Paced Bottle Feeding: How to Do It + Do’s and Don’ts

Paced Bottle Feeding is a method on how to feed your baby with a bottle which will make the baby feel like he is still breastfeeding when in reality he’s not. Paced Bottle Feeding gives the baby a sense of control compared to just directly feeding him without this method and using a bottle.

Mother sitting and bottle feeding baby

As first-time parents, we are often faced with so many decisions not just for ourselves now but for our new family. It’s a ruthless and unforgiving world out there. Nothing is ever assured. Like sometimes one of the spouses has to sacrifice a career in order to provide for service for the family while the other spouse brings home the beacon. It could also be that both will be working in order to provide for their little family needs. In some countries, it’s no longer odd to see both the dad and the mom working. It’s a natural concept already especially with the onset of prices of goods in the market that is slowly skyrocketing. 

But one principle that most doctors advocate is that as a mother we should be able to nurse or breastfeed our babies up to 1-2 years. There is just a no better substitute for a mother’s life-giving milk. However, there are times like I said when a mom has to work in order to pay the bills and such. So here we are considering the concept of paced bottle feeding. Just what is this concept and how will working moms benefit from it. 

Paced Bottle Feeding

When mom wants to go back to work but she has already started to breastfeed her baby it will be hard to remove mom from the equation and just put a bottle in her stead. However, there is a method on how to feed your baby with a bottle which will make baby feel like he is still breastfeeding when in reality he’s not. It’s a method called paced bottle feeding which in actuality kind of mimics how breastfeeding is for a baby.

Paced Bottle Feeding gives your baby a sense of control compared to just directly feeding him without this method and using a bottle. This method is also known to let the baby drink his milk in a more slowed down rhythm and it makes him work a little bit more in drawing the milk out. This way the baby will be in charge of and is able to recognize his feeling of fullness.

Did you know that bottle-feeding your baby is equivalent to force-feeding him because it can lead to overfeeding the baby and obesity? You are forcing your baby to finish his milk even though he is already full.  There are several steps to follow which will be discussed in the next paragraph. 

How to do Paced Bottle Feeding?

You might be thinking it will be a piece of cake. Just put the bottle on the baby’s mouth and there you go. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. It is a more calculated and precise move than that of a simple bottle feeding. Here is a list of how paced bottle feeding should be done. 

  • Put your baby in an almost sitting position or in an upright inclination. 
    (The reason behind this is so that your baby won’t chug down his milk greedily and easily compared to the usual lying position when some babies’ are being bottle-fed. In the end, it would mean a more controlled way of feeding the baby.) 
  • Don’t just shove the bottle into your baby’s mouth, give your little one’s mouth a slight tickle with the bottle’s nipple. Enticing and exciting your baby both at the same time to let him know that it’s feeding time. 
  • Hold the bottle horizontally or adjacent to your baby’s mouth and not the usual diagonal way we hold bottles. This way your baby will have to make more effort in getting to the milk instead of letting gravity do all the work for your baby. This will tremendously slow down the way your baby is feeding to a more relaxed tempo and not the hurried race he has when the bottle is held diagonally to his mouth. It also eliminates choking since the milk is not all at once trying to go down his little mouth and into his throat. 
  • Give or take 20-30 seconds into the feeding the bottle should be tipped downward to mimic how it is usually when it comes to real breastfeeding. This stops the flow of the milk. 
How to do paced bottle feeding

Paced Bottle Feeding: Simple Do’s and Don’t

Dos

  • A lot of patience is really the key to this method since it will take a little more time than your usual bottle feeding. 
  • Select a good bottle for paced bottle feeding. It doesn’t have to be fancy or anything but functional and comfortable. 
  • Observe your baby and be sensitive to his cues and gestures. 
  • Letdown the baby by delaying the milk from reaching the nipple so as to mimic breastfeeding letdown itself. 
  •  Pause. Within the entire duration of feeding your baby allow for some pauses. 
  • Take side to side. Do switch the side with which you feed your baby, you may start on the right side then after a few breaks and pauses transfer him on the left side and vice versa. This way your baby won’t develop a preference on which side to be fed. 
  • Know when to stop feeding your baby. Look at your baby’s cues and gestures. It may be his eyes starting to droop and wander, him sucking slower than how you began and or his hands are already open and relaxed. A neat way to teach your baby the feeling of being full is by twisting gently the nipple out of his mouth and then after a few seconds offer it again to him. If he accepts the nipple let him suck a few more times like 7-10 times more then remove the nipple from his mouth again and offer again until such time when he already refuses the nipple. You have achieved the goal of teaching your baby to know how it is to feel full and satisfied.

Don’t

  • Don’t lose patience especially at the beginning of using this method. It will take time before your baby gets used to this method just keep your marbles together until then. 
  • Don’t just watch and be a passive audience, observe your baby during the times he is paced bottle feeding. You will learn a lot about your baby by observing him.
  • Don’t forget to letdown, pause and stop. If you don’t a letdown, pause and stop then it’s like ordinary bottle feeding.  Then the point is moot. 
  • Don’t force your baby unto any method you think is desirable but your baby doesn’t seem to agree with. 

Benefits of Paced Bottle Feeding

Remarkably there are some perks to using such a method in feeding your baby. Here are some of the benefits that you and your baby can enjoy. 

  • If done properly, your baby won’t have issues if mommy has to leave and daddy or the babysitter’s to feed the baby with a bottle. Provided of course that they also observe the proper steps in paced bottle feeding.
  • You won’t have to worry that you might be overfeeding your baby and end up obese in the end because he will be trained to drink only until he is full and not to drink just to empty out the bottle you gave him. 
  • When your baby drinks slower than the usual bottle-feeding pace, he won’t have reflux or indigestion that arises only when he drinks too much milk at a very fast pace. 
  • Believe it or not, he develops social development since he has to rely on the one feeding him and emotional development due to the fact that your baby will feel more love as opposed to being forced fed. 
  • It will also develop your baby’s hand-eye coordination. 

Warning signs that your baby might be in trouble

Not all babies are the same, there are those that are most likely to be okay with bottle paced feeding but there will be babies who might not be having a good time at all. These are some warning signs to look for to know if your baby is in trouble or not. 

  • Your baby’s lips turn blue. It might be a sign of choking so stop immediately. 
  • Milk starts to overflow from your baby’s mouth. It might be that he is already full and no longer interested in feeding or it could also mean choking. 
  • Your baby’s eyes open wide all of a sudden for no reason. 
  • The obvious gagging or choking. 
  • Your baby grimaces while you feed him. 
  • Baby’s body stiffens. This is a little alarming so stop immediately and tend to your baby.  
  • Baby’s nostrils flare. It might mean he can’t breathe. 

Paced bottle feeding is not a full-proof method. It will take a tremendous amount of patience and dedication in order to get the proper rhythm right. There will be times that it will prove to be difficult but if you think about it the pros outweigh the cons. So hang in there.

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