Breastfeeding is best for babies and is recommended for as long as possible. Changing from breastfeeding to bottle feeding is a big decision and one that is difficult to reverse.

If you decide to transition from breast to bottle feeding then it is best to do it gradually, giving yourself time to adapt, and giving your body time to reduce your milk production. When starting off, try replacing one breastfeed a day with a bottle – or toddler cup if your baby is over six months. This should help ease you and your baby into the new experience.

Follow the tips below to ease the transition from breast to bottle feeding:

  • Introduce formula gradually by replacing one breastfeed a day to begin with.
  • Give the first few bottles when your baby is happy and relaxed – not when they’re really hungry or seeking comfort.
  • It can take time for your baby to get used to the bottle, so keep trying but don’t force it.
  • Try a variety of different teats until you find one your baby is happy with.
  • Try adjusting the temperature of the formula until you find one your baby is happy with - remember your breast milk is always the same temperature and this is what your baby is used to.
Preventing your baby from confusing your breast with the bottle

If possible, ask someone else to give the first few bottle feeds. It might cause confusion if you are the one to give you baby their first taste of formula as they associate you and your smell with breastfeeding. You may choose to go out of the room or out of the house altogether as knowing you are around will make it more likely that your baby will hold out for breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is best for babies and is recommended for as long as possible. However, breastfeeding is not always possible and you may choose to combine breastfeeding with bottle feeding. If you are considering combining the two, it is important to be aware that this will reduce the amount of milk your body produces and it may be difficult to reverse the decision.

It is best to wait at least eight weeks, with breastfeeding established, before combining breast and bottle feeding as starting any sooner might affect your milk supply. You may only want to give one bottle feed a day, or you might choose to do more; either way follow the same tips in the section above and introduce the bottle feeds gradually.

Breast feeding is best for babies and is recommended for as long as possible. If you have any questions about the transition from breast to bottle feeding, please contact your health visitor or GP.

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