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How to make the transition to bottle-feeding babies

If you are wondering how to make the smooth transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding, worry no more! Here are the tips to follow to ease the process for you and your child.

Some mothers exclusively breastfeed their baby for the first six months but this might not be possible for all moms, either because they are returning to work or for many other reasons. Bottle feeding babies for the first time can be difficult for some, while others take to it quickly. Every mother has mixed emotions about weaning her baby but remember that babies are quick to adapt and are happy if their tummies are full. Here are a few tips for babies who are transitioning into bottle feeding.

Also, read our blog on how to clean baby bottles 

Avoiding bottle feeding babies problems– Transitioning smoothly

Make sure that you have provided enough time to get your baby used to the bottle. It should take 2 weeks for your baby to adjust. Whether you plan to combine breastfeeding with bottle feeding or switch entirely over to the bottle, you need to prepare yourself for what to expect. Drinking milk from a bottle requires your baby to get used to sucking in a different way to when he or she is breastfeeding. Changing feeding habits should ideally not be stressful. All bottle feeding babies settle down soon enough but transitioning can be made easier with these insights:

1. Timing is important:

When you give the bottle for the first time, make sure your baby is not hungry. Making them try something new at such a time is only going to make them more irritable. The best time is one hour after they have breastfed.

2. Get some help:

Babies associate the smell of their mom with breastfeeding. They might be resistant to trying a bottle if they can get the smell of mom anywhere nearby. It would be a good idea to get dad to give the bottle while your baby is still new to it. He can bond with the baby too as someone who provides food as well as hugs, just like mom.

3. Keep the contact:

Babies get a lot of skin contact, eye contact and a warm hug as they breastfeed. Make sure that you maintain this skin contact and affectionate murmuring as you give them the bottle. Never prop them up with a bottle while you sit away.


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4. Experiment with bottle nipples:

Breastfed babies are used to milk coming in at a slower rate than what they will get in a bottle. They tend to gag if the flow is too strong. If your baby is finishing a bottle in less than 10 minutes, it means the flow is too fast. Ideally a baby should take at least 15 to 20 minutes. Experiment with nipples or look out for a slow flow nipple that will make your baby more comfortable.

5. Switching over to formula:

Getting your baby to try formula for the first time might be a little tricky. A good idea would be to rub some breast milk on the nipple to get them to start sucking. You can even express breast milk into the bottle to get baby to accept the bottle more easily. Once they are used to sucking the bottle, they are ready for formula.

6. Let your baby set the pace: 

A baby is used to stopping and starting as they like when breastfeeding. Let them do the same when they are taking the bottle as well. If they nod off as they tend to do when breastfeeding, you can tap gently on their cheek to get them sucking again. Make sure you tilt the bottle so that liquid flows gently into the nipple and the baby does not suck air. You must interrupt the feed, every few ounces, to burp them.

Common bottle feeding babies problems

If your baby resists taking to the bottle in spite of your best efforts, don’t get frustrated. There are still a few things you can try to get over the bottle feeding babies problems that some parents face.

1. Use a nipple similar to her pacifier:

If your baby is used to sucking on a pacifier, then you have a solution at hand. Most pacifiers have a latex nipple. Buy a bottle with a latex nipple rather than a silicon one and your baby might find the transition easier.

2. Let your baby chew on the nipple:

Offer the baby only the nipple for a while and let her chew or suck on it like a pacifier. Then when you attach the bottle to it with the formula she might be more ready to accept it.

3. Proper positioning:

If your baby is not comfortable, they might refuse the bottle. To begin with, hold them in the same position as they would be when breastfeeding. You could also try holding him sitting with his back against you and give him the bottle.

4. A feeding aversion:

Does your baby cry when they see the bottle or turn their head away? Do they have a higher frequency of reflux? If babies associate discomfort with feeding, they will develop an aversion to even the sight of a bottle. Make sure that your baby is not allergic to milk or formula. It is best to consult your child’s doctor if there is a possibility.

Bottle feeding newborn baby tips are the same with one significant difference. They will need 8 to 10 feedings a day. This means that every 2 to 3 hours, you must have a bottle ready. Don’t be worried that your newborn is not getting enough as they seem to know exactly how much they need. If they seem content, then you know you are doing it right. From the start, make feeding time an opportunity to bond with your baby. You can also connect with top paediatricians from your city on the mfine app to ensure that your baby is getting the best nutrition.

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