How Do You Transition to Formula Feeding?
As 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.