Baby Bottle feeding Introducing bottle Feeding After Breastfeeding

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Introducing bottle Feeding After Breastfeeding

Introducing a bottle when your baby is used to breastfeeding is a big decision both physically and emotionally. Once the switch has been made, it’s very difficult to reverse.

Switching one feed at a time will give your breasts time to adjust and stop them becoming painful or engorged, which can lead to mastitis. If your breasts feel as if they’re full to bursting or very uncomfortable, you can express some milk to relieve the pressure.

Your body will take up to 7 days to adjust to producing less milk. Slowly reducing feeds by one less feed a week will help to prevent your breasts from becoming engorged or leaking. Your body will also soon learn to stop producing breastmilk at night if you decide to bottlefeed during the night instead. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that it can be difficult to switch back once you’ve made the step.

Choosing the right time to switch

You’re advised to wait until breastfeeding is firmly established before introducing formula from a bottle – as a guide, that’s around six to eight weeks. After this time there’s no rush so try to stay relaxed and move at a pace that’s comfortable for you and your baby.

Be prepared

Make sure you have all the equipment you need: bottles, teats, sterilisers etc, and read the instructions for making up your feeds carefully.

Helping your baby adjust to bottlefeeding

Some babies take longer to adjust to bottlefeeding than others but there are things you can try such as:

  • Try feeding your baby milk at different temperatures – some babies prefer body temperature (like breastmilk) while others prefer it cooler or at room temperature
  • Experiment with different teats
  • Feed your baby when they’re not in your arms, or ask someone else to feed your baby and leave the room so they can’t see or smell you
  • Use a toy or CD to distract them while they feed
  • Try feeding your baby using a beaker or a training beaker if they are over 6 months old.
  • Express some breastmilk to bottlefeed with – the familiar taste may help your baby get used to feeding from a bottle
  • Stay relaxed – if you’re relaxed it will help them settle down too
  • Be patient. It may take time, but your baby should get used to feeding from a bottle eventually

If you’ve tried everything and your baby is still not happy feeding from a bottle, speak to your doctor or call our Careline.

Bonding with a bottlefed baby

Babies love the closeness of breastfeeding. But if you’re bottlefeeding, you can encourage bonding by giving your baby lots of skin contact when feeding. Talk to them, sing to them and make plenty of eye contact with them too.

If you have a question that needs answering, please get in touch.

If there’s anything you’re unsure about, we’re here to point you in the right direction!