SKILLS & STRATEGIES
Paced Bottle Feeding
Paced bottle feeding is a bottle feeding method that allows babies more control over how fast they are eating. Although this method can be used with any baby, paced bottle feeding is often used to help a baby who is working toward latching onto the breast. This method may reduce the risk of overfeeding the baby, aspiration, and bottle nipple “flow” preference.
• Slow-flow, wide-based bottle
• Supplement of either breast milk or formula
- Prepare a bottle with the appropriate amount of supplement.
- Sit your baby up at a 45 degree angle in your lap so they are facing you.
- Place the tip of the bottle nipple against your baby’s upper lip to stimulate a rooting or sucking reflex.
- Aim the bottle nipple towards the roof of your baby’s mouth.
- When your baby opens their mouth wide, place the bottle in their mouth with milk in the tip of the nipple but with the bottle as close to horizontal as possible.
- Allow your baby to suck and have three big swallows.
- Tip the bottle down so that your baby is sucking on air for 15 seconds or so. Note: Your baby will not swallow air as long as there is no milk in the nipple when you tip it down.
- Repeat steps 6-7 until your baby shows signs of fullness.
- Note: The intention is to pace the feeding so that there are natural breaks when the milk is flowing and when it is not, much like a human breast. Some babies need three swallows; other need more. We encourage you to watch the linked video below and follow your baby’s cues.
See a lactation professional in-person for assistance with supplementation and paced bottle feeding.
Good information for the caretaker who will bottle feed the breastfed baby by Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA
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