How Long Should Bottle-Feeding Take?
How fast your baby feeds can affect how much milk he drinks, how much air he swallows, and his enjoyment of feeding. Feeding too quickly or slowly can cause problems. Discover how you can influence how long it takes for your baby to feed.
Ideal feeding times for babies
The faster your baby feeds the more he's likely to drink. If your baby drinks his formula too quickly, there's a risk he may overfeed (i.e. drink more than he actually needs) and/or swallow large amounts of air. Both of which may result in tummy discomfort or spitting up soon after feeding. If your baby completes his feeds too quickly, this could be because the nipple* is too fast.
If he feeds too slowly, this can occur because the nipple ring is screwed on too tight (see notes on common bottle feeding problems) or because the nipple* is too slow. Both problems can make feeding become very tiring for a young baby and he may fail to finish his feed or fall asleep before the feed is completed - resulting in the need for more frequent feeds.
As a guide, the following times are recommended to bottle feed your baby.
- 20 - 40 minutes for newborn to 3 months.
- 15 - 30 minutes for babies 3 months to 6 months.
- 10 - 20 minutes for babies over 6 months.
* Nipple manufacturers provide a guide on nipple speeds suitable for different age groups. Although a nipple may be recommended for your baby's age, this does not guarantee the speed is suitable for your individual baby. Some babies will have a stronger or weaker suck compared to others.
By Rowena Bennett, RN, RM, CHN, MHN, IBCLC
Copyright www.babycareadvice.com 2020. All rights reserved. Permission from author must be obtained to reproduce all or any part of this article.
How we can help
- Your Baby's Bottle-feeding Aversion book
- Baby Care Advice consultation
- Rowena Bennett's Online Bottle-Feeding Aversion Program
‘Your Baby's Bottle-Feeding Aversion’ book
In my book, ‘Your baby’s Bottle-feeding Aversion’, I have described physical and behavioral reasons for babies to develop an aversion to bottle-feeding. How to identify the cause and the solutions to match. Included are step-by-step instructions on how to regain your baby’s trust and resolve a feeding aversion caused or reinforced by repeated pressure to feed.
While the book was written for bottle-fed babies, many nursing mothers have found that applying the same strategies has also helped them to successfully resolve a breastfeeding aversion.
You might find that reading this book is all you need to do to understand the steps you need to take to resolve your baby’s feeding aversion and get him back to the point of enjoying eating until satisfied.
Baby Care Advice Consultations
If you would like an individualized assessment of all reasons for infant feeding problems, not just feeding aversion, we also provide a consultation service. Baby Care Advice consultants have extensive experience in pinpointing the cause of feeding aversion and other behavioral feeding problems such as those related to equipment and the parent’s feeding practices. (For more on what’s included in a consultation).
Rowena's Online Bottle-Feeding Aversion Program
Six time-saving modules to help your family enjoy feeding again with Rowena's step-by-step plan. Enjoy additional tools to manage anxiety, troubleshoot any issues, introduce new carers, how to manage illness/teething and much more.
- Module 1: Understanding feeding aversions
- Module 2: Identify the cause
- Module 3: Prepare for success
- Module 4: How to resolve your baby's bottle-feeding aversion
- Module 5: What to expect
- Module 6: Troubleshooting
- BONUS: Guided meditations