Tips for a smooth transition: Switching from breastmilk to formula

Tips for a smooth transition: Switching from breastmilk to formula

April 07, 2018

Do you want to switch from breastfeeding to formula feeding, but are finding it not to be so easy? As a matter of fact, when starting to switch from breast milk to formula, most of the babies are simply overwhelmed. The truth is that there have only been a few babies in this world that handled the switch from the breast to the bottle smoothly. Here is why:

The first thing a baby learns in the world is to feed on its mother's breast in order to exist. As time goes by your baby knows the procedure perfectly: sucking on the nipple (and a part of the areola) in order to create a vacuum, molding the breast on the palate, using the tongue to milk the elixir that keeps him calm and satisfied.

When switching to a bottle and formula, suddenly everything is different and very confusing. The nipple feels, smells and tastes differently. The baby just has to open the mouth enough to the bottle nipple. Forget about the former procedure. Strong sucking is not necessary any longer, because there is a constant stream of milk. And where is mommy's smell and skin, the source of life and protection?

Baby formula bottle

Even for grown-ups, it is not easy to change their habits. No wonder that babies have problems with switching from the breast to the bottle! But worry not! Here we list some recommendations on how you can smooth the transition from breastmilk to formula:

  1. Introduce baby formula slowly. First, breastfeed your baby, but not completely full. Offer him the bottle near the end. Slowly increase the amount of baby formula until you can substitute the entire feeding. Wait at least a week before you start substituting the next feed. The best would be not to take the subsequent feed, but another one.
  2. Mix the breast milk and baby formula, and then stretch it more and more.
  3. Offer the baby the bottle, before it is hungry. During the regular feeding time, it is not always the best for new experiments. Try to feed your baby when it is sleeping or half asleep.
  4. Find a good technique. Do you cradle your baby usually? Try something different. Place him on your lap, sit him up or tilt the bottle.
  5. Move while feeding. Maybe your baby takes the bottle more easily if you walk with him or you swing him. Experiment! Try to feed it when sitting in the car seat, for instance.
  6. Tickle him into it. Try to get your baby to grab the nipple of the bottle by himself. Touch or tickle his lips, that works for sure.
  7. Find a good setting. Wrap your baby in a cloth that smells like you.
  8. Find the right bottle nipple. Try different nipples, like silicon or natural rubber etc., different shapes, sizes/hole sizes, (always organic)
  9. Warm the nipple of the bottle with warm water up to body temperature - unless your baby is teething; then the nipple should be cool and soothing.
  10. Find the right baby formula. The reason for trouble might be that your baby doesn't like the sort of baby formula. Or it cannot tolerate the baby formula. Talk to your doctor. We have had countless parents tell us that their baby was fussy or experiencing discomfort before they switched to our organic baby formula: Holle and Lebenswert. Or perhaps your baby has a cow dairy sensitivity and would do better with Holle Goat formula.

And last but not least:

  • Hand over the bottle feeding to someone else. That seems to be cruel on the first read, but it is reasonable. Why should your baby drink from a bottle, if the divine smelling food source is right there?

    Your baby will learn with time and by feeling and experiencing it that it gets as much protection, love and nourishment by formula feeding as before by nursing.

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