Paced bottle feeding is a bottle feeding technique that mimics breastfeeding. I first heard about this technique from an IBCLC (Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant) coleague of mine (Flossie) in the US. It's a great tool to use when you are going back to work and you will be expressing your milk. Many times women have spoken to me about going back to work and not being able to express enough milk to leave with the carer. Often times carers are not used to caring for a breastfed baby and so these tips on bottle feeding like breastfeeding so that they can provide the level of care that is best for baby and your milk supply.
Breastfeeding and breastmilk are the normal ways to feed a baby and provide many benefits such as -
- Baby can control the flow of milk and length of the feed.
- Baby can take pauses during a feed just as we do.
- Baby is held close.
- Baby switches sides which helps with eye development.
We've all seen bottle feeding in the movies and on tv or when we are out and about. Usually baby is laying down with the bottle sticking upright out of their mouths. Bottles are designed to drip milk whether they are being sucked or not, so if you hold a bottle upside down you'll see the milk drip out all by itself. So, when a baby is being bottle fed as described above with an upright bottle they need to swallow the milk at all times and cannot take pauses. Bottle fed babies are also encouraged to finish the bottle (it's expensive stuff!). We can now see why a bottle fed baby will gain weight at a higher rate than a breastfed baby and possibly why studies have shown that formula fed babies have a higher risk of obesity in adolescence and adult life.
Paced Bottle Feeding
- A straight edged bottle is best for paced bottle feeding. When you hold the bottle horizontally you do not want the milk to pool in hand grips and bulges and not be able to reach the nipple/teat.
- A breastfed baby takes about 2-3oz per feed, so start with small amounts. If you freeze your milk in small amounts you will not waste as much. If you give the carer a few 1oz portions for emergencies then they can be easily defrosted and if they are wasted then it's not a huge amount.
- Snuggle baby close to you sitting facing your right or left side (you might find it easier for someone else to bottle feed your baby as it will be a little confusing for baby if you are there but they can't have milk direct from the source).
- Invite baby to latch to the nipple/teat with a wide open mouth just as they would when breastfeeding. This encourages a good latch at all times and is respectful of the baby. Noone wants a bottle forced into their mouth.
- Hold the bottle horizontally so that the milk isn't using gravity to flow out of the bottle.
- Let baby feed. Allow pauses and breaks just as baby would during breastfeeding. These pauses allow baby to listen to signals from their body telling them if they are hungry or full.
- Switch sides each feed or halfway through a feed if you decide to burp baby. This will help baby's eye development and reduce the possibility of side preference.
If you are going back to work soon and you are wondering what to dress your baby in for "school", then consider these adorable infant T-shirts with witty breastfeeding slogans from Lactivist. They are available in sizes 3mo-18mo in 100% organic cotton from BoobieMilk. Help promote breastfeeding initiation and duration in your own way with these adorable infant T-shirts at BoobieMilk for only £12 each.