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You may not be able to overfeed a baby at the breast, but it is possible to overfeed (and overwhelm) a baby with a bottle of breast milk. But don't worry! Paced feeding is an alternative method that you can use too!
Paced feeding is a method that helps to prevent this problem, and may be useful for you to learn if you’ll be returning to work and pumping, if you’re exclusively pumping, or if your partner will be feeding an occasional bottle of breast milk.
Research has shown that feeding babies anything by the bottle can have an effect on their ability to regulate their intake. It’s likely a result of the “maternal control” over how much is taken by the bottle which doesn’t occur in feeding at the breast, which overrides babies’ needs. One theory suggests that this inability to self-regulate intake is related to a higher risk of overweight and obesity.
Paced feeding allows babies more control over his or her intake of breastmilk by responding to their cues, and may also prevent post-feeding fussiness by reducing overfeeding. Since much of paced feeding also mimics feeding at the breast, it can also support the breastfeeding relationship and help babies transition back and forth from breast to bottle. Babies may be less likely to get accustomed to the fast flow of a bottle and reject the breast.
How does paced feeding work?
A few resources on paced feeding that may be helpful:
Are your nipples getting sore from pumping? Our USDA Certified Organic Nipple Cream is a great pump lubricant and doesn't need to be washed off prior to nursing.