Paced Bottle Feeding

Paced Bottle Feeding

Paced Bottle Feeding

Lots and lots of moms need to use bottles with their breastfed baby for one reason or another – many because they are returning to work. Since someone other than you is likely to be feeding your baby while you are away, it is a great idea to educate your baby’s caregivers on the best way to feed your breastfed baby.

So what is paced bottle feeding? Paced bottle feeding is a technique for feeding a breastfed baby that is more similar to the way the baby feeds at the breast. It is familiar for the baby, and will be less stressful for the baby as well. It is also VERY easy to over-feed a breastfed baby, so this technique will help to insure that doesn’t happen.

Latch and Pace. With paced bottle feeding, your baby will get a good latch and will be able to determine who quickly or slowly they eat – just like they do at the breast. Make sure that you are using a newborn nipple on the bottle, even if your baby is older. This will help your baby to control the flow of milk while he is eating. To begin, hold your baby in a slightly upright position. Touch the nipple of the bottle to baby’s chin until he opens his mouth to accept it. Wait for the baby to open wide and allow him to draw the nipple in so that it reaches the “suck stimulation spot” at the back of his mouth – where the hard and soft palates of his mouth meet. While he is drinking, keep the bottle horizontal to the ground. The baby’s upright position, slow flow nipple and horizontal bottle position will all slow down the flow of the milk from the bottle to baby, allowing him to choose his own eating pace.

Allow the baby to suck 5-10 times, then gently pull the bottle out of his mouth, but keeping it so that it is touching his lower lip. This will allow your baby to suck the nipple back in when he is ready for more. If your baby gets upset by you pulling the bottle out of his mouth, you can also tilt the bottle so that the flow lessens to give him a rest. When he starts sucking harder to get more milk, you can tilt it back up again to help quicken the flow a little bit. The bottle should never go more than horizontal, though, as this will give the baby the ability to control the pace of his feeding better.

Follow your baby’s cues! There is no reason to make him finish a bottle just because there is more left. If he is slowing down his pace and resting more, then let him finish when he is ready. A typical feeding done using this technique will take 15- 20 minutes to complete. Your baby will have the ability to stop eating when he is full and take breaks along the way – just like he does at the breast. This technique is great for breastfed babies and will also help formula fed babies as well – as it is very easy to stress out any baby by feeding him too quickly and it is very easy to over feed any baby when using a bottle.

Have you used paced bottle feeding techniques with your baby? What tips do you have to share with our readers about using this technique or about training their caregivers? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

7 comments to Paced Bottle Feeding

  • Thanks for this! We found this out the hard way when I first returned to work after my 2nd son’s birth. I was freaking out because he was taking 24 ounces in the 10 hour period that I was gone. There was NO way I could keep up with that! Then we discovered that he just needed paced bottle feeding, and we were fine after that.

  • Nicole Coltier

    My husband has fed both our children like this every day that I’m at work with great results. It’s difficult to describe to sitters, who often go through 2-3 bottles in a short 2-3 hour period rather than the 1-2 bottles over 7-9 hours as he does… I think I’ll print this for our sitters to read to help them not overfeed the baby, as she is always gassy and spits up after every night we get a sitter!

  • [...] giving instructions (insane instructions) about handling my expressed milk. I also gave a clinic on paced bottle feeding because I didn’t want Corey or my cousin Frances to feed Felix so quickly he barfed up my [...]

  • Nicola Syed

    Nice article however it isn’t very easy to over feed a breastfed baby. I think that should shay bottle fed?

  • Hi Nicola, it is actually easier to over-feed a breastfed baby with a bottle than a baby who is used to taking a bottle. Breastfed babies can get quite overwhelmed by the flow and speed at which milk comes out of a bottle vs the breast – and can easily get overfed by a caregiver who isn’t cognizant of this.

  • [...] the right amount of your milk while you are away. The first is to educate your care giver about paced bottle feeding. It is very easy to over-feed a breastfed baby – and using these techniques, your baby will only [...]

  • […] Breastfed babies eat differently from bottle-fed babies. A technique called “Paced Bottle Feeding” can help caregivers to mimic the breastfeeding experience with a bottle. This means making […]

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