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.