What is paced bottle feeding?

Paced bottle feeding mimics the way babies breastfeed. It can be a good way of introducing bottle feeding, or of making your bottle feeds more baby-led.

Using this method also reduces the risk of digestive upset, and means less wind. And it helps your baby control their appetite and learn to recognise when they’re full.

A baby being fed with a bottle

Introducing paced bottle feeding

Paced bottle feeds puts your baby in control of the process. The first step is to wait for your baby’s hunger cues before starting a feed.

  • Start by sitting comfortably, and support your baby’s head so they can breathe and swallow easily. Gently brush the teat over your baby’s lips, waiting until their mouth opens.
  • Check your baby’s lips form a seal around the bottle teat. Their lips should touch the teat base, and should roll slightly outwards. This means less milk leaks from the teat and they take in less air.
  • Let your baby control the pace. They’ll take around 15-20 swallows, then pause and rest. When they’re full, they’ll turn their head away or spit out the teat.
  • Your baby may need a bit of encouragement to suck, for example if they’re sleepy, or are new to bottle feeding.
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