At some stage the time will come when you will want to start weaning by cutting back on breastfeeding or even stop completely.
Perhaps your baby is beginning to lose interest, or you simply want the freedom to leave your baby with someone else for a few hours. When it comes to making any changes to your baby’s routine, try and tackle one thing at a time, so if you are wanting to introduce a bottle then do so without any other changes in their daily routine. Here’s more advice on moving from breastfeeding to bottle …
Moving from breastfeeding to bottle tips
- Gradually drop breastfeeds and swap those for bottles
- Get baby used to a bottle first by trying expressed milk in bottles
- Persevere! It’s unusual for a breastfed baby to take to bottles straight away. But the older they get, the more resistant they will become, so it’s important to keep going with things!
- Try different bottles/beakers if first rejected – some manufactures are better than others, so find the right one for your baby
- Try walking around while offering the bottle. Using a baby sling can make this easier
- Don’t wait until baby is desperately hungry or in need of comfort sucking. New experiences are easier to handle when they are well rested and not feeling anxious
- Make sure it isn’t always you that gives your little one a bottle. Once your little one is happy taking a bottle, you could then try letting your partner have a go
- Let baby get used to the teat. Try letting your baby hold the teat and put it to his mouth so he is used to the texture. When coming to give milk, warm teat slightly, plus try and wipe some expressed breast milk on the outside so baby can smell it
- Try to offer the bottle when baby is sleepy or isn’t very hungry
- Try having a piece of your clothing nearby so he can smell it. Though some babies may refuse the bottle if they can smell their mum
- Try placing the teat on babies mouth and letting him push the bottle in
- Try and make sure the milk is warm as baby is used to it that way
- Try feeding in different positions to see which one baby prefers
- Make sure baby is given eye to eye contact, talked to, reassured etc when having the bottle
- Try to stick to the same time each day so that he gets used to the routine, and so he associates a time of day with formula milk. Once settled at that time you can try introducing another bottle feed
Take a step back and relax
To make the first few feedings successful, you may need to take yourself away from the situation. Have someone else give them the bottle while you are in another room or even out of the house. The person giving them the bottle might also want to experiment with different positions.
For older babies
If your baby is six months or older, you may want to consider going directly from breast to cup. Even babies this young can drink out of a sippy cup or a straw cup (although the first few tries may be messy). The advantage of going straight to the cup is that you never have to wean the baby off the bottle. The disadvantage is that it can be more difficult to get your baby interested in a sippy cup because the mouthpiece can be very different from a nipple.
You can experiment with a variety of different cups until you find one that your baby enjoys. There are an increasing number of sippy cups out on the market that are designed to be used during this transition and have soft or chewy mouthpieces.