Making the Transition From Breast to Bottle Feeding
Ready to wean baby from the breast or add bottles to the feeding schedule? Here’s how to make it smooth for both of you.
From Breast to Bottlefeeding: 10 Tips for the Transition
When you’re ready to make the move to baby bottles, these tips may help:
- Introduce the bottle before you need to. If you know you’re going back to work when baby is 6 weeks old, for example, try to bring in the bottle several weeks before, so you can deal with any challenges.
- Don’t introduce two things at once when you’re weaning baby. Put breast milk in the bottle at first, so she’s only getting used to the bottle -- not to the bottle and infant formula. One thing at a time!
- Angle the bottle somewhat up (not horizontally) when you feed baby to make sure she is getting only milk or formula, not air.
- Skip the bottle and go straight to a sippy cup if baby is 6-12 months old.
- Don’t try weaning baby during stressful times. If you’re moving, baby’s cutting a tooth, or you’re going to back to work tomorrow, hold off for a while.
- Defrost a bottle of frozen breast milk about 30 minutes before baby’s waiting in the wings, wailing to be fed.
- Offer your baby a bottle before breastfeeding. Some babies will take it, though others may need to nurse first.
- Bring bottles to a lukewarm temperature for baby, but don’t heat them in the microwave. Microwaves heat liquids unevenly, creating hot spots that can burn your baby’s mouth. To heat baby’s bottle, hold it under a warm running tap, or boil a cup of water in the microwave and then put the bottle into the cup for a minute or two. Always test liquids on your wrist before giving them to baby.
- Sterilize a new bottle or nipple in boiling water for about five minutes. Because tap water is more reliably clean than it used to be, you don’t need to sterilize these items after the first time.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastfed babies receive a vitamin D supplement: specifically, 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day.
Above all, hold and cuddle baby when you’re giving her a bottle just as much as you would if you were breastfeeding. You’ll make the transition much easier for both of you!