Even during the early stages of pregnancy, the decision as to which feeding method you’re looking at using for your new-born can become a matter of debate!
With so many discussions surrounding bottle or breast, it can be a somewhat pressured subject. This is especially true if you’re yet undecided and waiting until your baby is born to make that final decision.
Whatever you decide should be the most comfortable for you and your baby. However, one method of feeding which you may not yet have heard about is that of paced bottle feeding.
What is Paced Feeding?
Paced bottle feeding is merely a technique whereby you pace your baby’s feed, with the intentions of encouraging them to take control. This will then, in time, result in your baby beginning to communicate to you when they’re full.
However, though it means feeding your baby solely with a bottle, there are elements of breastfeeding involved with this method. Just as a baby would do so when being breastfed, the paced feeding method encourages a slower drinking method, therefore, making the baby work harder to get the flow of milk.
Overall, what the paced feeding method encourages is a bond whereby you learn to follow your baby’s cues when it comes to feeding. This allows them to show you how much to feed, when to feed, and finally when to stop with the feed.
What’s Involved in The Paced Feeding Method?
Paced feeding isn’t a complicated method. But, before you start using this technique for your baby’s bottle feeds, there are a few suggestions which will help you and your baby adapt more quickly and smoothly to the method.
These tips can also be applied by anybody else who is responsible for feeding your baby:
- Offer your baby a feed based on a sign that they’re hungry
- Hold your baby upright and keep them in this position throughout the entire process. Never be tempted to lay your baby down to feed them. The correct position should resemble a sitting posture, allowing them to have the control over the flow of milk.
- Make sure you hold your baby’s bottle at a comfortable tilt. This should be just angled enough to keep the flow of milk in the teat. Then, gently encourage your baby to latch on, without forcing the teat into their mouth.
- At regular intervals, allow your baby to rest using this time to wind them, or merely relax the bottle near their lips.
- Ensure that your bottle teat is one with a slow flow. The idea here is to mimic feeding at the breast, but this can’t happen if the flow is too fast and overwhelming for your baby.
- During this feeding session, use it as a dedicated time to bond with your baby. All feeding times are a great time to make eye contact and begin a conversation with them.
- Get into the habit during these paced bottle feeds of switching sides, mimicking what you would do if you were breastfeeding.
- Finally, don’t ever be tempted to leave your baby unattended during these feeds.
What Are the Benefits to Pacing Bottle Feeds?
Though it may seem to some that paced bottle feeding merely is a compromise between the best of both bottle and breast, there are several other benefits linked to using this method, including:
- A greater reduction of indigestion, gassiness, and reflux
- Fewer chances of overfeeding
- More comforting feed times for both you and your baby
- An increase in their social development skills and emotional development
- Stimulation of your baby’s hand and eye co-ordination
How Do I know When My Baby Needs a Paced Bottle Feed?
A significant part of paced bottle feeding involves feeding on cue. Many health experts now realize the numerous advantages of feeding a baby when they’re hungry, rather than encouraging them to take a feed at regular set intervals.
All babies will need a feed when they show signs of hunger, and this is no different whether they are breastfed or bottle fed. Usually, in the very early days of your new-borns life, they will tend to feed around every couple of hours.
However, to recognize such cues, you’ll need to take note of the signs your own baby shows when he or she is hungry.
Try to get into a habit of picking up on such signs that they exhibit before these feeds are due. This is easier than it sounds as most babies will tend to display specific indications such as:
- Agitation or restlessness
- Sucking of fingers and fists or anything else within their reach!
- A smacking gesture of the lips
- Turning their mouth towards you when you brush against their cheek
By watching your baby and looking out for such signs, you’ll be able to pick up on their tendency to gesture when hungry, meaning you’ll soon become accustomed to when it’s about time for their next feed!
Where Can I Find Out More About Paced Bottle Feeding?
If you’re interested in trying out the paced bottle feeding method, one of the best ways to begin is by searching for paced bottle feeding YouTube videos. This way, you can see the method in action and get some practical tips from those who are more experienced with the technique.
Best of all, by doing a bit of research in this way, you can view for yourself the recommended positioning for both you and your baby, alongside the correct way to hold the bottle to get the most from this method.
Whether you’re interested in trying this alongside regular bottle feeding, in between bouts of breastfeeding or even as the sole means of feeding your new-born, make sure that both you and your baby feel utterly comfortable with the paced bottle method.
As with every new technique, remember it could take some time to get it just right but, once it does work, the paced bottle method is undoubtedly one which holds many advantages for both you and your baby – and one well worth preserving with to get it perfect each time.