Avoiding Bottle Preference: Paced Feeding a Breastfed Baby


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. But what is paced feeding and why is it important to you?

Baby’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. Breastfed babies, especially, however, need to be pace fed to reduce risk of developing a bottle preference.

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.

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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