Yup. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all about the breastfeeding. Milk from mothers breast is the evolutionary norm for human babies. But, for whatever reason, sometimes the breastfeeding diad needs a bit of time to perfect the method. Consult the lactation consultant, go to the breastfeeding cafes, call all the helplines to get every ounce of support to help figure out the skill of breastfeeding but ultimately, your baby needs to be fed. If they’re 4-6mths you could go straight to a cup, if younger than 3-4wks you could consider alternative ways to feed your baby other than a bottle with the help of a lactation consultant.
If you decide on feeding your baby expressed breastmilk via a bottle to bridge the gap you may find paced bottle feeding a suitable method. Or if you’ve come across this blog and are looking for ways to bottle feed that is baby led.
Paced bottle feeding slows down the rate at which a baby gets milk so can often avoid the ‘nipple preference’ associated with bottle fed babies. Basically they can’t just sit back and relax whilst putting in minimal effort to get milk, they’ve got to work a little for it!
Emerald Doulas via youtube.com (2016)
So babies should be bottle fed:
- When feeding cues are indicating their need for a feed rather than ‘on schedule’
- Held in an upright position. So none of the romanticised formula ad ideals of laid back positions where the baby is pretty much horizontal. We’re talking *up right*. Support their head and shoulders with your non bottle holding hand.
- Select a soft nipple with small openings for a slow flow rate.
- Go old school with your bottle. None of the boob shaped bottles. Straighter the better!
- Touch the nipple gently to your baby’s lower and upper lip to get a rooting response (when they open their mouths super wide) then gently place the entire nipple into their mouth. No poking and jabbing allowed!
- Tilt the bottle up just enough to fill the nipple with milk. The bottle should be horizontal so that your baby will only get milk when they suck. Tilt the bottle again when your baby has finished the milk in the nipple.
- Switch from side to side so as to mimic what would happen at a at the breast feed.
- A feed should take as long as a breastfeed (10-20ish minutes). Resist the ‘fast food’ thought. This is especially important if someone else is feeding your baby.
- Frequent pauses are advantages so as to mimic the letdown of a breastfeed.
- Stop when the baby is full, rather than when the bottle is finished. Another one to highlight to additional bottle feeders.
Kellymom (2017) states that “the benefits of bottle-feeding in this manner:
- The infant will consume a volume appropriate to their size and age, rather than over- or under-eating. This can support the working and pumping mom who then has an increased likelihood of pumping a daily volume equivalent to the baby’s demand.
- This can minimize colic-like symptoms in the baby whose stomach is distended or over-fed.
- It supports the breastfeeding relationship, hopefully leading to longer durations and increased success at breastfeeding particularly for mothers who are separated from their nurslings either intermittently or recurrently.”
Here are some website that offer more information on paced bottle feeding:
Youtube.com (2017) ‘Emerald Doula-Paced bottle feeding captioned’. [online] Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY8ct80VqaE
(Accessed 04th April 2017)
kellymom.com (2017) ‘How to bottle feed the breast fed baby’. [online] Available from http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/feeding-tools/bottle-feeding/
(Accessed 04th April 2017)