A change in feeding methods can be tricky. We’ve got seven tips to help make transitioning to bottle feeding easier.
Even if your baby’s currently breastfeeding, eventually you might want to go from breast to bottle or you might choose to supplement or shift to formula-feeding completely.
1. Pick the right time
Introducing a bottle an hour or so after a feeding can give your baby a chance to try it while they’re relaxed and not hungry or fussy. It’s also a good idea to set aside plenty of time to help ease your baby into trying the bottle in case they don’t initially show interest.
2. Get the right equipment
Experimenting with bottles and nipples can help you find the ones that work best for your baby. Although there’s no “right” nipple shape, the nipple’s hole can make a big difference. If it’s too big, it might cause your baby to gag. If it’s too small, it may be difficult for your baby to draw out liquid.
3. Enlist help
Ask for bottle-feeding help from someone who doesn’t smell like mommy’s milk. Have your partner, a grandparent, or a caregiver try bottle feeding your baby at first.
4. Offer a sample
Give your baby a few drops on their lips as a sample. Some moms start by feeding their baby breast milk via a bottle. This helps babies adjust to the new method before changing over to formula exclusively.
5. Watch your baby for cues
If a bottle-feeding session isn’t going well, it’s okay to stop and take a break. Sometimes it’s best to try again later after your baby has calmed down.
6. Follow your baby’s lead
As your infant drinks from a bottle, give them the opportunity to pause and restart, just like breastfeeding. This helps them realize that bottle and breastfeeding are similar.
7. Feel the love
Both bottle-feeding and breastfeeding give you and your baby a chance to snuggle and relax. You can still feed them like before, with lots of skin and eye contact and affection.
Now look at you, you’ve helped your baby go breast to bottle! If you’d like more information about making the switch to formula-feeding, learn more here.