The decision of when to move baby from breast to bottle is a personal one, and every mother should do what works best for herself and her baby. Weaning from breast to bottle tends to be easier when you are consistent and follow your baby’s cues.
0-3 Months Weaning
The good news is often the earlier a baby is weaned from breast to bottle the easier it will be. Start slowly, allow baby to get well acquainted with the bottle, which can be done by offering it before each time you breastfeed.
When you feel like your newborn is ready, consistently replace one feeding a day with a baby bottle of warm breast milk or baby formula until finally tapering off nursing completely.
Bottle-feeding at this age is best when it closely mimics breastfeeding. This allows baby to be comfortable while making sure all your littles nutritional needs are met.
Encouraging your newborn to latch on to the baby bottle the breastfeeding way, by bringing the nipple up to the baby's nose and then stroking the nipple gently down to the baby's mouth, will allow your little to latch more naturally.
Just like breastfeeding, switching sides halfway through the bottle builds continuity and ensures a different view and perspective for your baby. Watch for babies' hunger cues and feed on demand, not on a schedule.
This helps to make sure baby is calmer and not in a frenzy.
4-6 Months Weaning
You baby is more attached to breastfeeding at this age. Unlike the newborn stage your little is starting to find comfort as well as nutrition in the breast.
Since baby has become more aware of their surroundings, distraction is a good strategy.
Watch for when your baby is most content during the day and start offering a baby bottle at that time. Over the next several weeks, gradually replace feeding from breast to bottle until completely switched.
Consistency is important. Even a little one that has fought a bottle in the past will opt to feed given enough patience.
6-12 Months Weaning
As soon as your baby is able to sit up, the weaning process can be helped by offering solid foods. Since your baby will get calories elsewhere, nursing will naturally be less often. This milestone can help the introduction of a bottle.
When ready, offer your little one finely mashed banana or pureed sweet potato. While your baby is eating you can offer a baby bottle with warmed formula.
Offering your baby a bottle the same time everyday for several days will help establish a new routine. Establishing a new way to eat will help gradually replace each feeding with a bottle.