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Paced Bottle Feeding: Tips for Introducing a Bottle when Breastfeeding

What is Paced Bottle Feeding?

Paced Bottle Feeding is a method of bottle feeding that allows your baby to be in control of the pace they eat and more closely mimics the pace of nursing. By using the paced bottle method, it slows the flow of milk or formula into the nipple and then baby’s mouth to allow baby to eat more slowly, take breaks and stay comfortable with the often slower pace of breastfeeding.

Paced feeding can help with overfeeding that can lead to belly discomfort, as well as better align with the feeding experience they get when nursing to create a smoother transition for baby when introducing a bottle whether you are pumping, supplementing with formula, or moving to exclusive bottle feeding.

Sounds Great! How Do You Do It?

  1. Choose the right bottle and nipple. A small bottle with a slow-flow nipple works best.

  2. Prop baby in your lap in a semi-upright position, supporting the head and neck. The Boppy Anywhere® Nursing Support works great around your arm to properly support baby upright.

  3. When baby is ready to eat (you know those hunger cues!) ensure a deep latch on the bottle’s nipple.

  4. Hold the bottle horizontal to the floor so the nipple is not fully filled with milk.

  5. First let baby latch on the nipple without milk, then tip the bottle just enough to fill the nipple about halfway with milk.

  6. Let baby suck for about 30 seconds (about 5 swallows) tip the bottle down and have baby take a break.

  7. When baby begins to suck again, tip bottle up to allow milk to flow into the nipple.

  8. Continue this until baby shows fullness signs: no longer sucking, turning away from the bottle, or pushing the nipple away.

  9. After several days of paced feeding, your baby will learn to pace themselves and you will start to notice them taking their own breaks. Positioning baby upright helps them be able to take control of their feeding pace as they do while breastfeeding.

Some FAQs About Paced Feeding

  • How long does a meal take?
    • 10-20 min
  • What are the benefits of paced feeding?
    • It can teach self-regulation, ease digestive discomfort, and help reduce fast-flow preference for a breastfed baby.
  • Does having more air in the nipple cause gas?
    • Any time a baby is fed with a bottle there is a chance of swallowing air, which can lead to gas. Paced bottle feeding may actually reduce the chance of gas.
  • How do I know if the nipple flow is too fast?
    • If you notice baby gulping, choking, swallowing hard, coughing or refusing to eat.
  • What to do if I am having trouble with feeding?
    • Consult a lactation consultant. Your pediatrician can help you find one.


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