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Paced Bottle Feeding
As we know, breastfeeding is not just nourishment. The leisurely pace of breastfeeding allows a baby’s brain to realize his stomach is full before he is overfull.
Paced bottle feeding is designed to mimic the “conversation” of breastfeeding. This helps avoid overfeeding via bottle, and allows mom’s supply to keep up with the amount fed to baby via bottle.
Most breastfed babies eat 19-30oz in a 24 hour period. This amount easily meets the caloric needs of the vast majority of babies.
What Bottle is the Best?
You likely don’t need to spend a ton of money on bottles. Use a standard bottle and the slowest flow nipple (premie or size 1). Every mom/baby will tell you a different bottle that worked for them. Trial and error will tell you what works for your baby.
How Long Should it Take to Feed a Bottle?
It should take at least 5 minutes per ounce of breast milk, or about 15 minutes for a 3oz bottle.
How Much Milk?
1-1.5 Ounces per hour, on average.
Make bottles small to start, 2-3 ounces, to reduce milk waste. Bottle size should not typically exceed 5 ounces. Formula bottles are a lot bigger, so caregivers may be confused and recommend you make bigger bottles. Gently explain to them why this is not ideally. Giving them the tear sheets linked above might help!
Read this site for more details on how much milk to give:
When to Feed?
Feeding your baby on demand is the best way to meet baby’s needs- offer milk before the baby starts to cry and root. It takes several minutes to warm and prepare a bottle, so be ready to feed when baby is ready. Most babies eat at least every 2-3 hours.
Young babies will want to nurse to go to sleep. Train caregiver to recognize your baby’s sleep signals and to get them to sleep before they are overtired.
Here is more information on hunger cues: http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/hunger-cues/
How to Determine Feeding Schedule:
Can you nurse at drop off and pick up? Can you visit baby on your lunch break to nurse?
This will reduce your pumping needs and the amount of bottles required. Plan extra time to nurse.
Plan for first bottle to be given 2-3 hours after last feeding. And then every 2-4 hours after.
Let caregiver know what time to not feed after. Call ahead and let them know you are on the way and not to feed the next bottle, if necessary. You are in control of the feeding schedule!
Only leaving for a little bit? Nurse before you leave and as soon as you get back!
Do I Need to Practice?
Yes! But let your partner or other caregiver (grandparent, friend) feed the bottle when you are NOT in the room. Babies know when their mother is nearby and know they can nurse. Leave a soiled shirt that has your scent for use. Have caregiver put it over their shoulder.
Help! My baby won’t take a bottle!
Check out these tips to help your baby take a bottle or take expressed breastmilk from a cup or spoon.
Bottle feeding is a normal part of breastfeeding life for many moms and babies in the 21st century. Learning to properly pump and bottle feed can offer you the freedom to be away from your baby for a date night, to return to work or school, or for some much needed self care. Rest assured, you will figure it out and your baby will be taking a bottle in no time.