Many babies receive supplementary bottles during their breastfeeding journey. It has become a very common practice to hold a baby laying on their back while feeding, and also to provide a consistent and fast flow to the baby. However - we are finding that babies fed this way are eating too rapidly - leading to gulping, air intake, tummy upsets and also overfeeding!
Breastfeeding has a natural pace, one that supports the most comfortable method of feeding and also providing the amount of milk that the baby wants at any particular feeding. Paced bottle feeding is a method of feeding that mimics many of these aspects of breastfeeding - providing baby with milk at a slower pace, and also only the amount that they want. This type of feeding is good for all babies, no matter how they are ultimately fed. And, for the baby who is having trouble latching, paced feeding allows for an easier return to the breast once the source of the difficulty is determined.
For paced bottle feeding, we recommend:
A soft, gently tapered, slow flow nipple (one that adopts to the shape of the babies mouth an promotes a deeper “latch”). The newer (and often more expensive!) nipples with wide bases and short nipples often promote a shallow “latch”. This excellent blog post by Rachel O’Brien, IBCLC explains more about this very important topic.
Sit the baby upright, and hold the bottle horizontally. This allows for slower and calmer milk, and encourages baby to use their breastfeeding muscles - promoting oral development eve while a baby cannot breastfeed.
Here are excellent resoureces relating to paced bottle feeding:
Paced bottle feeding and bottle refusal are two more excellent reasons make an appointment with an IBCLC for help!