Posted by Krystal Duhaney, RN, BSN, IBCLC Nov 28th, 2023

A Guide To Baby-Led Bottle Feeding

A Guide To Baby-Led Bottle Feeding

Are you ready or needing to give your baby a bottle, but you’re worried it might derail your breastfeeding journey? Well, have no fear, Mama! We are here to help. In this article we will help you learn how to bottle feed in a similar manner as breastfeeding. You can enjoy a date night, or going back to work, without fear of your baby rejecting your breast. It is called Baby-Led Bottle feeding, or sometimes called paced bottle feeding.

What is Baby-Led Bottle Feeding?

Baby-led bottle feeding is a method that allows your baby to experience a similar flow of milk and the sensation of breastfeeding while bottle feeding. It is a great way to prevent overfeeding and to avoid your baby getting used to a fast flow from the bottle nipple. It is a gentle, loving approach that helps your baby work for their food, just as they would at your breast.

By using baby-led feeding, you are mimicking breastfeeding. You will hold the bottle in a similar position to breastfeeding, and your baby will still be actively sucking in order to get milk, like being at the breast. This will help prevent her from getting used to milk easily flowing from the bottle.


How to Use Baby-Led Bottle Feeding Practices


You will want to share these baby-led bottle feeding directions with your caregiver whom you are sharing the bottle feeding duties with. You can even look up a video if they are more visual learners!

  • Position baby comfortably, but not lying on their backs. They should be sitting up, with support behind their neck and shoulders from your hand or arm - not a pillow alone.
  • Hold baby upright at a 90-degree angle. The bottle should be parallel to the floor.
  • Gently present the bottle across their lips to get her to open wide for the nipple, just as she would at the breast.
  • Let baby suck on an empty bottle nipple for 1-2 minutes before tipping in milk to simulate letdown.
  • Keep the bottle horizontal. This is key.
  • Tip the bottle down every 10-30 sucks to give baby breathing breaks. What for stress cues.
  • Tip the bottle slowly as it becomes empty so there is milk in the nipple, but do not feel like the nipple has to be completely full of milk. This is important as it is mimicking how they would have to still suck and work for your milk at the breast.
  • Watch for signs to take a break and burp the baby. You don’t want to wait until the entire bottle is empty before burping. Bottle feeds can also be tiring, so baby might also not finish the bottle in one sitting.
  • You can switch the arm you’re holding the baby with halfway through the feed- this will make it feel more similar to a typical breastfeeding session if you switch sides while breastfeeding.


Key Benefits:

Baby-led bottle feeding is a great way to introduce bottles to your baby without the fear of “flow confusion.” It can be utilized by both breastfeeding and formula feeding moms and can be done with any bottle. By baby-led feeding, you put the control of the feed in the hands of your baby, allowing them to recognize when they are full and encouraging them to work for their food just like they would if they were breastfed.

Developing Motor Skills: Baby-led bottle feeding encourages the development of essential motor skills. As your little one grasps and holds the bottle, they enhance their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Building Independence: Allowing your baby to self-feed builds a sense of independence. This early empowerment lays the foundation for a positive relationship with food, teaching them to listen to their hunger and fullness cues.

You can’t always be with your baby to feed them, but you can successfully continue your breastfeeding journey with baby-led bottle feeding.

Photo by Lucy Wolski on Unsplash

If you’re in need of some personalized support and guidance on your breastfeeding journey, we’ve got you mama, click here to contact a consultation.

Do you have questions about paced bottle feeding? Let us know in The Official Milky Mama Lactation Support Group. The Milky Mama team is here to support you during all stages of your breastfeeding journey!

Back to blog

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is your store based?

What changes are you making in regards to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Do you offer any coupons/discounts?

Do you ever offer free shipping?

Can I use more than one coupon at a time?


Call us at (877) 88MILKY (886-4559)

Email us at