Paced Bottle Feeding For The Breastfed Baby

Paced bottle feeding is a method of bottle feeding that is designed to mimic breastfeeding. There are many reasons families might decide to try it.

Some mothers find that when they return to work and their babies are receiving breastmilk or formula from a bottle in childcare, their babies become less interested in breastfeeding at home and some may even refuse the breast.

Many mothers also find that childcare providers are quickly going through the pumped milk they bring to childcare and end up supplementing with formula because their babies seem to want to take more milk at daycare than they can pump at work. Increasing the effectiveness of pumping sessions using hands-on pumping may help. Asking the childcare provider to use paced bottle feeding, and to offer at most 3 ounces every 2-3 hours may help as well.

A 2012 study showed that babies who are exclusively bottle fed, regardless of whether they are fed formula, breastmilk or some of each, tend to gain more weight during the first year than their exclusively at-breast fed peers. It is often easy to encourage a baby to take more milk at a feeding with a bottle than it is at the breast, and bottle feeding babies may be learning to interpret the slightly over-full feeding they get from bottle feeding as normal fullness. Paced bottle feeding may help prevent this for babies who receive many, most or all of their feedings from a bottle.

I learned this technique in a workshop session given by Leanna Moore Watson, IBCLC.

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