Making the Change from Breast Milk to Formula

Making the Change from Breast Milk to Formula: Tips for Success
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants. However, in some cases it may be impractical or impossible for mothers to continue to breastfeed their babies regularly. In these situations, supplementing or replacing breastfeeding with formula can be a convenient and practical way to ensure adequate nutrition for proper growth and development. Babies sometimes resist the switch to formula due to the differences in taste, consistency and delivery method. Here are some tips to help ensure a smoother transition from breastfeeding to formula for most babies.

Don’t Make Sudden Changes

Most babies respond better emotionally and physically to a gradual changeover from breast milk to formula. If your baby is unaccustomed to bottle feeding and has only been breastfed, it is a learning process for both baby and mother to make the change. At the beginning of the process, allow the baby to breastfeed for a few minutes before offering the bottle of formula; this will take the edge off hunger and let the baby concentrate on the new process. Do not be discouraged if your baby refuses the bottle at first. Simply return to breastfeeding, stopping to present the bottle occasionally. Eventually the baby will learn to drink from the bottle and accept formula feedings as readily as breast feeding sessions.

Bait And Switch

Some babies respond better to the transition when they are first offered breast milk in the bottle before formula is substituted. Since parents are basically introducing two new elements into the equation, letting babies become used to the bottle before changing the contents to formula often makes the change easier. For babies who are already accustomed to bottle feeding, this step may not be necessary.

Pass The Buck

One way to lessen the stress associated with the switch from breastfeeding to formula is to allow others to bottle feed the baby during this period. Babies may be more willing to accept formula from a source other than the mother because the normal cues for breastfeeding will not be present, allowing the baby to more easily relax and eat without trying to breastfeed which may occur when in close contact with his or her mother.

While breast milk is generally the healthiest choice for most babies, formula offers solid nutritional value and is more convenient for working mothers, making it a close second to mother’s milk and a choice parents can feel good about.

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