What is Paced Bottle Feeding?
As the name suggests, paced bottle feeding involves pacing feeding so that baby is in control and begins to recognise when he or she is satiated.
With this method, your child is going to drink a lot slower and will have to work a little harder to get the milk, just as he would with breastfeeding. By following baby’s cues, you’ll know when to feed, how much to feed and when to stop feeding.
Paced bottle feeding simulates breastfeeding. It also works for babies on formula who might suffer from colic and reflux. Plus, it’s an excellent way to get your partner involved with the feeding routine. Traditional bottle feeding can best be compared to, although not as extreme, force feeding your baby. It can lead to various problems including overfeeding, post feeding fussiness, and even obesity as they get older.
What are the benefits of paced feeding?
- It simulates breastfeeding so is much more reactive to the baby which is better for their digestion and their mental coordination.
- It reduces overfeeding and all the associated problems such as spit up, gassiness, discomfort, obesity and even Type 2 Diabetes.
- Reflux and indigestion are reduced.
How to Pace Bottle Feed
When we breastfeed babies, they have drinking and sucking time; the sucking or pacifier sucking time is so they can digest their food and let their brain and belly catch up with one another. It’s the same as when you put your fork down in between mouthfuls of food, which makes a whole lot of sense, doesn’t it? When you bottle feed the traditional way, baby pretty much guzzles the contents within a couple of minutes and still looks hungry afterward. This is because he hasn’t had a chance to digest his food and allow his brain and belly to meet up. Instead, he thinks he’s still hungry and overeats. Eventually, you’re left with a grumpy baby who has gas as well as post feeding discomfort, and even worse, acid reflux.
So, what is the correct technique? Well, it’s a style of feeding called ‘paced bottle feeding, and you can watch an excellent video here . Essentially, you are holding the baby and the bottle the opposite way around – baby upright, and bottle horizontal. Like this:
- Baby is held close to the parent
- Eye contact is maintained
- The tip of the bottle teat is full of milk, but the entire base of the teat does not need to be full
- The care-giver observes the baby for signs of stress, or that the baby needs to pause to breathe, swallow, or just enjoy hanging out
- The feed should take at least 10-15 minutes minimum, and the baby should be allowed to stop the feed when he is full, and not encouraged to finish the bottle