As the infant grows into a toddler or when the mother is planning to return to work, the mother will start to plan ahead by introducing formula to her baby who has been breastfed exclusively. This process is not easy for both mother and child.
Mothers need to make this transition as easy and as bump-free as possible.
How to introduce formula to a breastfed baby
These are some steps recommended by paediatrician and some experienced mothers:
- Mix formula with breast milk in a 25:75 ratio.
The taste of formula is different from breast milk, and the first step is to get them used to it. Introduce the taste of formula by preparing a bottle mixed with 25% formula and 75% breast milk and it would be preferable to feed this mixture before a nap.
This introduction stage is important for two reasons.
- It helps them get used to the taste of formula
- It enables you to gauge their reaction to formula. Most parents record constipation, gas, diarrhoea as well as other adverse effects like rashes, bloody stool, and fever.
Assessing their reaction to the first taste, you would know if you should continue or consult a paediatrician for help.
- Mix formula and breast milk in a 50:50 ratio.
Increasing the dosage for formula will help your baby adapts better and yet still find the familiarity in the taste of breast milk. Depending on your baby’s reaction and adjustment, you can proceed to a full formula feeding.
- Give them the full effect
You’re not out the woods yet. Your baby might decide that he does not like the full formula and you may end up at the starting point again. Consider substituting one of his mixed meals for a bottle of formula. If he does not fuss, continue until he adjusts fully.
Some babies refuse the bottle. Don’t get frustrated. Try having someone else offer them the bottle. Most babies would not accept bottle from their mothers because they know that they can get the real deal from them.
If you notice some undesirable reaction, you should visit your paediatrician or a lactation consultant to get a professional opinion.