Paced bottle feeding is a method of feeding expressed breastmilk which mimics, as closely as possible, how baby would feed from the breast. It is believed to prevent the baby from over-eating and help with reflux. Many breastfeeding experts recommend this method if you choose to bottle feed expressed breastmilk.
How to do paced bottle feeding
- Set aside 10-20 minutes for paced bottle feeding. This allows enough time for your baby to feel full. Don’t feed the baby the entire bottle in fewer than 10 minutes.
- Hold your baby in an upright position so that her head is at a slight incline (not like a cradle hold). You can sit her on your leg and have her back rest against your forearm, or you can have her sit in an infant seat with a slight incline.
- Hold the bottle near your baby’s mouth and allow him to draw the nipple into his mouth (do not push the nipple into his mouth). Part of paced bottle feeding is to let your baby control when the feeding begins.
- If you have a newborn baby, you can encourage the ‘rooting’ instinct by gently stroking the upper lip with the nipple of the bottle. Wait until baby’s mouth is wide open before inserting the nipple.
- Pause frequently. Plan on pausing every couple of minutes. This keeps the ‘pace’ in paced bottle feeding – the goal of paced bottle feeding is to discourage the baby from guzzling down the entire bottle in one go.
- Don’t expect a ‘clean plate.’ If baby pushes away the bottle from her mouth, or she turns her head to refuse the nipple after a pause, don’t force her to continue drinking. She might feel full.
Older babies tend to feed themselves bottles in this method - see image below of baby 'pausing' during a meal.