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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.”

What is 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.