Paced bottle feeding… What is it? Is it good for your baby? To answer that we’ll need to define what it is first. A pace feeding strategy is when you let your BABY decide when it’s time to eat. This means that they aren’t going to be underfed or overfed and it’s actually quite an excellent strategy for your baby. So is it as simple as letting baby decide when the feedings are or is there more to it? In this article we will explore the ins and outs of pace baby feeding so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not this strategy is for you!
What is pace feeding and what does it entail?
Pace feeding is sort of a middle ground between bottle feeding and breast feeding. A slow flow bottle can help to make sure that your baby is eating slowly but surely (don’t use too much of a slow flow, however, to ensure your baby gets enough!). Done at baby’s own pace, your baby will let you know when to feed them and when they are full. It’s as easy as that! You will have to pump breast milk in advance, of course, but if you are balancing work and being a mommy as well then a paced bottle feeding might just be a perfect fit for you and your baby.
How does it simulate breastfeeding? Is there
more to this than baby’s cues?
Paced bottle feeding is a technique. There are things that you do in order to better simulate breastfeeding and to help to ensure that your baby is eating properly. When giving your baby a paced feeding be sure to do the following:
- Holding baby – Do not feed your baby the bottle while they are laying down. Rather, hold your baby in your arms just as if you were breastfeeding them. Occasionally switch sides, as this is good for your developing baby’s eyesight and prevents your baby from developing a ‘side preference’ that might be troublesome when you are actually breastfeeding them.
- Frequent pauses – This is a slow feeding and you will want to pause every now and again in order to make sure that your baby isn’t getting too much at once and has time to handle what they are getting.
- Time and quantity – Be sure to prepare in advance so that you have the recommended volume of milk ready to go. Also you will want to mimic the standard breastfeeding time of around 10 to 20 minutes. As with adults, it takes a certain amount of time for a baby to realize that they are full, so this can help to minimize overeating and the resulting gastric distress that can come with it.
- Introduction of the nipple – Gently rub baby’s lips with the bottle’s nipple so that they latch onto it, rather than having it pushed into their mouth. This helps to give your baby more control over when the feeding begins.
- Don’t be pushy – If your baby is getting tired or otherwise losing interest in the bottle but there is still a little left, don’t panic. Your baby knows how much they need and will get used to this type of feeding in time. If you are consistently seeing too much left in the bottle, however, then you may need to try a slightly faster-flow nipple as your baby may be working too hard with the current flow.
The benefits of paced bottle feeding
Aside from letting you ensure that baby is getting just the right amount of feedings and
” Pace feeding is a winning compromise in this regard”
balancing your job there are a number of benefits that come from a paced bottle feeding. The benefits to this strategy are as follows:
- Avoiding colic – By ensuring that your baby is making their own pace you can avoid colic from overfeeding.
- Baby knows what they need – This method of feeding is good for newborns and up. Your baby will eat what they need and you can prepare accordingly as their needs increase or decrease.
- Helps to transition to bottle-only feeding – Paced bottle feeding is a great way to move slowly to bottle-only feeding sessions. Simply put, you breastfeed your child part of the time, then pace feed, and slowly fade out the breastfeeding and bring in the formula at a pace that you and your baby are comfortable with.
- Maintains breastfeeding relationship – If you are not able to spend as much time as you would like with your child then it can be problematical when you are trying to breastfeed them. With the mixed approach of paced feeding your child is getting used to both the bottle and breastfeeding, so when there are breastfeeding-only sessions then they will likely be more productive than with a strategy that is primarily bottle feeding.
Does pace feeding cause gas? What are the downsides?
No, pace feeding should not cause gas (or at least, no more than usual!). As far as downsides, pace feeding is perfectly healthy and with baby deciding how much they eat it is actually quite an optimal solution. Of course, strictly breastfeeding is best, but not always realistic in our modern, fast-paced world. Pace feeding is a winning compromise in this regard, allowing you to give your child the breastfeeding experience while keeping things aligned with your work schedule.
In this article we have discussed the technique of pace feeding as a means of balancing your personal and professional life. By using these tips you can help to ensure that your baby is eating properly, after all, who knows better when they are hungry than your baby? While your little one might be resistant at first, give it a try, and within a week or two you can see firsthand how beneficial this technique can be for both you and your baby. You’ll both be happy that you did!