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  • Erin

Paced Bottle Feeding

One of the tricky things in the first few weeks of breastfeeding is offering a bottle when you prefer to latch your baby to the breast. Babies may need bottles for various reasons: they aren’t latching, they need to be supplemented due to weight loss or jaundice, or the mother’s nipples are too sore or damaged to latch the baby. Lactation consultants and parents worry about offering bottles before breastfeeding is well established because occasionally, the baby will begin to refuse the breast. One of the best ways to lead to success going between breast and bottle is to use a paced bottle feeding technique.

Paced bottle feeding puts the parent more in charge of how much milk and the flow of the milk the baby gets. Paced bottle feeding is a good practice even if you are exclusively bottle feeding your baby.

To paced bottle feed:

  1. Sit your baby upright

  2. Hold the bottle parallel to the floor but make sure there is milk in the nipple

  3. Use a slow flow nipple

  4. Wait for the baby to open their mouth for the bottle nipple. You can stroke their mouth from top to bottom with the nipple to encourage mouth opening.

  5. Every so often tip the bottle down so there is no milk in the nipple and the baby can take a break from milk flow. It is ok if they briefly suck on the empty nipple.

  6. Make the feeding take 10-20 minutes. Switch from one side to the other halfway through feeding to mimic switching breasts.

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