Becoming a parent means you join a special kind of club. It’s a club full of people all with the same goals: to raise happy, healthy and functional adults who will contribute to their community and society as a whole. However, each member has their own way of doing it.
Like feeding baby, there are those who swear by breastfeeding and others who decide on bottle feeding, for various reasons. Paced bottle feeding, however, is a combination of the two and works well for many new parents.
Paced Bottle Feeding
- What is Paced Bottle Feeding?
- What are the Benefits of Paced Bottle Feeding?
- How to Pace Bottle Feed
- When Should You Feed Baby?
- Do’s and Don’ts of Paced Bottle Feeding
- Signs Your Baby Can Be in Trouble
What is Paced Bottle Feeding?
As the name suggests, paced bottle feeding involves pacing feeding so that baby is in control and begins to recognize when he or she is satiated.
With this method, your child is going to drink a lot slower and will have to work a little harder to get the milk, just as he would with breastfeeding. By following baby’s cues, you’ll know when to feed, how much to feed and when to stop feeding.
Paced bottle feeding simulates breastfeeding and works well for moms who are returning to work but don’t want to forgo breastfeeding too soon.
It also works for babies on formula who might suffer from colic and reflux. Plus, it’s an excellent way to get your partner involved with the feeding routine, and if applicable, find a babysitter.
Traditional bottle feeding can best be compared to, although not as extreme, force feeding your baby. It can lead to various problems including overfeeding, post feeding fussiness, and even obesity later on.
What are the Benefits of Paced Bottle Feeding?
- Because it simulates breastfeeding, it’s easier to transition between the two for baby.
- It reduces overfeeding and all the associated problems such as spit up, gassiness, discomfort, obesity and even Type 2 Diabetes.
- Reduces reflux or indigestion for baby.
- It assists with social and emotional development.
- It stimulates hand-eye coordination.
How to Pace Bottle Feed
When we breastfeed babies, they have drinking and sucking time; the sucking or pacifier sucking time is so they can digest their food and let their brain and belly catch up with one another.
It’s the same as when you put your fork down in between mouthfuls of food, which makes a whole lot of sense, doesn’t it?
Tip of the Day
For years, there has been much debate over what type of bottle to use when feeding baby, but it turns out it’s more about the nipple. Make sure you are using a slow-flow one and also be aware of how you’re feeding.
When you bottle feed the traditional way, baby pretty much guzzles the contents within a couple of minutes and still looks hungry afterward. According to Kidspot, this is because he hasn’t had a chance to digest his food and allow his brain and belly to meet up.
Instead, he thinks he’s still hungry and overeats. Eventually, you’re left with a grumpy baby who has gas, post feeding discomfort, and even worse, acid reflux.
When Should You Feed Your Baby?
The simple answer? When they’re hungry. You can have a schedule in place for the sitter, but it should be a flexible one, say every two to three hours, according to Group Health Cooperative.
However, it’s important to recognize signs from your baby. These will include:
- Smacking of lips
- Sucking fists or anything else he gets his hands on
- Your baby turns with mouth wide open towards anything that touches his cheek
- Restless or agitated (“hangry” as we like to call it)
15 Do’s and Don’ts of Paced Bottle Feeding
- Remember to feed baby based on his or her cues. Even if there is a schedule in place, it needs to be flexible.
- Make sure you’re holding your baby in an upright position, almost sitting. If she’s lying flat, she has no control over the milk flow.
- Watch the angle you hold the bottle. It should be tilted only enough to keep milk in the nipple.
- Make sure baby gets enough resting time; take some time to burp him or rest the bottle on his lips.
- Change sides while feeding your baby, just like you would when breastfeeding. It mimics the behavior and also evens out eye stimulation for baby.
- Feeding time is also a time for bonding. Spend 10-20 minutes at a time, with breaks in between, talking to your baby, allowing them to dictate the pace.
- Make sure the nipple of the bottle is a slow-flow one . This indicates how quickly milk leaves the nipple; too fast will overwhelm your baby and lead to overfeeding or baby choking.
- Be consistent with the breastfeeding rhythm; your partner or sitter should allow pauses to mimic your let-down patterns. This way baby doesn’t guzzle and can alleviate “nipple confusion.”
- As you would do with breastfeeding, don’t force the bottle’s nipple into your baby’s mouth. Instead, try and encourage him to root and latch onto the nipple.
- Don’t try to get in as much food in as little time as possible.
- Never force your baby to drink more than he or she needs. If you’re worried about wasting milk, then heat up smaller amounts at a time. You can also find these breast milk storage bags to store those liquid gold.
- During the first 6 months, try not to feed your child with an unsterilized bottle.
- Don’t force your baby to finish what’s in the bottle by massaging his jaw or throat or trying to push the nipple in and around his mouth.
- A baby’s hands offer cues for hunger, relaxation and even stress, so don’t swaddle them or have them wrapped up while they’re feeding.
- In the same breath, don’t leave your baby holding or propping up his own bottle unless he’s able to do this. It can lead to ear infections and your child can choke.
7 Signs Your Baby Can Be in Trouble
We’ve established that paced bottle feeding makes sense and benefits babies as much as everyone else involved in the feeding process. However, it’s important to remember it’s still simulated and not as naturally controlled as breastfeeding.
Look out for any signs that baby is battling or having a hard time, these include:
- Baby suddenly stiffening his or her body
- Grimacing while feeding
- Baby’s lips turning blue
- Milk overflowing from baby’s mouth
- Baby flaring his nostrils
- Baby’s eyes opening wide for no reason
- Baby choking or gagging while drinking
If you notice any of the above, stop feeding your baby immediately and let them take a break. If you decide to continue, check the angle of the bottle, and also make sure your child is sitting upright.
Have You Tried Paced Bottle Feeding?
Becoming a parent is hard and knowing what to do all the time is much harder. Taking in all the advice can be overwhelming and leave you feeling as though you have no idea of what you’re doing. As a mom of four, I can tell you that paced bottle feeding could keep your baby from battling with reflux and digestive problems later.
How about you? If you want to share your stories about this, please post below and I would be happy to reply.