Moving from breastfeeding to bottle feeding

It’s best to wait until your baby is 3 to 4 weeks old and breastfeeding has been established before introducing a bottle. If you’re planning on returning to work, try to begin bottle feeding at least two weeks before your start date, so you can work out any difficulties well ahead of time.

Feeding from a bottle may take your baby a while to get used to.

Top tips for a smooth transition from breast to bottle:

  • Offer your baby a bottle a little later than their regular feeding time so they will be hungry and interested.
  • Let someone else feed your little one the very first bottle, so they don’t get confused about why you’re not breastfeeding.
  • Try to be out of the house when someone else bottle feeds your baby for the first time. Babies can smell their mother from a distance of at least 20 feet, and they may know that you’re around even if you're in another room.
  • Bottle feeding can feel as nurturing as breastfeeding if you cuddle your baby close.
  • Your baby may not feed well when you aren’t home, and if you are away all day, your baby may begin waking more frequently at night. Don't be surprised if this happens and use these quiet and intimate times to reconnect with your little one.

If your baby resists feeding from a bottle, you could try these techniques:

  • Use a bottle teat that is similar to your baby’s soother.
  • Heat the teat with warm water to make it more appealing.
  • Put some breast milk on the teat, to encourage your baby to suck.
  • Let your baby play with the teat so they can familiarise themselves with it.
  • Try holding your baby in a different position. Put them in a baby seat or car seat so they are semi-upright, and then feed them the bottle while facing them.
  • Once your baby is used to taking a bottle, you can try reverting back to your usual technique for feedings.

Please be aware that the information given in these articles is only intended as general advice and should in no way be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you or your family or your child is suffering from symptoms or conditions which are severe or persistent or you need specific medical advice, please seek professional medical assistance. Philips AVENT cannot be held responsible for any damages that result from the use of the information provided on this website.

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