From the breast to the bottle: How to achieve a successful transition?

Breastfeeding is, without a doubt, the best way to feed babies from birth, and the fact is that the ability of mothers to produce food with the nutrients and vitamins that their child needs at each stage of its development is one of the miracles of nature that we never tire of admiring.

Recognized by the World Health Organization as the best food for babies, breast milk guarantees the child’s immune development, a correct digestive process and a totally healthy diet for little ones.

Although many mothers would like to have the time and availability to exclusively breastfeed their babies for at least the first six months and then continue until they are two years old, the reality is that there are a large number of women who, for work reasons or Health cannot do it.

For them, the use of milk formulas or mixed breastfeeding with the bottle represent a great help.

Beginning of the transition

Bottle-feeding cases are as unique as families: from the mother who expresses her milk and stores it for a family member or caregiver to bottle -feed, to the mother who breastfed for a period of time and now they want to start weaning because they are going back to work or because they feel that they no longer feel comfortable with breastfeeding; There are many situations in which the use of the bottle is necessary.

And it is that giving the bottle is not only putting the teat in the baby’s mouth and waiting for the little one to suck, because this involves a process of patience in which mothers must gradually offer the bottle so that the baby adapts to the new texture, the way of sucking and even the taste of the food, in case of starting the intake of follow-on milk or other milk formulas.

mixed breastfeeding

If your case is focused on starting mixed breastfeeding, it is very important to wait until breastfeeding is well established in the newborn, that is, wait between one or two months of age before introducing the bottle.

The reason for this is very simple, if the baby is not yet used to breastfeeding, when offering the bottle he will notice the difference and the ease with which the artificial teat gives more milk with less effort.

Consequently, the effect of sucking on the breast and the production of breast milk will be altered, since it is scientifically proven that it is the natural sucking of the baby and the affectionate bond between him and the mother that generates the hormonal response to increase milk production. milk production.

After two or three months of exclusive breastfeeding, your baby will have the ability to differentiate between the mother’s nipple and the artificial teat, and the affectionate bond will be established enough for the baby to accept breastfeeding even after trying the teat.

Many of these situations have been avoided with the development of ergonomic and silicone teats, which offer a design and texture very similar to that of the mother’s breast, even emulating the dripping of milk so that it is the same as natural and the baby creates that he is taking from the mother’s breast because the effort he makes is the same.

Step by Step

Now, if what you want is to wean the child and completely withdraw from the mother’s breast, we recommend doing it progressively and never suddenly, since such a situation can cause a lot of stress in the child due to the rupture of the bond that breastfeeding represents.

Doing it with patience and respecting the baby’s rhythms will be much easier for the whole family. In this case we recommend alternating the use of the bottle with the breast and start offering the bottle once or twice a day.

Experts on the subject suggest starting with a bottle in the afternoon, as this is the part of the day when milk intake decreases in most cases.

On this aspect, they also point out that you should never replace breastfeeding during the morning and at night at the beginning of the process, since these are the hours most demanded by babies for breastfeeding, with nighttime having a calming effect on the little ones. to fall asleep more easily.

Tips for a successful transition

Respect for your baby and his emotions is key for a successful transition from the breast to the bottle, because your priority will always be the well-being of the little one.

Here are some tips you can apply during this process:

  • Wet the teat with your milk so that the baby is attracted by the taste.
  • Show the bottle to the little one and wait for him to have the initiative to take it to his mouth.
  • Snuggle the baby in your arms as if you were going to breastfeed to convey security.
  • Start with small feedings: do not try to get your baby to drink 60 ml from the bottle on the first day. Start with small amounts so that you can test and become familiar with the suction of the teat.
  • Include the bottle in your routine. For babies it is easier to adapt to the changes that are introduced in their routines, so you can include the bottle after the bath or some specific activity that you do daily.
  • Alternate feeding with other family members. If the mother offers the bottle to the baby and he rejects it, it is probably because he recognizes the smell of breast milk and will not want to drink anything other than the mother’s breast, so it is important that the father or someone else is involved. in feeding the child.
  • Use the correct nipple. Depending on your case, you should get the teat that best suits your baby, especially if you have breastfed him for a long time. For this, it is better to start with slow flow teats while the little one adapts.

Be patient

Weaning is not easy, nor is it easy to start using the bottle. Therefore, patience should be your main tool for this transition process, understanding your baby’s emotions and accompanying him at his pace will help you give him the security he needs to fully accept the bottle as a feeding mechanism. We are sure that with these tips that we summarize you will have more tools to apply the ones you need according to your case. And if you need to buy a bottle, you will find some variants here.

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