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The Transition to Formula-Feeding: When & How

Formula is a dried milk powder that is used as an alternative to breast milk. During the first six months of a baby’s life, the nutrients in formula encourage their growth. They can begin eating solids after they are 6 months old. How long breastfeeding is continued during this time depends on your preferences (and of course that of your baby). Read on to understand when it is best to introduce formula.

When to introduce formula

The process of transitioning your baby’s diet to other types of food and drink, primarily formula, is known as weaning. There is no specific age for which you should begin weaning your baby. However, the process can be all the more simpler for both you and your baby if you switch to formula gradually.

You should begin roughly a month in advance if your kid needs to be exclusively bottle-fed by a certain period of time. It also helps you to avoid breast engorgement, which could occur if you stop breastfeeding abruptly or too soon.

It’s probably best to hold off on introducing a bottle until your baby is at least three to four weeks old if you intend to nurse and supplement with formula. By that time, you should have established a feeding schedule and a steady milk supply.

The transition to formula feeding can be a little confusing. Read on to understand how you can introduce formula into your little one’s diet.

How to introduce formula

Start transitioning to formula by replacing breastfeeding with a bottle. Pick a feeding time that your baby seems least interested in or one that is convenient for you. Drop additional breastfeedings one at a time as your baby gets used to the change until you adjust to the schedule you prefer. You can decide to breastfeed your child in the morning and at night, and then provide formula in between. Alternatively, you might prefer to only feed your little one formula. It’s entirely up to you; there is no right or wrong method!

If your baby refuses the bottle

Some infants respond to the bottle more favourably than others. If your baby initially rejects the bottle, consider experimenting with several bottles and teats until you discover one they prefer. Alternatively, offer the bottle to a caregiver or your partner as your infant might associate you with breastfeeding. Give your infant the bottle during a feeding that they are not particularly interested in, hungry or weary because they can be more accepting of it then. You should also be relaxed when you bottle-feed your baby, as babies are very sensitive to the emotions of their mothers.

Maintaining a bond

Nutrition is only one aspect of breastfeeding. One of the reasons you enjoy nursing so much is the skin-to-skin contact you share with your baby. Therefore when you transition your baby to formula-feeding, try to stay as physically close to them as possible so that you maintain that connection. You might want to spend more time playing on the floor, reading, and engaging in other activities that keep you near if your baby is older. Social engagement helps babies develop, and it’s important to keep that relationship going for their health as well.

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