Introducing Bottle Feeding
Transitioning from breastmilk to formula
If you plan to transition from breastmilk to formula, consult this chart to help you ease through the transition. All babies transition differently, so be sure to introduce formula gradually to give your baby time to adjust.
Over a 14-day period, use the chart below as a general guide for gradually replacing breastfeedings (indicated by squares) with bottle-feedings (indicated by hearts). Start by replacing one midday breastfeeding with a bottle of breastmilk or iron-fortified formula. After several days, replace another daily breastfeeding. Continue this way until you’re down to the number of breastfeedings you want to maintain.
Tips for transitioning
Some babies adapt smoothly to a bottle; others take more time. Try these tips to ease the process:
- Introduce the bottle when your baby is calm and not so hungry. Bottle-feeding the first time won't go well if your baby is frantic.
- First, allow her to nurse briefly on each breast. Then, offer the bottle to your still-hungry baby. If she fusses and refuses the bottle nipple, calm her by returning her to the breast for a few minutes. Try a bottle again at the next feeding.
- Some babies take a bottle more easily when someone other than Mom offers it. Let Dad or another family member feed your baby. Whoever gives her the bottle should snuggle with her to maintain the close contact that she’s used to while breastfeeding.
- Warm the bottle under warm running water so the formula is closer to the natural temperature of breastmilk. Don’t heat a bottle to a temperature greater than body temperature, and be sure to never use a microwave.
- Talk to and touch your baby while you feed her the bottle.
Learn more about formula options.