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How to Transition From Breastmilk to Formula: The Safest Way
This article provides information on How to Transition From Breastmilk to Formula feeding. The information here is important for parents who want to safely switch their infants or toddlers from nursing to eating solid foods or drinking formula.
If your baby is under a year of age and has never taken a bottle, then you will need to introduce the bottle before you attempt to feed him with it. Knowing how to transition from breastmilk to formula is a slow process. You mustn’t make your baby very hungry or upset while doing so. The decision on when and how to switch between the two types of milk is one every parent faces at some point, but it can help if you know what you’re getting into before starting.
How can I tell if my child is ready for milk?
Every infant is different. If you breastfeed but feel like your child is ready for milk and has stopped nursing as much, there are several ways to tell if your baby will be able to drink from a cup or take formula. How to transition from breastmilk to formula might not be as difficult as it seems, but for many mothers, the idea of this change is upsetting.
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Does your baby sit up unassisted? Can he crawl or walk? Or is he too young for this?
The ability to sit up without help can indicate that an infant will be able to learn to drink from a cup. As such, you do not need to wait until they can walk or crawl before giving them milk; if they can sit up, they should be fine with drinking at least some types of formula.
The ability to crawl and perhaps even walk indicates developmental milestones that indicate that the child is ready to learn, and will have a sense of independence. This can sometimes lead them to play with food or try new things without any encouragement from parents, which is why you should encourage your baby to crawl so they can become used to holding a cup while crawling on their own. As such, if your child has reached these developmental milestones, they may be able to drink from a cup before they are one year old.
Does your infant or toddler eat solid foods?
You’ll want to introduce solids right around the six-month mark at least, but some infants may start eating table foods even sooner. If your baby eats table foods already (and does not show signs of choking), he may also be able to drink from a cup.
Does your child show signs of choking when eating food?
If you think that your child has reached the age where it is appropriate to introduce solid foods (which is generally around six months old), then only give him foods that are soft enough for them to chew without significant risk of choking. This way, the chance of choking should be minimized while he learns how to eat. You may still want to wait until your child is a little older before giving them whole nuts or grapes, but he should be fine with eating at least some types of formula before the age of one.
Are there any medical reasons why my baby cannot drink milk?
Some babies have lactose intolerance and will not be able to drink milk without getting sick. This can sometimes appear as constipation and crying about half an hour after drinking milk, it can also lead to foul-smelling stools and blood in the stool as well as diarrhea. In this case, talk with your pediatrician regarding supplementing with soy-based formula since this does not contain lactose.
In short: If you are breastfeeding, but feel like your baby is ready to take milk from a bottle or cup, you can try giving him formula and see how he does.
Allergy alert: Cow’s milk allergy is very rare in infants under the age of one. If your child shows signs of an allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing or swelling of the face, stop feeding her formula and talk with your doctor immediately.
Most babies start on formula in the early weeks of life without a problem. Some infants with medical complications may need more personalized preparation. Parents must follow instructions carefully when using formulas for the first time.
Breastfeeding is recommended by all major health organizations and continues to be supported by pediatricians around the world as the best feeding solution for infants. The safety of switching your infant’s exclusive diet should always weigh against breastfeeding concerns. The decision to switch should involve discussions between parents, doctors, and other trusted caregivers.
When switching formulas, it is suggested to decrease the volume incrementally. Gradual changes make it easier for your baby to adjust to new flavors and can help reduce spit-up, fussiness, and diaper rash because of the different ingredients in the formula brands.
Each infant has unique nutritional requirements based on development and medical condition so putting together a feeding plan doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s important to work closely with your parents during these early stages so your doctor will have a good idea of how much your child needs to eat.
The following factors can change a baby’s nutritional requirements:
These changes should be passed on to the infant’s doctor so they can adjust their feeding plan accordingly. If your child is sick, it is recommended that you don’t introduce new formula types until they are feeling better.
If you have any questions or concerns, or if your child isn’t doing well with a new formula type, contact their doctor immediately. They will help you decide what to do next so your little one can get the nutrition they need. How to transition from breastmilk to formula isn’t as simple of a process as it seems, but for many mothers, the idea of this change is upsetting.
The first step: How to Transition From Breastmilk to Formula
Properly mix the formula with room temperature water. Make sure it is mixed well and there are no clumps. Alternatively, you can prepare the formula ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready for use.
If your baby’s doctor suggests switching the type of formula they receive, start by mixing a small amount of old and new formula to see how your baby responds. If this step causes negative side effects, stop the feeding immediately to prevent your baby from becoming dehydrated. If there are no negative reactions, you should start slowly replacing the old formula with a new formula.
The first few days to weeks will be difficult as your baby gets used to the taste and consistency of this new diet. Some babies may vomit, have diarrhea, or experience discomfort because their body isn’t adjusted to the new food yet.
The second step: How to Transition From Breastmilk to Formula
Keep your baby’s diet consistent, mixing formula correctly to avoid clumps or bubbles. If bubbles form in the formula, it could cause discomfort for your little ones because they can’t drink around them. If you see a significant amount of bubbles, you may need a new source of water because the impurities in your tap water can cause clumps.
Generally, it is recommended to use room temperature water when mixing formula – not too hot and not too cold. Shots of cool or warm water can alter the consistency of their stool, which is why it’s best to use room temperature water.
If their doctor recommends using room temperature water, always ask them for further clarification because different types of formulas need to be mixed with specific amounts of water. If you don’t follow their guidelines correctly, your baby won’t get the number of nutrients they require and they could become malnourished.
If your baby gets used to drinking cold or warm formula, it’s best to keep them at the same temperature so they won’t have an upset stomach every time you feed them. The only times where you should switch the temperature is if their doctor suggests it for medical reasons, like if they’re sick and need room temperature water instead of their regular formula. How to transition from breastmilk to formula is something that every mother will have to decide on their own.
The third step: How to Transition From Breastmilk to Formula
Transition your baby to a sippy cup. If you want to skip this step and go straight to using regular cups, that is perfectly fine as well; all babies develop differently and some may be ready for sippy cups earlier than others. However, they must learn how to drink from a cup because it will help them be more independent and they won’t have to rely on someone else for their food.
There are two types of sippy cups: Straw cups and non-straw cups. Most bottles come with a cap, usually made out of hard plastic or even metal, which makes it difficult for your baby to suck. The baby can’t get as much out of the straw cup as they would from a sippy cup, so it is best to use non-straw cups if your baby has become accustomed to drinking from a straw.
When first transitioning to a sippy cup, you should hold their bottle and teach them how to drink from a different type of container. If you’re using a non-straw cup, put their lips around the rim of the cup and tilt it up so they don’t spill the formula everywhere. It’s best to use small amounts of liquid at first, like one or two ounces, until they get used to drinking from this type of cup.
Once your baby has learned how to drink properly from a sippy cup, you can start making the formula more diluted. How to transition from breastmilk to formula can be challenging for many mothers. It’s best to make the change gradually, but you need to consider how much your baby needs and ensure that they’re not hungry afterward.