Breastfeeding - Breastfeeding is the natural way to feed your baby and can be the most rewarding for the both of you.
Expressing breast milk - For convenience, expressing your breast milk into a bottle and feed-ing exclusively from the bottle may be an option for you.
Formula feeding - Offering your baby exclusively formula milk and allowing your breast milk supply to stop.
Combination feeding - Offering some feeds from your breast and others from a bottle which can be filled with either expressed breast milk or formula.
How to switch from breastfeeding to bottle feeding
Switching from breast to bottle takes time. Introduce it slowly to give time for you and your baby to get used to the change. You might find that you’re not ready to move on when your mum friends are and that’s ok.
If it doesn’t work a treat straight away, don’t lose faith just keep trying.
Give your baby expressed breast milk from a bottle to get them used to feeding this way.
Assign someone else feeding duty. Your baby will always prefer to be breastfed if they sense mum is close by.
Don’t force it. If your baby is getting very agitated just breastfeed them and try again next time.
Don’t let the air get in. Hold the bottle so the teat and bottle neck are always full of milk. This will help prevent trapped wind and colic.
What is combination feeding?
Combination feeding involves feeding your baby by breastfeeding and bottle feeding, using either expressed breast milk or formula.
Some parents start thinking about combination feeding a few weeks before heading back to work to help their baby get used to being fed from the bottle.
How do I start combination feeding?
It’s generally easier to start combination feeding when you already have a breastfeeding routine in place.
Pick and choose what feeds you’d like to offer from the breast and which you want to give from the bottle. Whatever you decide, try to keep it consistent to establish a new routine.
If you are thinking of switching to formula for the bottle feeds you should be aware that this will reduce the milk you produce. For example, if you decide to switch night feeds to the bottle then your night time supply of milk will eventually stop.
Why won’t my baby take a bottle?
Stick with it. If you’ve made the decision to move onto combination or bottle feeding, it can take time and perseverance.
It can be frustrating if your baby continues to refuse the bottle. But remember that every parent has experienced this challenge at one time or another, ask for advice from friends and family or at your local baby groups.
You can also try:
- Bottle feeding with expressed milk – babies that have been breast fed before will prefer the taste
- Warming the milk to body temperature before feeding
- Let somebody other than mum take over feeding time
- Try different bottle teats to find the best fit
How to switch from breast milk to formula
If you have decided to move on from breastfeeding but feel a little unsure of how to go about it, read our guide to bottle feeding.
How to move on from breastfeeing