Moving from breastfeeding to bottle feeding

It’s best to wait until breastfeeding is established before introducing a bottle and there are some useful tips to make the breast-to-bottle transition easier.
You should wait until your baby is 3 to 4 weeks old before introducing a bottle. If you’re planning on returning to work, begin bottle feeding at least two weeks before your start date so you can work out any glitches 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 bit later than their regular feeding time so they will be hungry and interested.
  • Let someone else feed them their 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 be just as nurturing physically as breastfeeding if you cuddle your baby close.
  • Some babies like to be held in a nursing position when drinking from a bottle, while others find that position disconcerting.

  • Some babies don't eat very much when their mother isn't home, and if you are away from your baby all day they 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 baby.

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

  • Use a bottle nipple that is similar to your baby’s pacifier.
  • Heat the nipple with warm water to make it more appealing.
  • Put some breast milk on the nipple. When your baby tastes it they may start sucking to get more.
  • Let your baby play with the nipple so they can familiarize 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 they’re used to taking a bottle, you can hold them as you usually would 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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