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Paced Bottle Feeding

When you decide to give your baby a bottle, it’s good to be aware of, and respond to baby’s feeding cues. Sometimes baby may struggle with a fast flow or discomfort when using a bottle, this technique is designed to mimic the flow of milk from the breast and allow baby to experience a comfortable feed.

Babies show several cues to indicate that they are ready to feed—look for and respond to these early feeding cues that baby displays including:

  • eye movement under closed lids (rapid eye movement).
  • increased alertness, awakening or changes in facial expression.
  • movement of arms or legs.
  • tossing, turning or wriggling.
  • mouthing.
  • rooting—opening their mouth and searching to suck on contact.
  • clicking or tongue sucking.
  • hand movements to their mouth and sucking on hands.
  • squeaking noises or light fussing.

Crying is a late sign of hunger. Avoid waiting for this sign as a crying baby can be more disorganised and therefore more difficult to feed

  • Test the temperature of the feed by shaking a little milk from the teat onto the inside of the wrist. It should feel like body temperature to warm, but not hot.
  • Position baby upright and closely into the caregiver’s chest, encouraging skin and eye contact. Switching from one side to the other half way through the feed will encourage eye stimulation and development while avoiding side preference. 
  • Stroke baby’s lip from top to bottom with the teat to stimulate a rooting response. When the baby’s mouth opens to accept the teat, gently allow the teat to be drawn into the mouth rather than pushing it in. The baby will have a wide gape, with relaxed flanged lips holding the teat deeply in the mouth.
  • As the baby begins to suck, hold the bottle in a horizontal position.
  • As the baby pauses, lower the base of the bottle so that milk no longer fills the teat while keeping the teat in the baby’s mouth.
  • As baby begins to suck again, raise the level of the bottle back to the horizontal so that milk is again available in the teat.
  • If the baby dozes and releases the teat before the bottle is empty, this signals the end of the feed.
  • The feed should not take more than one hour.
  • Formula left in a bottle after completion of a feed will be discarded and not kept for use in a later feed.
  • If your baby is consistently not taking enough milk, check your baby’s output and consult medical officer if concerned.
  • Never leave a baby to feed alone or with a propped bottle as this increases the risk of choking.
  • Do not put an infant to sleep while drinking a bottle as this increases the risk of ear infection and choking while the pooling of milk increases the risk of dental caries.

Storage of breast milk 

Breast milk Room temperature Refrigerator Freezer
Freshly expressed into closed container

Six to eight hours at less than 26 degrees Celsius.

If refrigeration is available, store milk in the back of the refrigerator where it is the coldest

72 at four degrees Celsius

Store in back of refrigerator where it is coldest

Two weeks in freezer compartment inside a refrigerator

Three months in freezer section of refrigerator with separate door

Six to 12 months in deep freeze

Previously frozen and thawed in refrigerator but not warmed Four hours or less i.e. next feed Store in refrigerator 24 hours—if milk has not been warmed Do not re-freeze
Thawed outside refrigerator in warm water For completion of feed Hold for four hours or until next feed Do not re-freeze
Infant has begun feeding Only for completion of feed, then discard Discard Do not re-freeze

* Australian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents - table. Copyright Commonwealth of Australia reproduced by permission











Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-430192
Last modified 05/7/2017.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 14/2/2017
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