10 Tips For Successful Paced Bottle Feeding

paced bottle feeding

Paced Bottle Feeding is a method becoming more and more popular with Moms.

Although breastfeeding has more advantages, many mothers find bottle feeding is a convenient and viable alternative. Especially for working Moms and for those wanting their partner to bond with baby.

When switching to bottles, we all worry about overfeeding our baby. Overfeeding could cause our little one to become gassy, colicky and not at all happy! This is a situation we’d all love to avoid and paced feeding could be the answer.

In this article, we take a look at what exactly this method is and give you 10 great tips to do it effectively!

How Overfeeding Happens

One of the main concerns with bottle feeding is that it can lead to overfeeding in babies. The main reason for this is because it takes less effort to get milk from a bottle nipple than it does from the breast. This can result in a baby consuming more milk than during an equivalent breastfeeding session.

What is Paced Feeding?

Paced bottle feeding focuses on responding to your baby’s hunger cues to give feeds. It doesn’t focus on giving them a scheduled amount of formula in a day.

Why Do It?

Paced Feeding gives babies the opportunity to self-regulate even when being fed from a bottle. It also imitates breastfeeding, which can help avoid issues with nipple confusion. The theory behind it is to bottle feed as if you are breastfeeding.

While it may not be possible for a baby to overfeed at the breast, the same cannot be said when being fed by a bottle.

How Paced Feeding Works

With paced feeding, you feed your baby by following her hunger cues, instead of using a set schedule.

Even if it is her normal feeding time, if she is not indicating that she is hungry then wait for her cues before giving her a bottle.

Here is a great paced bottle feeding video:

10 Tips For Effective Paced Bottle Feeding

1. Recognize Hunger Cues

For this method to work effectively, it’s vital you know your baby’s hunger cues. Ones to watch out for are crying and fussiness, sucking on her fist or smacking her lips, and rooting with her head and mouth like she is trying to find a nipple to latch on to.

2. Feed In Upright Position

It’s important to feed your little one in an upright or sitting position, rather than a reclined position.

This is because the milk flow from a bottle can be increased when given in a reclined position, making it hard for the baby to control the flow.

3. Hold The Bottle Horizontally

The bottle should always be held in a horizontal position. This makes it easier to control the flow than a bottle that is held up-side down. Keep enough milk in the nipple that so that the baby does not become overwhelmed by rapid milk flow.

Because the bottle is horizontal, you can tilt it up just enough to help flow and then down to stop it. This will give you the pacing you need!

4. Mimic Breastfeeding

Encourage the bottle feeding experience to mimic breastfeeding by allowing your baby to root for the nipple and latch onto it as she does when breastfeeding. One way to initiate this response is by lightly touching the nipple to your baby’s nose.

Once she has a good latch, allow her to set the pace of the feeding. Try to stick to around the same amount of time she normally spends feeding at the breast.

5. Take Rests & Switch Sides.

During the feeding, switch the side that you are holding her on to further mimic breastfeeding. Also, it’s important to pause after every few sucks and don’t be in a hurry to finish.

6. Don’t Force Them To Finish

Don’t force her to finish the bottle if she indicates she is full and don’t wake her to finish if she has fallen asleep during a feeding.

A good strategy to avoid wasting milk is to start out with only a few ounces instead of a full bottle. You can then add more if she indicates that she is still hungry.

7.  Try Size O / Newborn Nipples

Like most things baby related, yours will have their own preference for a bottle nipple. The important thing is to choose one that doesn’t flow too fast. Many mothers who pace feed advocate size 0 nipples as they are as close to a natural breast as possible.

8. Don’t Focus on Quantity

With paced feeding, you should stop paying attention to how many ounces your baby is or isn’t taking in during a feeding.  Instead, simply feed based on your baby’s hunger cues.

It is a baby’s natural instinct to eat when she is hungry and stop when she is full. Learn to trust in her instincts and allow her to dictate how much she eats and when.

9. Educate Family & Care Givers

Be sure to explain paced feeding to day care providers or family members who may be feeding your baby so that they know what to do.

10. Stick With It!

Like many new things, it’s important to stick with paced bottle feeding in the beginning.

Stay consistent with feedings so that your baby isn’t being overfed and doesn’t become confused. They could  begin refusing the breast if you are switching between breast and bottle.

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