Tips for Transitioning from Breastfeeding to Bottle-Feeding
The transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding can be a particularly difficult time. Whatever your reasoning for the transition we are here to help. In this article, we will discuss why you may want to transition, when you should transition, and how to do it.
Transitioning from Breastfeeding to Bottle Feeding
For some women, it can be a hard emotional journey to transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding. For other women, they can’t wait to make the transition. In general, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusively breastfeeding for 6 months, and more if you are able. However, some women are unable to do this. Don’t feel bad if you cannot do it, and don’t feel guilty if you want to transition them earlier. All situations are different and require you to make a decision--welcome to parenting.
There are many reasons that women choose to transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding. Your child may not be growing enough on just breast milk, or you may not be producing enough milk to satisfy them. Similarly, you could just be tired of nursing or you cannot get enough time to pump at work. Whatever the reason, we are here to help.
Partial vs Full Weaning
With breastfeeding, there doesn’t have to be an all-in mentality. If you want to continue breastfeeding, you can always try partial weaning. This means that part of the day you are breastfeeding and part of the day they are being bottle-fed. Many women choose to breastfeed at night and bottle feed throughout the day. If this seems like a route you would like to take, these tips will still be helpful.
When Should Your Baby Be Transitioned From Breastfeeding To Bottle Feeding?
Transitioning from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding depends on you and your baby’s preference. Most children will begin to wean themselves around 9-12 months, but some children may want to continue breastfeeding into their toddler stage. In general, making the transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding should be led by your child. Listening to your child’s cues paying attention to their preferences can make weaning much easier. However, you can still decide to wean them before they are ready, it just may take a longer time. As stated earlier, the AAP recommends waiting until they are at least 6 months old, but if you want to do it earlier, you are able to. Some women don’t breastfeed at all. The decision is ultimately up to you.
How do you Wean A Baby?
The transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding can take a while. Make sure you start weaning your baby a few months before you want them to be weaned. Take it slow and steady, not only will this help your child from fussing, but it will help prevent any pain from engorged breasts.
When you are beginning the transition, replace one feeding with a bottle feeding or slowly decrease the amount of time they breastfeed. For example, try feeding them from the bottle first. If they drink from it a little bit and then reject it, you can allow them to breastfeed. Gradually increase the amount of time they feed from the bottle before they get your breastmilk. Once they have adjusted to this (it may take a couple of days or a week) you can then replace another feeding. Gradually you will replace all of your child’s feedings with a bottle-feed. This slow and steady approach is a tried and true method to weaning your baby.
Throughout the transition process, make sure you are paying attention to how your baby is reacting. If they are becoming fussy, not going to sleep, or becoming moody they may not be ready. Some children are easy to wean, but some are not. Even if you are going slowly, some babies may still resist the transition to bottle-feeding.
Tips for Transitioning from Breastfeeding to Bottle Feeding
These tips for transitioning from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding can increase your chances of success.
- Transition using breastmilk. Some children may reject the taste of formula and will not take a bottle because of this. When you are in your early stages of the transition, try using breastmilk in the bottle. This will allow your child to become comfortable with the bottle, and make it easier once you do switch to formula.
- Try different positions. Some children are very particular about the way they feed. Try to keep them in the same position when they are bottle-feeding. Similarly, if they are not positioned correctly they can get reflux. This is uncomfortable and can prevent them from wanting to bottle-feed.
- Try different bottles. There are a variety of different bottles available on the market. Some of them have rounded nipples, others are pointier. Some of the nipples are harder and some are softer. Your child may be unfamiliar with the texture of the bottle and may reject it because of that. Try using different bottles to help with this.
- Try having someone else feed them. Babies who are used to being breastfed may reject a bottle if a breast is nearby. Try having someone else feed them from the bottle.