Paced bottle feeding
When your baby is bottle feeding it’s important to control how fast your baby drinks. This is called paced bottle feeding.
This method allows your baby to drink at a comfortable pace and helps prevent choking and overfeeding.
- Hold your baby in an upright position, supporting the head and neck with your hand.
- Feed your baby skin-to-skin if possible.
- Use a wide-based, slow-flow bottle nipple.
- Touch your baby’s upper lip with the bottle nipple, to encourage your baby to open their mouth wide.
- Gently allow your baby to pull the nipple into their mouth. Do not force the nipple into baby’s mouth.
- Keep the bottle horizontal so that the nipple is partially full. This will slow the flow of milk.
- You may have been told to keep the nipple full of milk while feeding to avoid your baby swallowing air. You don’t need to worry, all babies swallow air while feeding.
Remove the bottle if your baby is:
- Swallowing quickly without taking a breath after each swallow.
- Spilling milk from their mouth.
- Opening eyes widely.
- Stiffening of arms and legs.
- Flaring nostrils.
- Has lips that are turning blue.
Count your baby’s sucks and swallows. If your baby doesn’t take a breath every 3 to 5 sucks, remove the bottle and take a 5 second pause to let your baby breathe.
Your baby may suck harder when you try to take the nipple from their mouth, even though they need a breath.
Often your baby will swallow, then breathe, and then open their mouth. This shows you they are ready to begin feeding again.
You can change position when bottle feeding. This will help ensure your baby doesn’t develop a preference for the left or right side when feeding.
Never prop a bottle in your baby’s mouth as it can cause choking. It can also lead to tooth decay or give your baby too much or too little milk.
Watch our paced bottle feeding video.
Burping your baby
Burping your baby helps release air that is swallowed during feeding. Burping can be done about halfway through a feeding or when your baby shows signs.
Signs of needing to burp:
- arching the back
- getting cranky or fussy
- pulling or bending legs
- pulling away from the bottle