Tips for introducing the first bottle
- The first bottle can either be expressed breastmilk or formula.
- Not all formulas are the same, and the first formula you introduce to your baby may make a difference. Investigate all the infant formula differences. Your baby’s doctor is a great resource.
- Introduce a bottle when your baby is calm and not so hungry.
- Briefly nurse on each breast. Then, offer the bottle to your still-hungry baby. If your baby fusses and refuses, calm them by returning them to your breast. Try a bottle again at another feeding.
- Some parents find that mixing infant formula and breastmilk together in a bottle provides a familiar smell and taste for your baby.
- Try to keep the skin-to-skin contact that your baby is used to while you feed a formula bottle.
- Prepare baby formula according to label directions, but make the formula about the same temperature as your breastmilk by placing the bottle in a warm bowl of water.
- Some babies are more receptive to their first bottle of formula if Dad or another loved one offers that first taste.
Creating a schedule
Whether you're trying to introduce bottles with breastmilk or formula, try to make the process gradual. The ideas below should help guide you, but it's important to stay flexible.
- Midday feedings are often the easiest to change. Try offering a bottle at 1 midday feeding for 1-2 days.
- Then try offering a bottle at the midday feeding and the one after that and keep the switch going for 2 days.
- Replace a 3rd breastfeeding with a bottle and keep that routine up for a couple of days.
- Add a 4th bottle feeding after that.
- Continue adding feedings until you reach the number you’d like to maintain. This should take about 10 to 11 days to maintain at least 3 feedings.