Paced bottle feeding

Paced bottle feeding is a way to feed a baby by slowing the flow of milk, giving the baby more control over how fast they eat and preventing unnecessary discomfort and overfeeding.

Helpful hints for paced bottle feeding

  • After preparing the baby’s bottle, hold the baby either upright or in the side-lying position.
  • Before placing the nipple from the bottle into the baby’s mouth, tilt the bottle downward / toward the floor, so there is no milk in the nipple.
  • Allow the baby to suck on the empty nipple.
  • Sucking on an empty nipple mimics breastfeeding, as the baby needs to suck before the milk flows.
  • Tilt the bottle horizontally so the milk fills the nipple approximately halfway and encourage the baby to suck instead of gulp.
  • Gulping can occur when the nipple is too full of milk.

Paced bottle feeding, baby preparing to suck on a bottle Paced bottle feeding, baby sucking on bottle

  • Generally, babies take breaks while feeding. When this happens, tilt the bottle downward while keeping the empty nipple in the baby’s mouth.
  • When the baby begins to suck again, tilt the bottle horizontally, remembering only to fill the nipple halfway. Repeat this until the baby is no longer interested in eating and does not suck on the empty nipple.
  • Remember to burp your baby periodically during feeding.

Watch a helpful video demonstrating paced bottle feeding for both bottle and breastfed babies.


Call Welia Health’s Lactation Helpline at 320.225.3525.


Paced Bottle Feeding: Infant Feeding Series, Minnesota Department of Health