Avoiding Bottle Preference: Paced Feeding a Breastfed Baby

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

You’ve probably heard me mention paced bottle feeding a couple of times by now. If you haven’t heard it from me, you have probably heard it from your La Leche League group, a coworker, or another mommy friend. Maybe this is actually your first time hearing about it... But what is paced feeding and why is it important to you?

Babyit’s who are bottle fed should all be pace fed, regardless if they’re being fed formula or expressed breast milk. The benefits are important for all babies and this is rarely something taught to parents at all. Breastfed babies, especially, however, need to be pace fed to reduce risk of developing a bottle preference.

Bottle feeding means milk comes fast... even with the smallest nipple size. Babies don’t have to work for it. When breastfeeding, babies have to put effort in to initiate a let down. This “work” is what helps to develop the oral function and structure optimally. Simply put, bottle feeding requires less effort on baby’s behalf. So if we don’t mimic breastfeeding utilizing paced feeding, it can be hard for baby to develop the ability to switch back and forth from feeding methods easily. Even for fully bottle fed babies, pacing feeds is important for a variety of reasons: 1. Decreasing over feeding 2.Allowing them to develop more optimal oral function to prepare for speech and feeding development later in life.

Benefits of Paced Bottle Feeding:

  • Baby controls flow of milk

  • Baby feeds at his own pace

  • Reduces air intake, possibly reducing reflux and colic symptoms

  • Baby has to “work for it”

  • Baby is able to practice self regulation

How to pace feed:

  • Hold baby in upright position

  • Keep bottle mostly parallel to floor to reduce flow

  • Use slow flow nipple

  • Use nipple that encourages a wide breast-like latch if possible

  • Touch nipple to baby’s lips allowing baby to draw the nipple in on his own

  • Let baby stop and start feeding as desired (baby may take a break or pause for many reasons) Remember feeding takes time and is about more than just nourishment. Feeding is a social activity and bonding method that nourishes the body and nurtures the soul. Focus on baby’s needs. Propping baby’s bottle is convenient, but can prove to be a choking hazard.

If you’re looking for more support reaching your breastfeeding goals, please text Jaimie at 609-200-0372 or email jaimiezaki@littlebearlactation.com to set up a virtual lactation support visit!

Baby not here yet and hoping to prepare to reach your breastfeeding goals? Check out Jaimie’s Breastfeeding With Confidence and consider scheduling your prenatal lactation visit to create a breastfeeding plan that is right for you!

Have you heard of paced bottle feeding before? Do you use this method? If you found this information helpful, please remember to SHARE with your friends so they can learn too!! Don't forget to SUBMIT your own breastfeeding questions to be added to the Little Bear Lactation Breastfeeding Q&A Video Series!





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