S.S. asks from Milwaukee, WI
18 answers

I know this sounds really stupid but my son is 8 1/2 months and refuses to hold his own bottle or put food in his mouth (gerber finger food). He throws a fit when we try to get him to hold his bottle or help him put his food in his hand to put in his mouth. We try to let him grab it and do it himself he just grabs it sqeezes it then throws it. His bottle he swings his hands so he doesn't touch it. Any suggestions on how to get him to do things on his own. Any advise would be great.

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answers from Rochester on

My little guy was just the same way! He was a little younger, but my brother told me just be consistent. Put his hands on the bottle & help him to understand he needs to hold his own bottle. It took a good week, but being consistent and holding his hands on the bottle really helped. (Until now, he's 14 months & in the stage where he throws everything he touches!)



answers from Appleton on

My daughter didn't hold her own bottle until she was a year old. Then, at about 13 months, she switched right over to the sippy cup which she also holds on her own. My family and friends all thought it was weird that we would still be holding her bottle for her when she was 9-12 months old already, but I guess every kid is different. We just went ahead and held it for her at first, then we would slowly place her hands on the bottle and let go so that she would end her feeding holding her own bottle. It didn't always work, but we kept at it.

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answers from Des Moines on

I wouldn't worry every little one is different, and my boys never held their own bottle, or were interested in finger foods. Then when they hit a year old, and we switched to a sippy cup they instantly started holding that by themselves, and eating finger foods, and regular food no problem.


answers from Milwaukee on

My daughter never held her own bottle, at times I wished she had but NOW I cherish all that time I got to spend with her bonding.

Once I got to finger food I just set it out and let her feed herself (that was more around 1 year). She quickly learned that I was not going to feed her since I was eating and she started feeding herself. Now at age 2 she wants to do everything herself.

I would just leave as much finger food out as possible for him to feed himself. Best of luck!



answers from Green Bay on

My son is also 8.5 months old. He can hold his bottle just fine, but prefers not to. He will eat on his own - in fact he often refuses help - but the bottle? He seems disinterested in feeding himself with it.

I'm not forcing that one right now, as I want to wean him from it as soon as possible and it's much easier if he isn't used to holding it himself, I think.

The suggestion to offer then remove is good, too. Even as early as 7-8 months infants are starting to "test the waters" and discover how you react to what they do. It's a good time to start doing things like saying "no" and reinforcing that you are the parent and you are in control, not him.



answers from St. Cloud on

I like a lot of the suggestions you have already received, but I didn't see anyone discuss this:
You mentioned that he swings his hands when he's bottle feeding. I wonder if it's because of the type of bottle/nipple you are offering. Try going down one step on the nipple so it's a little more work for him to get the liquid from the bottle.
If his hands are swinging it may be a sign that the liquid is coming out just a bit too fast and he has to concentrate on the task of swallowing.



answers from Minneapolis on

Hey, S.! My 17-month-old daughter has never held her own bottle either. It frustrated me for a while, wondering if there was something wrong or if it was something she should do. But I think she just wanted to be cuddled when she ate. She has some eating issues (sensitive gag reflex and aversions to solids) and so eating has always been a bit stressful for her. I did try for a while to teach her to hold it by holding her hands onto the bottle with mine, but she's still never really been interested in holding it herself. She did start showing interest in feeding herself finger foods around 12-13 months and she does hold her own sippy cups (starting around the same time). I guess my advice would be....give it time. He'll have an interest in doing things for himself eventually and until then, just enjoy the cuddling that you can get in when you're feeding him a bottle.



answers from Minneapolis on

My youngest is just lazy when it came to feeding time. He's almost 2 and still likes to be fed most of his dinner. The rest of the time he's just fine. There's no reason why he can't do it- he just doesn't want to.
If your son is hungry enough, or decided he wants to do what the grown-ups are doing, he'll take over. I guess you just have to decide how long you're willing to wait before giving in. Sometimes it's just easier to do it yourself and know it won't last forever. =)



answers from Duluth on

I suggest that you quit trying. Offer him the bottle or finger when he is hungry and if he refuses to take them, you must remove the bottle or food and say let me know when you want this and I will get it for you. Do not try to force this is a control issue. You are the Parent. You must stick to your plan. He will not starve.



answers from Green Bay on

Hi S.

Mabey you can try a sippy cup with handles . If you have not tried a sippy cup yet get one that has a soft spout . With the foods mabey try some thing different then you already tried . Mabey he just does not like the taste or the texture of it . Babies have taste buds they say it takes allot of tries before a baby will eat some thing . Good luck .



answers from Davenport on

heh heh heh.....my daughter would NEVER hold her bottle. Ever. I think she was just lazy ;) As far as the squeezing and throwing food thing, my two year old still does that. It's normal kids stuff and he's not going to do it if he doesn't want to. The most you can do is keep offering it like you do now. If he wants to hold the bottle he will. I wouldn't worry about the feeding himself thing, he'll get hungry enough and eat. I know it sounds harsh, but after having my third I realized (after being told this over and over with the first two) that kids will eat when they're hungry and won't starve themselves. It's not like he's going to go to preschool and not know how to put food in his mouth :) Good luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

As long as you have not moved to glass bottles like some (they are just too heavy), I would make him hold it himeself. I would place it in front of him and walk away. Yes it is a nice bonding time, but I was informed by a Speech Pathologist and Occupational Therapist, that children holding thier own bottles connects a pathway in the brain that helps process speech, logical processing and the left and right brain. They make a child many times who is having difficulty with speech go back and learn to hold a cup/bottle while being able to suck and swallow and they also make them learn how to crawl if they were babies who never crawled. SO I think I would encourage for him to do it on his own. Good luck. Here is a (((HUG))).



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi, S. - I wouldn't worry much about this at all. Sounds very normal for an 8.5 month old. My son is 10 months and does the same thing when I try to get him to hold a spoon. If I put food in his mouth for him, he will occasionally "help" out by pushing it further into his mouth with his finger, but so far he pretty much adamantly refuses to feed himself. Though he has great interest in smearing his food around and throwing it on the floor. It's VERY normal! As for holding a bottle, my son put up some resistance at first, but I eventually began to wean him to a sippy cup with handles. After a while, he gradually became used to holding it without my help and now he does it well on his own. Though there are plenty of babies who still put up resistance to feeding themselves with a spoon or cup for even longer. I don't think there is anything to be concerned about with your son. It's frustrating, but just keep gently trying once in a while and wait it out through the messes! Good luck!



answers from St. Cloud on

Shame on the poster who judged you so harshly! May I remind ladies that this is just an internet forum....we do not have the whole scenario and nor do we need to know.
8 1/2 months is too young to have to hold the bottle in my opinion but who am I to say that your intent is to throw the bottle at him and walk away! Honestly!
This is a good time to cuddle while feeding but I think this is a grand time to introduce a sippy cup. Easy and fun to practice on in the high chair!



answers from Wausau on

My boy didn't want to hold his own bottle either. Contrary to at least one of the other posts, I didn't want him to hold the bottle so I could just go walk away. I understand what you're feeling- he's old enough where he should be able to do this - is there something wrong with him that he isn't and isn't even interested in doing so? When we went on vacation for a wedding on the coast, he stayed with Grandma for 4-5 days. He was about 11 months at the time. When we got home, he was holding his own bottle! I still held him while I fed it to him but he no longer wanted me hold the bottle for him.

I think either he wants the comfort of being fed by you, it's simply a habit, or the bottle is just another toy when it gets into his hands. Also, it helped me feel better to read that they recommend not letting your child hold his own bottle. It makes weaning a lot easier since they're not so attached to it.



answers from Cedar Rapids on

My baby girl didn't hold her bottle at that age either. Everyone made it sound like a huge deal but it's not. She's ten months old now and has mastered it. Get those non drip/spill nipples for those throws. At least its a start. When you feed him, see if you can hold one of his hands on the bottle under yours. Then later, maybe, both. Mia never let me hold both but eventually understood to hold it. She's still a princess and will have me hold it when she's really tired and put her hands behind her head in a relaxing "AHHH!" position, lol!



answers from Green Bay on

My daughter is 8 months old and doesn't hold her own bottle most of the time. She'll put one hand on it sometimes, or even both, but not actually hold it in place. Though if all the big bottles are waiting to be washed and we use a smaller one, she will hold that one. So I'm thinking the bigger ones are just a little awkward for her to hold. So I'm not really pushing the issue. We're offering her a sippy cup or regular cup with juice once in awhile and that's what I want to encourage her to hold herself more than the bottle.

We just started giving her the Gerber puffs. She loves sweet potatoes, so I started with the sweet potato flavored puffs and it worked. I started by putting one in her mouth and then set a few more on her high chair tray. She plays with them most of the time, but will put one in her mouth eventually. We actually tried Cheerios first but she didn't like the taste. She just made an ugly face and spit it out. So that's when we switched to the puffs. So it may be just finding what your son likes the taste of to give him some motivation to feed himself.



answers from Lincoln on

:) When I read this I had to laugh!

My now 21-month-old also refused to hold his bottle. He had no problems putting anything else in his mouth though. :P

I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I don't know how to help you here. But I wanted to let you know that things will change when he stars using a cup.

I never quite knew why my son refused to hold his bottle, but I did notice (a tad late) that the few times he tried holding it, I would walk away to do something else... and then boom! Bottle would be across the floor!

As for the finger food... I remember mine trying about 10% of the food and the other 90% would end up on the floor. I think that's pretty normal. I would suggest here to praise him when he does grab his own food. Show him yourself how to eat it without grabbing his hand (eat his food with him). Don't push it too hard though or it will become some hateful activity for him. Just go with it and have your broom or vacuum on stand-by.

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