Baby milk can flow too fast or too slow from the breast or bottle. You can tell by watching how your baby acts or “behaves” while feeding. We call this how to “read” your baby’s feeding behaviors. Your baby may have one or more of these various behaviors to indicate the flow isn’t just right.
If the nipple is flowing TOO QUICKLY, your baby may:
- Gulp or choke
- Purposely let milk dribble out
- Make frowny eyebrows and look worried
- Turn head or pull away from the nipple
- Spread fingers apart with hands open
- Lose eye contact (while bottle-feeding)
There are behaviors that suggest a nipple is flowing too slowly. At the breast, this may be due to low milk supply or a baby who isn’t sucking effectively yet. With the bottle, a young breastfed baby may prefer a faster flow if the mother has a fast let-down. Some older babies may need a faster flow nipple as the quantity of milk increases and they start socializing. Your baby will tell you the bottle nipple flows TOO SLOWLY when you see:
- Sucking 3 or more times before swallowing
- Pulling off the nipple and crying after a few sucks
- Biting and tugging on the nipple
- Losing interest in sucking
- Falling asleep during feeding without being satisfied
If you are bottle feeding and your baby is displaying some of the above behaviors and struggling with feeding, we can help. You can grab a copy of Balancing Breast and Bottle in e-book or paperback, full of great ideas to implement right away. It also has a handy flow rate chart in the Appendix so you can confidently move up or down in flow rate. The other option is to grab our Beginning Bottle Feeding class, where we will virtually walk you through how to find the best bottle unique to your baby.