Introducing formula to exclusively breast-fed baby

Introducing formula to exclusively breast-fed baby

How to transition exlusively breastfed baby to bottle feeding?

Tips to introduce formula to exclusively breast-fed baby

I am a working mum and my maternity leave is getting over soon. My baby is 3 months old and is exclusively breast-fed. I now want to start him on formula but he refuses it as soon as given. Please help.


Introducing formula to exclusively breast-fed baby

A baby who has been exclusively breast-fed for a considerable period of time, transitioning to bottle and formula can be challenging.

Ideally, transitioning from breastfeeding to formula should start at least 4-6 weeks before mother is to join work. This process of introducing formula to exclusively breast-fed baby is not an overnight process and will take time , so be patient.

Here are a few strategies you may try to transition your baby from breast to bottle.



Put breastmilk in the bottle

If your baby is rejecting formula, get a pump and express some breastmilk and start by giving 1-2 oz of that in a bottle. Baby may realize that it is the same milk he is used to in the bottle and may be more accepting to it. Even after you go back to work, you may keep pumping and giving breastmilk to baby as much as you can.

Once the baby is taking breastmilk from bottle, keep adding a bit of formula to it. E.g. for first few days, add 2oz of formula in a 6oz bottle of breast milk. Keep increasing the amount of formula every few days finally giving full bottle of formula.


Ask someone for help

Baby will not take the bottle if he sees you, so ask your husband or mother-in-law or whoever can help you, to feed him with the bottle. He may accept it from someone else. Give yourself a fixed time, half a hour to one hour and do not appear during that time at  all. even if the baby takes only a little, it will be a start and things will progress the next time. Continue this for few days or weeks and then baby may take the bottle even from you.

I remember how it took us days before my daughter started to accept the bottle from my mother-in-law. Once she was used to having milk in a bottle, she allowed even me to offer it to her when needed.


Find the right timing

Choose a time when baby is happy and not too hungry. Do not force the issue if the baby resists. Wait for the next opportunity.  Also, drop only one feeding at a time and listen to baby’s cues. Once baby has started accepting one feed through bottle, you then offer the bottle at next feed too.


Find the perfect bottle

Try different bottle and nipples to figure out which one you baby is most comfortable with. A baby maybe uncomfortable with the flow(slow or fast) of the milk from a nipple. It will take a few hit and trials before your baby takes to a bottle, so be ready for trials.


Spend more time with the baby otherwise

To make the transition smooth, ensure that you spend more time cuddling  and playing with the baby, so that weaning is not tough on the baby or you emotionally. Many mums feel a sense of loss when the process of weaning starts. You must remember that you have done your best and are opting for the best possible solution for you and your baby.

Also, continue to breastfeed your baby whenever you can. If you have any doubts about breastfeeding and formula-feeding simultaneously, do read this article about mixed feeding.


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Author: Priya Sachan

Priya Sachan is the founder and Chief editor of Shishuworld. Mother to a 5 years old girl, she is an avid reader, loves cooking and dabbles in DIY whenever time permits.

One Reply to “Introducing formula to exclusively breast-fed baby”

  1. Sirisha says:

    Hi, my baby is 4 months old now. I have started giving formula milk daily once as i m unable to produce enough milk with spoon, not using bottle.And I have to join back to job once he got 6 months.Do I need to start formula feeding in bottle or as he gets 6 months is it not needed( as we introduce semi solids and solids). Thanks


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