Have you heard of paced bottle feeding? This is a way of bottle feeding which you can do for any baby. However, for breastfed babies or babies who are primarily breastfed but have bottles when their mother is at work or for occasional times of separation, this can be a great way to avoid over-feeding and using more of your expressed milk than necessary.

By doing paced bottle feeding, you will help prevent your baby from being overfed and taking in more milk than they need. While it is not possible to overfeed a baby who is breastfeeding, you can overfeed with a bottle. This is because less energy is exerted when bottle feeding and is a more passive activity than breastfeeding. More milk can go in more quickly without a baby realizing they are full. It’s also important to prevent overfeeding if only one or two bottles are being given while the mother is out for a short time. This way the baby will be more likely to feed right when the mother returns and can help protect the breastfeeding relationship.

(If you’re looking for an alternative to bottle feeding you can try cup feeding. Info on this can be found by CLICKING HERE).

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Here are the important steps to take when doing paced feeding: 

1. Offer your baby a bottle when they show signs of hunger, not by following a set schedule. Try to watch your baby, not the clock.

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2.Have your baby sit in a more upright position rather than lying down flat on their back.

paced bottle feeding

3.Put the nipple to your baby’s lips and wait for them to show signs that they are interested.

4.Every few minutes take the bottle out of your baby’s mouth, sit them upright or put them over your shoulder and burp them for 30-60 seconds. This allows them a chance to get any air out and realise if they are full yet.

paced bottle feeding

5.Offer the bottle again by putting the nipple to your baby’s mouth and allowing them to show signs they do want to take it.

6.Once your baby has had enough (don’t force them to finish the bottle as they may not want the whole thing) then you can take the bottle out of your baby’s mouth and burp them again.

7.Try not to give baby a full bottle if you know the mother will be returning very soon. This way baby will be hungry and more likely to accept the breast when the mother returns.

paced bottle feeding

For a PDF version of this information, CLICK HERE.

*This information is adapted from La Leche League’s “Breastfeeding a bottle fed baby”.

Is your baby refusing a bottle? Watch my video on this topic here!