Paced Bottle Feeding: Everything You Need To Know
Switching from the breast to bottle feeding isn’t natural for your baby. Not every child can adjust to feeding method changes.
Paced bottle feeding is the technique that you must master as a parent to help your baby transition to the bottle.
Here are some tips and tricks to be able to do paced bottle feeding the right way. But first, let me define this process.
What Is Paced Bottle Feeding?
With breastfeeding, your child needs to work out to let down some milk. The flow comes in small bursts and is triggered by the baby’s sucking reflex.
Paced bottle feeding is a technique to imitate the speed of breastfeeding. This method is applicable for babies less than six months old.
You have to slow down the milk flow so that infants will not be overwhelmed and overfed.
Feeding on a bottle is totally different to breastfeeding. Milk flow is continuous. Your baby can finish a bottle in a few minutes if the nipple hole is large.
If you are breastfeeding, pumping, and bottle feeding alternately, you might find it difficult to breastfeed once your kid has adjusted to the fast and easy flow of the bottle.
This can result in outright refusal to take in your breasts, making your baby wean earlier than he should.
Your baby will also get overfed, which might result in colic-like pain and crying spells. You don’t want these to happen that’s why you must do paced bottle feeding.
How To Do Paced Bottle Feeding
Paced bottle feeding begins by putting your baby in an inclined position. Ensure proper neck and head support. Baby’s chin must not rest on his chest. You can also hold him like how you do while breastfeeding.
1. Use a small and slow flow nipple. Gently touch baby’s lips with the bottle’s nipple. Do not shove the whole thing into her mouth.
Just like how you do with breastfeeding, you can gently stroke his chin to encourage him to open up his mouth. It is your baby that must initiate when the feeding begins and ends.
2. Let you child start nursing by taking five sucks. Slightly pull the nipple out after the first sucks but do not remove it from his mouth.
Just put the nipple at the tip of her tongue and wait until she initiate sucking after a second or two.
3. Allow your baby to reach for and suck back the nipple, just like how she would do during breastfeeding. Alternately, you may also tilt the bottle to slow down the milk flow.
This phase will give your baby some time to swallow and will also train him to suck harder next time.
4. Observe your child if he will then take back the nipple. Let him nurse some more and then pause again after five sucks. Give her some time to swallow, and then repeat the steps above.
5. Do not force your baby to consume all the contents of the bottle. Let him decide when the feeding is over.
Tips And Tricks For Successful Paced Bottle Feeding
# Take your time
Do not rush to finish off the bottle. Let your baby take his time. Take note that with paced bottle feeding, your aim is to slow down milk flow by pausing now and then.
Wake the baby in case she dozes off to dreamland while feeding. Feed in small amounts and throw out any leftovers immediately once the feeding session is over. A good 10-20 minutes is the average paced feeding time.
# Observe your baby for cues
Watch out for signs that tell whether your baby is still hungry. If not yet satiated, he will reach out for more milk as soon as you withdraw the nipple.
Likewise, look for signs that tell whether your baby is drowning in too much milk. Your poor kid will look stiff, with distended stomach. He may also frown, have eyes wide open and grimace a bit.
Milk can also flow into his cheeks and face. Listen for the suck and swallow pattern. Don’t force the baby to take in the nipple.
Elicit baby’s natural rooting response by letting the nipple tip touch baby’s nose. Observe your kid, so you’ll know what to do.
# Maintain upright inclined position
Do not feed your baby while she is lying down. This position may lead to bottle caries and an increased likelihood to acquire ear infections.
# Hold your baby
Don’t keep your child in the crib. Hold her before and after feeding times. She must not equate feeding times to being held. Your baby must have adequate skin to skin contact all throughout the day regardless if it is feeding time or play.
# Keep clean
Wash hands before making formula and handling feeding bottles. Make sure that the top of the milk can is dry and clean before you open it. Do not attempt to store left-over formula in the fridge, just throw it out.
# Keep milk in small portions
If you are pumping, keep your milk at a maximum of 2 ounces per bag, no more than that. Freeze or chill your breastmilk in small batches so as to minimize wastage.
Paced bottle feeding helps babies to avoid guzzling all the milk in just one sitting. Paced feeding can keep your baby feeling full without colicky pain.
Breastfeeding takes time.
Paced bottle feeding mimics the stages of breastfeeding. Do paced bottle feeding to avoid nipple confusion.
If done right, this technique will ensure that your baby is not overfed. You can continue to breastfeed and bottle feed alternately throughout the day.