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  Bottle feeding – Switching from breastfeeding
My baby is 4 months old and I have to go back to work in 6 weeks time. I have decided that I would rather give my baby formula than try to express milk for the feeds that I will miss. Please can you help me to make the process as easy as possible for baby?

You have done well to make the decision in advance so that you have plenty of time to start supplementing feeds in an easy and unstressed manner. In general the optimum time to start offering a supplementary feed is when baby is around six weeks old. At this age the breastfeeding is well established but not to the extent that baby will reject the bottle. Remember this is a very broad generalisation and that every baby is an individual! For this reason it may be necessary to enlist help, so that the introductory formula feeds are not given by you.

Make sure that your helper ensures that the experience is a loving and positive one for the baby, with lots of cuddling and chatting. If it’s not possible to have help in this situation then try to wear heavy clothing between you and the baby and try gentle distraction. When introducing the first formula feed, both you and the hungry baby should be in a positive frame of mind. Once you have successfully introduced one feed per day, stick with that one feed for a week or ten days before introducing another feed. This helps baby to get used to the new situation and will reduce your levels of discomfort, as the milk will initially build up in expectation of the missed feed.

See also:

Bottle feeding - Advantages

Bottle feeding - Choice of teat

Bottle feeding - Choosing the best formula

Bottle feeding - Combining with breastfeeding

Bottle feeding - Drawbacks

Bottle feeding - Intolerance/Allergy to Cow's Milk

Bottle feeding - Physical contact and Propping

Bottle feeding - Practical guidelines

Bottle feeding - Pros and cons

Bottle feeding - Quantity

Bottle feeding - Reducing mother's milk supply

Bottle feeding - Travelling


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