Tips for bottle feeding

This Tip Will Help Your Bottle-Fed Baby

March 6, 2023

Whether you’re formula feeding baby, or introducing a bottle when breastfeeding, here’s an important tip from our expert, Rebecca from Birth and baby Hub, for your feeding journey.

Bottle feeding’s not just a matter of shoving a bottle into baby’s mouth and waiting till they’ve drained it (yep, that’s what I thought before I knew anything about babies)! 

Benefits of Paced Feeding

Have you heard of ‘paced feeding’? This is a method of feeding which has many benefits to baby (and to you). These benefits include: 

  • Encouraging baby to stop eating when they’re full (an important habit for adult life).
  • Prevents over-feeding.
  • A more responsive relationship between parent/carer and baby. 
  • Can reduce vomiting/spitting up and digestive discomfort. 
  • For breastfeeding parents it helps to complement a feed at the breast. 

The mechanism of a bottle teat means that it is possible to overfeed a baby with a bottle. Small babies have a natural reflex to suck when something’s put into their mouth, and even the slowest flow bottles will drip milk into the mouth. If we overfeed our babies, they’re more likely to vomit, spit up, experience digestive discomfort and it can disrupt the signals between tummy and brain to teach them when they’re full. 

What Is Paced Feeding?

So what is paced feeding? Well, thankfully it’s really very simple! Holding baby in your arms slightly upright, angle the bottle so that the teat is only partly full of milk. Contrary to what people may say, this will not give baby wind. 

Hold the teat against baby’s lips and even rub it against their top lip to encourage a wide, open mouth. 

As baby starts to drink, follow their cues. Most babies naturally pause during a feed (as we do). Allow them that pause. By holding that bottle at an angle, and observing baby, it means they won’t be glugging down too much milk. If they pause for a while, you can even remove the teat from their mouth and just hold it close while they rest their tummy. 

What If My Baby Doesn’t Finish The Bottle?

It can be easy to fall into the trap of expecting your baby to drink a certain amount of milk at each feed. Remember, just like we do, babies may vary their intake at each feed. Far more important than how many mls they drink at each feed, is their weight gain and their nappy output (by day 5 they should be having at least 5 heavy wet nappies and two poos in a 24-hour period). 

Many parents report paced feeding as helping them have a closer bond with their baby. Breastfeeding parents who choose to introduce a bottle feel that it closely mimics breastfeeding. So, if you are feeding baby with a bottle, or plan to, try paced feeding and enjoy the time spent close with your baby.

Rebecca  x

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