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Feeding Your Baby

Women & Infants Hospital supports breastfeeding because of the many health benefits it provides for both mother and baby.

Feeding Your Baby

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months. After the introduction of solid food, breastfeeding is recommended until the child is 12 months of age and may continue as long as both mother and baby desire. However, any time spent breastfeeding will benefit your baby.

Our goal is to assist all mothers and babies to feed in a comfortable and healthy way. We support women in meeting their goals for successful breastfeeding. We also assist women choosing to formula feed by providing safe formula preparation and bottle feeding information.

Contact Information

Have Questions?
Call the Warm Line at 1-800-711-7011


We provide new parents with a toll-free telephone support system. Staffed by professional nurses, offers helpful information regarding new baby, breastfeeding and postpartum issues.

Breastfeeding

With the right information, support, and practice, breastfeeding is comfortable and satisfying for mothers and babies.

As a Designated Baby-Friendly® USA Hospital, Women & Infants Hospital supports the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation that babies should be fed breast milk for their first year of life and into their second year. This information will help you get started and answer many frequently asked questions about breastfeeding. If you have other questions about breastfeeding, please call the nurses on our Warm Line at 1-800-711-7011, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They can provide advice and information, and make referrals to our lactation consultants if needed.

What will my milk be like?

The first milk, called colostrum, is very thick and sticky and may look like cloudy water or the color of butter. It has millions of living cells that protect against infection, and is easy to digest for a baby learning to nurse. Your baby's stomach is about the size of his or her fist, so each feeding will only be about a teaspoon the first day and about a tablespoon the second day.

Your breasts will feel heavier and fuller by day three or four as your milk changes to mature milk. There will be more milk. This looks like skim milk and provides all the nutrients your baby needs for the first six months of life. This is all your newborn needs in the first days after birth.

When do I feed my baby?

Feed your baby on cue, at least eight to 12 times in each 24 hour period. Remember the phrase "8 or more in 24." Look for these signs that he or she is ready to nurse:

  • Eyelids fluttering.
  • Restless.
  • Bringing hand to mouth, sucking motions.

Crying is a late sign of hunger. A crying baby needs to be calmed before feeding. To calm your baby, do skin-to-skin. Let your baby suckle on your clean finger with your fingernail touching his or her tongue. Stroke your baby. Talk to him or her. Swaddle or rock the baby.

Preview the feeding cues for preterm and full term infants.

How can I get my partner involved in breastfeeding?

Having a new baby can be as overwhelming for dads and partners as it can be for moms. They often wonder how they can help. Dad/partner can:

  • Do skin-to-skin with the baby. It is a nice way to calm the baby and allow the baby to learn dad/partner's scent and touch.
  • Hold the baby when he or she cries, change the diaper and bring the baby to you to nurse.
  • Talk to the baby so he or she gets to know their voice.
  • Massage/bathe/dress/change the baby.
Baby Café

Help is available on all aspects of breastfeeding and its impact on daily life – from starting to stopping and all the variations in between. Baby Café drop-ins are run by a range of staff including health professionals such as board certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs), midwives, and nurses, and other qualified and accredited breastfeeding counselors.

All pregnant or breastfeeding moms are welcome to drop in at any time during open hours. The Baby Café is open most Thursday mornings from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and is located at the Scalabrini Dukcevich Center, 300 Laurel Hill Ave., Providence, RI 02909.

For more information call (401) 632-4770, email RIBreastfeedinginfo@gmail.com and join their Facebook page for updates and information.

Women & Infants WIC Program
Women & Infants provides lactation support for all WIC-eligible mothers, call (401) 274-1122, ext. 42791. In addition, we provide both prenatal and postpartum breastfeeding support for all WIC-eligible participants. Support is provided in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

How to Breastfeed

The following playlist can help guide you through the many steps of breastfeeding. You can watch the complete playlist, or select a topic such as side lay holding, skin to skin, or clutch holding. If you have questions after previewing the videos, ask your nurse or call the Warm Line at 1-800-711-7011.

Start The Playlist

Breastfeeding FAQs

How do I bring my baby to my breast?

When your baby bobs his or her head on your chest and starts moving toward the nipple, ease him or her down to face the breast. Support his or her buttocks with your elbow while your forearm supports the back and the palm of your hand supports the shoulders. Make sure the web between your thumb and first finger is at the nape of the baby's neck; your thumb is on one side of head and one or the rest of your fingers support the other side of the head. Notice that the baby's ear, shoulder and hip are in a straight line and the legs are curled around your waist. Your arm should support the baby's weight and a pillow can support your arm. Your other hand supports the breast with your fingers far away from the areola (the darker part of the breast). This is called the "cross cradle hold." If it is hard to support the breast, try putting a rolled facecloth under the breast.

Some mothers prefer the "clutch" or "football hold," a nice position for babies who weigh more than eight pounds. Bring the baby's hip to your hip with your elbow supporting the other hip and your arm supporting his or her side. The palm of your hand supports the shoulders. The web between your thumb and first finger is at the nape of the baby's neck, thumb on one side of head and one or the rest of the fingers supporting the other side of his or her head. Your arm supports the baby's weight and a pillow can support your arm. Your other hand supports the breast with your fingers away from the areola (the darker part of the breast). If it is hard to support the breast, try putting a rolled facecloth under the breast.

How can I help my baby latch on?

Support the baby's head and tilt it back slightly. Brush the bottom lip with the tip of your nipple to make the baby open wide as a yawn. With the baby's chin lifted and leading the latch, nose in line with your nipple, bring the baby to your breast. The chin will touch first and be deep into the breast with the nose not quite touching. Notice that the baby's neck is straight, making it easy for baby to swallow. A swallow sounds like an "ah" or a little puff of air. When the baby is latched well, you will hear a few swallows of colostrum. When your milk changes to mature milk (about day three or four), you will hear a swallow with about every four to five suckles. Keep the baby close to you, supporting the shoulders and back and bracing the buttocks against your side.

When your baby is latched well, it feels like a tug or a pull, but never painful. If there is any pinching or pain, be sure the baby's lips are rolled out and bring the baby closer to your body. If this does not help, re-latch. Most of the time if it hurts, it has something to do with positioning. Ask your nurse for help or once you go home, call the Warm Line at 1-800-711-7011 for help from a nurse or lactation consultant.

If the baby is not latched in five minutes, stop. You can hand express in the first 24 hours. If your baby is more than 24 hours old, pump. Keeping the baby skin-to-skin, you can feed him or her the expressed breast milk.

How long should my baby nurse/breastfeed?

Let the baby nurse as long as he or she is actively sucking and swallowing. You can watch the jaw move all the way to the ear and hear soft puffs of air. When the swallowing slows, massage your breast to move more milk into the baby's mouth and bring baby closer to you with the palm of your hand. When the swallowing stops, slide your little finger into the baby's mouth to release the suction and protect your nipple. Your nipple should have the same shape (gumdrop) as before the feeding. If it looks creased, like a used lipstick, be sure the baby opens wide and takes in more breast tissue at the next feeding. Breastfed babies take less air, so you only have to burp your baby for a few minutes. Offer the second breast if baby is still awake and showing feeding cues.

Babies will take about one to three teaspoons of the first milk, colostrum, at any one feeding in the first days. Feedings last about 10 to 20 minutes. It is healthy for your baby to nurse every 90 minutes to three hours from the beginning of the last nursing. But, since breast milk is more easily digested, feed your baby on cue rather than by the clock or a schedule.

How do I know if my baby is eating enough?

Wet diapers and stools are one of the ways you can tell if your baby is taking in enough breast milk. A Breastfeeding Log English/ Breast Feeding Log Spanish can help you keep track in the first busy days. Keep track of the color of the baby's stool, which will change in the first four days. This is another way to know your baby is taking in enough. Count any stool that looks like a tablespoon or more. Bring the log to the first pediatric visit or lactation consultation.

Weight gain is the best way to tell if your baby is getting enough. It is normal for babies to lose about 7 to 8 percent of their weight in the first five days and return to birth weight by 10 to 14 days. You will establish a milk supply for baby in the first three weeks. The more the baby eats, the more your body produces. That is why we and the American Academy of Pediatrics advise you to exclusively breastfeed your baby, avoiding formula, bottles and pacifiers in the first three to four weeks if all is going well. Then your supply will meet your baby's needs as long as you choose to nurse.

What can I do if my nipples are sore?

  • Have your nurse help you with positioning the baby; if you are at home, call the Warm Line at 1-800-711-7011.
  • Pump and feed the baby if nursing hurts after one minute.
  • Hand express a few drops of milk, rub into the nipple and allow to air dry to help healing.
  • Dip a facecloth or sponge in a mix of one quarter teaspoon of salt and one cup of lukewarm water. Put on your nipples for 10 to 15 minutes, three to four times a day until healed.
  • Try wearing a soft nursing pad inside your bra or wearing soft, loose clothing. Be sure to change pads after each feeding to prevent infection.
  • Try using breast shells, which are plastic, dome-shaped pieces with the large ring backing to prevent any rubbing and air holes to promote healing; center the shell over the nipple and your bra holds it in place; wear between feedings during the day.

What is engorgement, and what can I do for it?

When your milk changes to mature milk, your breasts may feel very full and firm. If the baby cannot latch and/or you have pain, you can:

  • Put ice packs wrapped in a clean cloth (bags of frozen peas or corn work well) on your breasts for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Massage breasts to help the milk start to drip.
  • Hand express milk to soften the areola (dark part) of the nipple.
  • Put warm cloths on your breasts for five to 10 minutes if you do not see a drop of milk, and massage again.
  • Nurse every one to three hours.
  • Take pain medication as prescribed by your care provider.

You can also try a technique called "reverse pressure softening" to reduce swelling of the areola. This briefly moves the swelling backward into your breast and helps the nipple soften and go deeper into the baby's mouth during breastfeeding. This technique should never cause you pain.

To do reverse pressure softening, you should:

  • Curve your fingers.
  • Press inward toward the chest and count slowly to 50.
  • Keep the pressure firm but not enough to cause pain.
  • If you'd like, someone else can help, using thumbs.
  • If breasts are large or very swollen, lie on your back to do this.

Do this right before every feeding. It may take two to four days before your breasts feel comfortable. Make pumping sessions short. 

What if I can't express milk by hand?

If your breasts are heavy and hard and your nipples are flattened out, you might be unable to express milk by hand.

  • Apply ice packs to breasts for 10 to 15 minutes, then apply warm compresses for 10 minutes.
  • Try expressing milk by hand by placing the soft pad of your thumb about 1½ to two inches above your nipple and the soft pad of your first finger 1½ to two inches below your nipple. Press your fingertips directly back toward your chest wall without stretching the skin. Now press your fingertips together behind the nipple and press forward to express drops of milk. Do not pull the breast tissue forward. The drops that come out may encourage your baby to latch, or you may need to use a pump.
  • Expressing milk can also soften the areola and help the milk let-down.
  • After feeding, you can apply an ice pack or pump additional milk to reduce your pain.

Do I need to use a pump?

If your baby is nursing enough to make the breasts soft, you do not need to pump. However, you may need to remove breast milk if:

  • Your baby only takes one breast, and the other is getting engorged.
  • Your areola needs to be softened so your baby can latch when your breasts are too full.
  • You can't latch your baby for two consecutive feedings or for six hours after the first 24 hours of life.
  • You are going out for a few hours or are going to be separated from your baby for a feeding.
  • You are returning to work or school.

We recommend that you wait three weeks before giving your baby a bottle if breastfeeding is going well. There are many ways to feed breastfeeding babies without using bottles and rubber nipples. If you have questions, ask your nurse or call the Warm Line at 1-800-711-7011.

How do I store breast milk?

If your baby is healthy, follow these instructions for pumping and storing your breast milk at home:

  • Use plastic bags, plastic bottles, glass bottles or containers.
  • Clean all containers and use covers or seal the bags.
  • Date each container so the oldest milk will be used first.
  • Freeze a small amount (two to four ounces) at a time so it will thaw and warm up faster and less will be wasted.
  • Do not touch the inside of the container and always seal it well.
  • If you are using plastic nurser bags, make sure it is a bag that can be frozen, use a twist tie to seal the bag, double the bag, and store it in an airtight container.
  • Store the containers inside the refrigerator or freezer, not on the door, to maintain a constant temperature.
  • Thaw frozen milk under running warm water, in a bowl of warm water, or overnight in the refrigerator, gently shaking the milk to mix the layers.
  • NEVER warm breast milk on the stove or in the microwave.
  • NEVER add cooled milk to previously frozen milk.
  • Do not freeze in glass.

Breastfeeding Record Log

Use the Breastfeeding Log when you breastfeed and when your baby needs a diaper change during the first week. This will help you keep track of how well your baby is breastfeeding.

  1. Note the time when your baby starts each breastfeeding.
  2. Note the time when your baby has a bowel movement.
  3. Note the time when your baby has a wet diaper.

It is okay if your baby has more wet diapers or more bowel movements than the goal for the day. You can write in additional W or BMs. If your baby has fewer wet diapers or bowel movements than the goal for that day, call your breastfeeding helper or the baby's health care provider.

Expect a BM to be at least the size of a tablespoon. Diapers should be very obviously wet by day two or three.

Breastfeeding Log English
Breastfeeding Log Spanish

Feeding Frequency

  • Hold your baby skin-to-skin as much as possible. This calms a fussy baby, wakens a sleepy baby and helps you see a baby's early feeding cues (wiggling while asleep, fluttering eyelids, bringing hands to mouth, or sucking on hands). Crying is a late cue and baby needs to be calmed first.
  • Feed on cue, eight to 12 times in 24 hours. Your baby may feed several times in a row and then sleep for a stretch of time. Practice makes perfect for both moms and babies!

Position

  • Your baby's body should be completely facing you with your baby's ear, shoulder, and hip in a straight line.
  • Hold skin-to-skin, chest to breast, your baby's chin lifted, leading latch, nose in line with your nipple.
  • Keep your baby close to you, supporting the shoulders and back. Brace your baby's hips close against your body.
  • If there is any pinching or pain, bring your baby closer to your body. If this is not better, re-latch for optimal comfort. If your baby does not latch comfortably in the first few tries or gets fussy, return to skin-to-skin holding. If unable to latch, hand express, pump, and feed the baby expressed breast milk. Use formula if necessary.

Latch

  • Mouth wide open.
  • Tongue over the gum line.
  • Lips rolled out.
  • Comfortable and feeling like a tug, a pull or a draw.

Duration

  • Allow your baby to finish the first side then offer the second. Your baby may only nurse on one side.
  • Massage and compress the breast during feeding to increase milk flow.
  • Listen for frequent swallows.

Monitor Output

Keep track of how many wet/dirty diapers your baby has in the breastfeeding log.

Nipple and Breast Care

  • Massage and hand express.
  • Apply expressed breast milk to your nipple and areola. Let air dry.
  • Expose to air for 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Wear shells as instructed. Do not use while sleeping.
  • Use Lansinoh three times a day sparingly on damaged skin only.
  • Use salt water solution after feeding if needed. Rinse and pat dry. Apply expressed breast milk.
  • Use reverse pressure to lessen any areolar swelling.

Frequency of Pumping

  • Apply warm compress, massage, and hand express before pumping to increase milk flow.
  • Pump eight to ten times every 24 hours.
  • Double pump 12 to 15 minutes or single pump 15 minutes on each side.

What to Eat While Breastfeeding

There are no strict rules about what you should and should not eat while breastfeeding. Eating foods you normally enjoy is the best approach. Eat as well as you can. 

Healthy Suggestions

  • Eat frequent small meals and snacks (every three to four hours).
  • Eat foods high in protein, calcium and fiber.
  • Drink enough fluids to keep the color of your urine pale yellow. Drinking water and other fluids will keep you hydrated, but it will not increase your milk supply. The only way to increase your milk supply is to take more milk from your breasts each day by either breastfeeding more often or by expressing milk by hand or pump.
  • Continue taking your prenatal vitamins.
  • Enjoy all foods in moderation.

Healthy Snack Ideas

  • Raw veggies with yogurt dip.
  • Bagel with cream cheese.
  • Low-fat frozen yogurt.
  • Fresh fruit.
  • Low-fat yogurt.
  • Low-fat string cheese.
  • Tuna sandwich.
  • Hard boiled eggs.
  • Low-fat milk and cereal.
  • Dried fruit and nuts.
  • Fresh fruit milk shakes (smoothies).
  • Peanut butter on whole grain bread or celery sticks.

It is safe to lose one to two pounds per week while breastfeeding, but it is best to give your body six weeks to recover from birth before actively trying to lose weight. Talk to your health care provider before starting an exercise or weight-loss program.

Foods to Avoid

  • There are some "old wives tales" about foods you shouldn't eat while breastfeeding. In truth, most foods are fine as long as you eat them in moderate amounts. Your baby has already tasted your diet by "drinking" amniotic fluid while in the womb.
  • A few babies may be sensitive to a certain food you eat. If you think your diet is making the baby fussy, call the Warm Line 1-800-711-7011 for advice.
  • Caffeinated drinks, in moderation, are safe, but more than five 5-ounce cups of coffee a day may make your baby keep awake and fussy.
  • Once you have finished your pain medication, you may have one glass of wine or beer on occasion. Nurse your baby, then have an alcoholic drink with a meal. You will be able to nurse two to three hours later.
  • Enjoy chocolate in moderate amounts.
  • The Rhode Island Department of Health advises breastfeeding mothers eat no more than six ounces of light tuna (canned or fresh) each week. In addition, you should also avoid swordfish, shark, bluefish, striped bass, and freshwater fish caught in Rhode Island waters (except stocked trout).

Where to Get Help

Women & Infants' Warm Line 1-800-711-7011

The Warm Line is a free service you can call to ask questions about yourself or your baby. Leave your message, name and phone number and an experienced nurse/lactation consultant will call you back within an hour. The Warm Line is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 pm.

Inpatient Breastfeeding Support Services

Lactation consultations are available while you are in the hospital when you are referred by your nurse or health care provider.

Outpatient Lactation Consultation

Call the Warm Line 1-800-711-7011 for visits with a lactation consultant after you go home. Please check with your insurance provider to see if this service is covered.

New Mom's Groups

This postpartum support group is free and no registration is needed. Take advantage of helpful hints and support from other mothers. Call Health Education (401) 276-7800 for more information.

La Leche League

Education and support are available through volunteers, materials and meetings. For a list of contacts and meetings in your area, call the Warm Line 1-800-711-7011.

Nursing Moms, Etc.

This unique store located in the hospital rents and sells Ameda or Medela breast pumps. The store also sells Medela nursing bras, books, videos, nursing pillows and slings, as well as other products. The store is open Sunday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. For more information, call (401) 274-1122, ext. 43149 and 43151.

Breastfeeding Support Services

As more women become aware of breast milk's many unique qualities, more are choosing to breastfeed their babies. Although breastfeeding is the "natural" way to feed a baby, it is a skill that the new mother and baby learn in the first days and weeks after birth. To assist in this learning process, Breastfeeding Support Services offer families the expertise of lactation consultants in a variety of settings:

Breastfeeding Classes

Our breastfeeding classes cover the benefits of breastfeeding, proper positioning and attachment, feeding frequency and duration, signs of adequate breast milk intake, and avoiding and managing common problems. To register, call (401) 276-7800 or register online.

Inpatient Lactation Consultation and Breastfeeding Support

Certified lactation consultants are available during your hospital stay to provide support for those families who are experiencing breastfeeding difficulties. Speak with your nurse to arrange a visit with a lactation consultant.

Outpatient Lactation Consultation

Families having difficulty with breastfeeding after they go home may return to Women & Infants to meet privately with a lactation consultant. Appointments are made through the Warm Line at 1-800-711-7011. There is a charge for the visit, however, some medical insurers will cover the cost of the visit.

Breastfeeding Support Group

In order to provide additional help once breastfeeding moms go home after delivery, Women & Infants offers a weekly Breastfeeding Support Group. Please bring your baby's birth date, birth weight and weight at discharge. Call the Warm Line 1-800-711-7011 for more information.

Warm Line Support 1-800-711-7011

Staffed by nurses and lactation consultants, the Warm Line is here to answer questions and concerns you may have regarding you and your baby.

Warm Line hours of operations: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nursing Moms, Etc.: A Specialty Shop for Breastfeeding Mothers

Nursing Moms, Etc. offers both supplies and gifts to meet the needs of breastfeeding mothers and their infants. Located on the first floor of the hospital, Nursing Moms, Etc., has Medela and Ameda breast pumps for rental or purchase as well as a wide range of new mom and newborn supplies. To reach the store call (401) 453-7940 or (401) 274-1122, ext. 41749, or stop by before or during your hospital stay. Nursing Moms, Etc. is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays until 8 p.m., and Sundays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Healthy Baby Essentials

Thinking of ordering a breast pump? Healthy Baby Essentials is working with Women & Infants Hospital to provide you with a new breast pump. Breast pumps are now usually covered with no copay or deductible, but please check with your insurance provider. 

To order your pump, please fill out one of these forms.

Email a photo of the completed form to referrals@healthybabyessentials.com or fax it to 1 (508) 404-1761. For further assistance, you can call Healthy Baby Essentials at 1 (888) 495-7491. 

You may also submit your order online at Healthybabyessentials.com. To ensure you receive your breast pump before your baby arrives, please submit your completed order form to Healthy Baby Essentials about one month prior to your due date.

Bottle Feeding

At Women & Infants Hospital, our goal is to help and support new mothers. If a new mother cannot or chooses not to breastfeed, we will make sure she feels confident about safe formula feeding before leaving the hospital. Helpful hints for bottle feeding:

  • Always hold your baby while feeding. Babies need and love to be cuddled.
  • Do not prop up the bottle. It can cause choking.
  • Look at and talk to your baby while feeding him or her. This helps form a special bond.
  • Ask your baby's health care provider before switching brands of formula.
  • Follow your baby’s signs of being hungry and full to know when and how much to feed.

Safe Formula Preparation Guidelines

Clean and Sterilize

Sterilize bottles and nipples before using them for the first time. Recommendations vary for how often you should sterilize them after the initial use. Check with your baby's health care provider for guidelines. If you use a dishwasher, sterilizing is not necessary. If you are washing bottles and nipples by hand, use hot soapy water and rinse well. Turn them upside down to dry. Before you begin to prepare the bottles, clean the work area and your hands.
Why? Cleaning and sterilizing kills harmful bacteria on equipment that may grow in the formula once it is prepared.

Use water within 30 minutes after boiling

Water to be mixed with powdered infant formula must first be boiled for two to three minutes. Do not use water that has sat for longer than 30 minutes after boiling.
Why? A boiling temperature will kill harmful bacteria that may be present in powdered formula.

Formula mixing instructions

Formula comes in three forms: powder, concentrate and ready-to-use. Carefully follow instructions on the formula can. For powder, use the scoop that comes in the formula can. Measure the amount of water exactly. For liquid concentrate, poor the needed amount in a clean bottle using ounce markers on the bottle. Measure the amount of water exactly.
Why? Using too much or not enough water can make your baby sick.

Cool quickly and feed immediately

Once a bottle is prepared, quickly cool to feeding temperature and feed your baby immediately.
Why? The longer a prepared bottle is kept after it is prepared, the greater the chance that harmful bacteria will grow in it.

Refrigerate prepared bottles you want to use later

If you need to store prepared bottles for use later, put them in the refrigerator (41º F or less). To heat refrigerated formula, put the bottle in a container of warm water. DO NOT MICROWAVE.
Why? Low temperatures (41ºF or less) will slow down or stop the growth of harmful bacteria.

Throw out leftovers

Throw out prepared formula that has not been consumed within two hours. Throw out refrigerated formula that has not been used within 24 hours.
Why? The longer formula is kept after it is prepared, the greater the chance that harmful bacteria will grow in it. Storing prepared bottles in the refrigerator means that you can store them for a little bit longer.

What is paced bottle feeding?

Like many things, learning to bottle feed is new to you and your baby. We recommend that you help your baby learn to feed by teaching him/her “paced bottle feeding.”

In paced bottle feeding, the parent controls the flow of milk. This allows your baby to drink at a comfortable rate and helps prevent overfeeding.

How to pace bottle feed:

  • Hold you baby in an upright position, supporting her head and neck with your hand.
  • Use a wide-based, slow-flow nipple.
  • Touch the baby’s upper lip with the bottle nipple.
  • Gently allow baby to pull the nipple into her mouth. Do not force the nipple into baby’s mouth.
  • Keep the bottle horizontal so the nipple is partially full. This will slow the flow of milk. It is not necessary to keep the nipple full of milk.
  • Count your baby’s sucks and swallows. If your baby does not take a breath by the third to fifth suck, remove the bottle and take a three to five second pause to let her breathe.
  • Often baby will swallow, then breathe, and then open her mouth. This shows she is ready to begin feeding again.
  • Switch sides halfway through the feeding.
  • The feeding should last 10 to 20 minutes.

Remove the bottle if your baby shows any of these “take a break” signs:

  • Milk spilling from her mouth.
  • Opening eyes widely.
  • Stiffening of arms and legs.
  • Flaring nostrils.
  • Grimacing.
  • Lips turning blue.

Watch for these cues that suggest your baby is satisfied:

  • Falling asleep.
  • Turning head aside.
  • No longer sucking.
  • Letting go of the nipple.

Discard any milk your baby does not finish.