Breast to Bottle: Tips for a Smooth Transition

Even if your baby is breastfeeding now, you may eventually want to supplement with or transition to a bottle. Introducing or changing feeding methods can often be difficult. But the following tips can help make the transition easier for both you and your baby.

  • Pick the right time. Introduce a bottle an hour or so after a feeding, not when your baby is hungry.
  • Have the right equipment. Experiment with bottles and nipples to find the ones that work best. Although there’s no “right” nipple shape, the nipple’s hole can make a difference. If it’s too big, it can cause your baby to gag; and if it’s too small, your baby may have to work too hard to draw out liquid.
  • Know when to enlist help. Ask for bottle-feeding help from someone else (who doesn’t smell like you). Have your partner, a grandparent, or a caregiver give bottle feeding a try.
  • Offer a sample. If you’re pumping milk into a bottle, put a few drops on your baby’s lips as a sample. Some moms start by pumping breastmilk to deliver via a bottle—or even mix breastmilk and formula together in the bottle. This helps babies adjust to this new method before changing over to formula exclusively.
  • Watch your baby for cues. If a bottle-feeding session isn’t going well, it’s OK to stop and take a break. Sometimes it’s best to try again later, after your baby has calmed down.
  • Let baby lead the way. As he drinks from a bottle, give your baby the opportunity to pause and restart, just as you did with breastfeeding. This will help him realize that the two feeding processes are similar.
  • Take your time. To make the transition easier, try supplementing breastfeeding with our wide selection of Enfamil products.
  • Feel the love. Both bottle feeding and breastfeeding provide an opportunity for you and your baby to snuggle and relax. Feed your baby just as you did from your breast—with lots of skin and eye contact and affection.