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Helping Your Baby Move from Breastfeeding to Bottlefeeding

How to Switch from Breastfeeding to FormulaWhen you begin looking at using a bottle with your baby, you immediately think that you will have to give your baby formula, which many mothers would rather not do. That’s understandable. But using a bottle does not mean your baby will not be getting that nutritional breast milk.

Why Would I Use a Bottle?

That is a very good question.

Maybe you’ve enjoyed breastfeeding your baby, but now you have to go back to work. Your job is demanding, and you don’t have the time to breast pump. Perhaps you want to switch from breastfeeding to formula, because you have not been successful at nursing and your baby is not getting enough milk and nutrients. It’s also possible that you plan to supplement with formula, rather than give up breastfeeding all together.

While still using your breast milk, you can make life so much easier by using a bottle. This works great when you have to return to work or when you are running around town. Even when you have company over or are travelling, using a bottle is just easier. The baby is still getting the breast milk and you get ease of use. Using a bottle for breast milk is easy, but you do need to take time to learn how to pump and properly store your milk.

Another reason you might want to use the bottle, is that your baby is getting older and you might want a little more freedom while still giving breast milk. Having to always be there to feed your child can be frustrating when you have other things demanding your attention including other children. Having a bottle with your breast milk helps them achieve a little more independence as well as yourself.

How Do I Introduce My Baby to the Bottle?

Simply – gently and persistently.

Sounds easier than it might be, but that is the basic formula. You want your baby to not feel abandoned or scared with this new thing you’re giving him. Some mothers find that as their baby is ready to feed, putting the bottle in their mouth right when they are about to use the nipple works great. Others find their children don’t accept that and fight it.

As this becomes more trial and error with each child, here are a few tips that might help make it easier.

  1. Give bottle to baby immediately when feeding – as mentioned above.
  2. Use a bottle nipple similar to a pacifier already in use, if you use one. This makes a much easier transition.
  3. Don’t act like this is a major event. Treat the whole thing as though you were breastfeeding.
  4. Try giving it your baby toward the end of feeding. Some have said this works very well.
  5. Try holding your baby a little different. Think about it. When they are hungry and you turn them toward you, they are looking for the nipple. Instead, hold them facing up like anyone else would hold your baby and feed them. This will also make it easier when someone else does have to feed your baby.
  6. Let your first attempts at the bottle be done by someone else. Let daddy, grandma, or a babysitter do it. This way the child realizes that they don’t have what mom usually does.
  7. Make it a game to them. Have fun with it. They can touch the bottle, play with it, and realize that it won’t harm them. It won’t be scary for them this way.
  8. Don’t give your baby the bottle in same room you normally breastfeed. The smells, sights, and sounds should be different signifying to baby that things are not all the same. Helps in the transition.

Tips for the Transition from Breastfeeding to Formula

We’ve been talking about making it easy for baby, but moms have a hard time with this transition, too. It can be emotional. During breast feeding times, the mom and baby develop a bond that is tight and close. Many mothers feel that it is being destroyed. They feel that they are being replaced.

Remember that this is a transition from one phase of a child’s life to another. They cannot stay babies forever no matter how hard we wish it. They are growing up. You’ll never be replaced. You’ll never be out of their lives. You are preparing them to be adults in the future and those adults have to be able to feed themselves.

Before you begin the transition, prepare yourself. Get the bottles ready. Play with them yourself. Get familiar using them. Spend time before and after using the bottle with your baby playing and keeping that bond strong. Don’t hesitate to talk to others that you can trust and who will lend an ear. Sometimes just voicing your feelings is a step in the right direction.

This is a time that should not be approached with fear or dread. It is one of many transitions in your baby’s life that you can be a major part of.


Special Thanks to My Guest Writer:

Laura Cecil, a single mother of three kids and the editor of www.Livesnet.com, a site that reviews the hot baby products and gives parents parenting tips. And her single parenting life has been totally changed since she had built this site with her friends several months ago. She really likes sharing her reviews and her parenting tips with all parents. Please visit Livesnet.com and read her recent review on uppababy vista stroller.

About the author: This blog post was written by a guest contributor. If you’d like to guest post for Hip Chick’s Guide to PMS, Pregnancy and Babies, please read my Guest Writing Policy for a guideline of what I am looking for. All guest posts need to be at least 500 words and be original to this site only.

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  • Jennifer January 24, 2012, 3:26 pm

    Great tips! I found that leaving the house while my hubby was attempting to bottle feed was the best thing. Initially my daughter would not bottle feed if I was still in the house. Once she got used to it though, it didn’t matter if I was in the same room. She does well with switching from breast to bottle on any given day!

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