How Do You Transition to Formula Feeding?

baby drinking from bottleAs your baby reaches the four- to seven-month milestone, and you begin introducing solid foods, you may choose to transition from breast milk to formula feeding. Most medical organizations, like the American Academy of Pediatrics, agree that breast milk is the ideal form of nutrition for babies during their first six months. However, nursing past this point for you may have proven not only impractical, but impossible, and there are a lot of things to consider when choosing what is ideal for your baby. Weaning can also take a long time, and you may be anxious to get started now.

If you’ve chosen to wean your child from breast milk at this time and introduce formula in a bottle, here are a few ways to make it easier for both you and baby:

Instead of quitting cold turkey, which is hard on your breasts and on your baby, begin by eliminating just one nursing session at a time. Every two to five days, you can eliminate another session, says Dr. Arthur Schoenstadt, MD, who oversees emedtv.com. Be careful not to introduce the bottle when your baby is hungry. Remember that she’s just learning, and frustration at this new and unfamiliar process may lead her to reject the bottle altogether. Try a bottle feeding shortly after her rice cereal or other baby food. Let her experiment and figure out how the bottle works.

It may also be a good idea to ask Dad or someone else to introduce the bottle, says Schoenstadt. Your baby expects you to feed her a certain way and when you don’t feed her the way she is used to, she may get upset. She knows what you can do for her, and won’t understand why you’re not giving her what she wants. If someone else holds the bottle, your baby may be more willing to try. It may even help for you to be out of the room, as your presence may just stress both of you out, and weaken your resolve.

Formula has all the nutrients your baby needs, but it will taste different to him. You may want to offer him pumped and stored breast milk first, to make introducing a bottle easier. Once he gets the hang of it, substitute it with formula, says Schoenstadt.

Just like everything baby-related, remember patience, patience, patience. If your baby is not taking well to the bottle or the formula, you may want to experiment with different brands of formula. Look out for signs of allergies, discuss problems with your pediatrician, and, as always, follow your gut instinct.

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How Do You Transition to Formula Feeding?

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25 comments

  1. Ashley says:

    My son will eat anything, from anything! I’ve been lucky. No nipple confusion or anything. He primarily gets breast milk, but while I am at work, we occasionally have to supplement with formula. We have been very lucky this time around (he is baby #2). My daughter never latched, and I pumped and fed her breast milk as much as I could. It only lasted 3 months. We are 3.5 months in this time, and are having such great luck!

  2. Eva says:

    I plan on breastfeeding. I have done the formula with other children I have raised and find it to be very expensive and it doesn’t benefit the child as much as it should.

  3. Angellia says:

    My baby takes a bottle of breastmilk while im at school.. but she refuses formula. Im trying to get her slowly weaned… I dont know what to do.. shes 4 months old today and i plan to breastfeed for 6 months. how to i get her to take formula when she will literally put the formula in her cheeks and when i take the bottle out of her mouth, she spits it out…

    • Hi Angellia! Sorry that you’re struggling. I’m sure you know the benefits of breastfeeding last far beyond 6 months, so if you have the ability to do so, it might be beneficial to give your daughter more time to adjust and transition. Continuing the nursing relationship has health benefits for mom and baby. At the same time, if, for whatever reason, you’re committed to stopping at 6 months it might help to mix breastmilk and formula to help her adjust the taste. You can do it gradually – 80% breastmilk with 20% formula for a week, then 70/30, and so on until she is taking the formula on its own. Best wishes to you on finding the right solution for your family!

  4. LIZ says:

    i did both, because baby was really good eater just breast milk wasnt and off

  5. DESIREE says:

    I think and feel that you can do both if your baby will tolerate it. I prefer breastfeed, storing the breast milk in the fridge and freezer and also try the formula if the baby is nit satisfied. Once you have others to help you with your baby you should pump your breast milk and have it available, so your baby can get it when you are not around.

    Mothers returning back to work I would advise you to pump your breast milk for your baby. If you are a mother who had breast reduction or implants then you have no other choice than to give your baby formula.

  6. kimberly says:

    question…I would like to breastfeed when my baby is born, but will have to return to work in eight weeks. I would rather not pump at work. Can I substitute formula while working then breastfeed at night?

    • DESIREE says:

      I think you can give your baby formula once you see with your doctor.

    • DESIREE says:

      I think and feel that you can do both if your baby will tolerate it. I prefer breastfeed, storing the breast milk in the fridge and freezer and also try the formula if the baby is nit satisfied. Once you have others to help you with your baby you should pump your breast milk and have it available, so your baby can get it when you are not around.

      Mothers returning back to work I would advise you to pump your breast milk for your baby. If you are a mother who had breast reduction or implants then you have no other choice than to give your baby formula.

  7. mommy nhoj says:

    Few days after birth she has to be on formula milk since I was put on antibiotics for 1 week. For that time, I pumped and threw away the milk 🙁 and then, mixed feeding until doctors finally advised to stop since I am taking contraindicated medication. I cried and my sister and friends cheered me up. That breastfeeding alone doesn’t define the concept of being a good mom 🙂 but i still wish I can feed longer though

  8. tara says:

    breastfeeding and pumping so dad can be involved. Started back to school and work so supplementing with formula a needed

    • DESIREE says:

      This is great and we do the same. It also helps to let baby get closer to dad. She is already a daddy’s girl. Today her took her out and they are not back yet. I guess they are having fun together, as he is such a proud daddy.

  9. Valarie says:

    We are now 8 months into our breastfeeding and I plan to let my daughter self wean. We tried introducing the bottle and had no luck at all, she refused to drink her milk from anything but me. We have successfully introduced the sippy cup with juice and water at 6 months but still no luck with the expressed milk. It’s hard sometimes being her only source of milk but in the end I am sure I will be glad I done it this way.

  10. I HOPE IT GOES WELL FOR ME

  11. MrsPearson says:

    i hope to be successful in general it didnt go so well with my first so hoping that we just make at least at the beginning!

  12. jackie says:

    Someone said you can go from breast to cup?? Anyone ???? What age??

  13. My son didn’t want to latch on the my breast so we had to do formula from the start. But after reading some articles on this website I will try some other methods for my next child.

  14. planning to breastfeed and use a pump so she’ll be feeding from a bottle too

  15. EbyMom says:

    it is good to know. what if your baby refuses the bottle in spite of all you do. what’s the next option? I believe persistence is the key.

  16. allie_cat says:

    Matthew STILL wont take a bottle ugh

  17. sheenaholman says:

    Im hoping to breastfeed for the whole 12 months. Only 8 more to go!

  18. allie_cat says:

    i went through the pain of breast feeding for the 2 weeks that it hurt, but now im trying to get him to drink a bottle so i can go bowling once a week and leave him with his grandma but my lil butt butt comes with me..

  19. Sara says:

    I planned to breastfeed for at least a month but didn’t realize how painful it would be and had to stop after less than a week; I pump and feed my son both breast milk and formula through bottles, which I switched to in one day but he took to the bottle right away and I think he likes better.

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