While some mothers exclusively breastfeed directly from the breast, some may need to, or choose to have their baby drink from a bottle. This could be due to needing to go to work or just needed a break from time to time. One thing most don’t think about is that if you want the baby to continue drinking from the breast then there is a special way to feed using the bottle called pace feeding. This technique helps the milk come out more like it would from the breast and will help support the mother’s choice to breastfeed her baby.

Pace feeding can be done with breast milk or formula. Babies should be fed a bottle when they show you their hunger cues and not on a schedule, just like when they are feeding directly from the breast. Here is how to pace feed.

-Choose a preemie or slow flow nipple.

-Hold the baby in an upright position

-Place the bottle nipple near the baby’s mouth and let him draw it in like he would the breast. Do not force the bottle into the baby’s mouth. Keep the bottle in a more parallel position so the breast milk or formula doesn’t fill the whole nipple

-The breast milk or formula should come out slowly so a feeding lasts as long as a normal feeding directly from the breast does.

-Switch the baby to the other arm halfway through the feeding as to mimic switching breasts.

-Encourage the baby to pause often while eating, just like he would while drinking directly from the breast.

Pace feeding a baby will not only encourage the baby to keep feeding directly from the breast, but will help the baby not be over or under fed. This can also minimize colic symptoms. It is good to teach anyone who may be giving the baby a bottle how to pace feed.