Whether you wish to introduce a bottle to give mom some flexibility (or a much-needed break); or decide to introduce formula feeds, the following suggestions may help you make a smooth transition.
To continue breastfeeding:
- Wait until your baby is at least one month old and breastfeeding has been well-established – to avoid nipple confusion.
- To maintain a breastfeed, use the breast pump to express at the time you feed your baby the bottle. Breastfeeding is supply and demand, so any feed you discontinue will compromise your supply.
- Get someone else to do the feed. Babies know that mom equals milk, so it can be much easier for everyone if they can’t smell or see mom. If you can get out of the house, even better!
- If you are replacing feeds with formula, or weaning from the breast to formula-feeding, you might need to express your milk sometimes to prevent engorgement, or mastitis. Express just enough for comfort – if you express too much you will stimulate an increase in supply.
Tips for a smooth transition
- Validate your child’s frustrations, confusion and disappointments that may arise with this transition. Offer your love and be prepared to listen to some tears in the process.
- Trial a few different bottle and nipple types. Some babies prefer nipples that most closely resemble the shape of mom’s nipple.
- Slow flow nipples are recommended to begin with.
- If your baby has a pacifier, you might try to select a nipple in the similar shape to their pacifier.
- Express some breastmilk on the nipple.
- Experiment with different milk temperatures.
- Try different holding positions – again best if mom isn’t the one doing this!
- Offer the bottle when it is milk time, when your baby is hungry.
- Let your baby hold and play with the bottle during the day – especially allowing them to suck on the nipple and play with it in their mouth.
The age of your baby will determine whether to replace the breastfeeds with infant. formula, cow’s milk or milk alternative. Babies younger than 12 months shouldn’t be offered cow’s milk, so they must to be weaned onto formula.