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Switching From Breast Milk to Formula

Some Ideas to Make the Switch Easier

Here are some suggestions that might make the switch from breastfeeding to formula feeding easier.
  • Ideally, weaning from breastfeeding is best done by eliminating one breastfeeding session every two to five days. Midday feedings are probably best to start with because babies tend to be more attached to the first and last feedings of the day for comfort reasons.
  • It can be helpful to have someone other than the mother offer a breastfed baby a bottle to assist with some of these challenges. Doing so could take away the confusion or the frustration if they know the new person has not been a source of breast milk in the past.
  • You may want to try keeping all other elements of your normal feeing rituals the same. Making as few changes as possible is usually met with the best results.
  • Before making the switch completely, try breaking the routine one step at a time. Try giving breast milk in the bottle for a week or so before introducing the formula.
  • Introduce a bottle when your baby is not extremely hungry. He or she may be more patient when trying it out.

Different Outcomes With Baby Formula

Something parents are quick to notice when they have switched their baby to formula is the change in the baby's stools. Because it takes longer for a baby to digest formula than breast milk, the stools will be more formed and drier than those of breastfed babies. During this longer digestion period, the milk has a greater opportunity to ferment, which can cause smellier output than before.
Another change that tends to be well received is the increased length of time between feedings. The longer digestion times can extend the time that your baby will be satisfied. The time between feedings can get up to three to four hours.
(Click Newborn Feeding Schedule to learn more about how much and when to feed your baby formula.)
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