Paced Bottle Feeding

paced bottle feeding

Paced bottle feeding is a method of bottle feeding that allows the infant to be more in control of the feeding pace by slowing down the flow of milk. It also helps prevent digestive issues. Whether the child is exclusively breast fed and needing to take an occasional bottle, the child is entirely bottle fed, or a preterm infant is beginning their feeding journey; paced bottle feeding is recommended.1

Steps to Implement Paced Bottle Feeding

  • Step 1: Choose a slow-flow nipple with optimal nipple shape. Recommended bottles are the following: Lansinoh Slow Flow, Evenflo Slow Flow, Dr. Brown’s Slow Flow
  • Step 2: Positioning is key. Support child side lying and upright.
  • Step 3: Offer bottle at a slight angle, gently touching lips with the nipple. When baby accepts, place nipple in mouth.
  • Step 4: Let your baby set their own pace. When baby slows, pause to let baby rest by tipping the bottle downward but not removing nipple from mouth.
  • Step 5: Watch for hunger or fullness cues and respond. Do not force the baby to finish the entire bottle. After implementing this strategy, babies will start to learn to pace themselves. You will notice them taking their own sucking breaks and then return to feeding.

Paced bottle feeding allows for a healthy feeding relationship by optimizing milk intake per the child having the control of flow of milk therefore, decreasing digestive issues. It prevents discomfort by decreasing the occurrence of swallowing excessive air that can lead to discomfort or gas. Paced feeding also supports the breastfeeding relationship as it mimics the natural rhythm of breast feeding. The mimicking of the rhythm decreases the occurrence of a child developing a preference of breast over bottle or bottle over breast. Self-regulation is also promoted by paced bottle feeds as it allows the child to recognize their own hunger and fullness cues.

Overall, paced bottle feeding supports a child’s development, promotes a healthy feeding relationship, and promotes the child and caregiver bond. Debra Beckman, M.S. CCC-SLP, has a great video demonstrating this technique.

  1. Bushell, S. (2022, September 28). Why you should practice paced feeding when bottle feeding your baby. The Children’s Nutritionist.