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weaning baby to formulaPin
Mom’s Question:
I have just started to wean my 5, 1/2 month baby, from breastfeeding to bottle and solids, but he hates formula and the bottle. What can I do?

I have also just started to wean my son on to solids, at the beginning of this week. I chose to do this at 5 and a half months, as my family and I are going away on holiday in the first 3 weeks of October, otherwise, I would have left it until 6 months.

I have started him on Rice cereal after his first feed in the morning for the first 3 days, then on the third day I introduced Banana blended in the morning after his second feed, and then again in the evening I introduced Rice cereal, for his dinner. I have found that he has not wanted his breast milk as much; I also noticed he has dropped 2 feeds, as he always had 8 or more breastfeeds in a day.

The thing is I have tried to see if he will take to formula milk in a big bottle, but he does not want to take to it, he wants me. I wonder if he would prefer a smaller bottle? Do you have any tips for me? As I am breastfeeding at home not out and about, will he ever take to the bottle?

As I would like to start going out of the house for walks, will he ever stop wanting his breast milk? This will be a problem for me on holiday, as I don’t feel confident to breastfeed in public, and I want to start to wean him altogether now, will I ever get there?

Can you help me with some information, and tips please, many thanks.

Baby Helpline:

Tips for Weaning Baby to Formula Step By Step

First of all, I want to congratulate you on the successful introduction of solid foods! If your son is already, after only a few days, starting to breastfeed less it means that he eats enough other foods to be content. That is certainly not the case for many babies when starting with solids!

Your problem is that he doesn’t like the idea of switching from breastfeeding to (formula) bottle feeding. My first reaction is that all these changes at the same time might be a little bit too much for your baby. Starting to eat solid foods is a big step and weaning from the breast to the bottle (with formula) at exactly the same time might be a little bit tough.

A few things you can do to try to make him accept the bottle are:

  • Start with feeding him breast milk in the bottle rather than formula.
  • Offer him the bottle while he is in his chair (or on your lap) for his solid foods (so that he doesn’t expect the breast).
  • Give him plenty of time to become familiar with the bottle – more like playing with it, although there is a little bit of formula or breast milk in it.
  • Try different bottles and nipples. Refusing the bottle is quite common for breastfed babies – so common that there are baby bottles and bottle nipples specifically developed for breastfed babies. Two of the most popular ones are the Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle and the Lansinoh mOmma Breastmilk Feeding Bottle. The links are to Amazon, where you can read about their design and the reviews.
  • You’ll find more bottle feeding tips here.
  • Relax! Decide for yourself that if he doesn’t accept formula, you have a plan B. I.e. breastfeeding and pumping and feeding him the milk in a bottle, or reconsidering breastfeeding in public. Babies often pick up our feelings and if you feel pressured and stressed about him not wanting the bottle, he will get nervous about it too.

All this said, it is entirely possible that your baby will continue to reject the bottle for a long time. In that case, you might want to consider a sippy cup if you really don’t want to breastfeed.

It may also be that he simply doesn’t like the taste of the formula. Experiment with different brands, and also try mixing an increasing share of formula in a bottle of breast milk if you manage to get him to accept the bottle with breast milk in it.

Some breastfed babies seem to prefer ready to feed formula – don’t ask me why. My youngest son was like that, and I have heard several other moms say the same. Maybe it is something with texture.

Ready to feed formulas are more expensive, but very convenient if they are only used as when traveling or at night, for example. Here’s a quality formula, available at Amazon.

Pumping breast milk and feeding in a bottle is also an option if he finally accepts the bottle, but not the formula. You can read about different types of breast pumps here.

I understand your stress and concern since your vacation is only a few weeks away. To take away some of the stress for both you and your baby, I think you should also consider if there is any way at all that you could become more confident regarding breastfeeding away from home.

I know that for some mothers it is unthinkable, but it really makes life a lot easier! And trust me, it can be done without anyone even knowing for sure what you are doing if you practice a bit. (I’ve even breastfed in public is a very religious country once on vacation, but don’t tell anybody… :-) )

For tips on how to breastfeed in public in a discrete way, click here.

And here are some videos to empower you to try breastfeeding in public.

Last – even if you don’t think of it that way, you have already started to wean your baby from breastfeeding. That happened with his first spoon of cereal! Many babies wean to solid foods primarily rather that formula.

I think you and your baby seem to be doing just fine in the weaning process, he just needs some time. Continue offering him the bottle, but make some preparations to have a great vacation even if he still refuses the bottle. Never try to push him to wean. it will only slow down the process and make the feeding miserable.

Good luck!
P.S Moms, if you have additional tips for weaning baby to formula or what else to do in this situation, please share by leaving a comment below!

Find answers and comments below.


Sep 17, 2014Response to Paula’s Tips

by: Anonymous

Hi Paula,
many thanks for the information, on weaning from the breast to the bottle, it seems to be working for me, your tips.

I have been offering my expressed milk in a small bottle and he has been playing with the bottle, and he has been taking it better after a day or two, he likes me too hold him in my arms when I feed him from the bottle, just the same way I breastfeed him. I still breastfeed him when he is in the bed with me at night, and then once in the morning, and then one more time before I get up before midday, I do this so it’s a sudden shock for him, and as a treat, for his emotions, and he loves this. Today I offered him his rice cereal mixed with pure banana, strawberry, and peaches and then blended it together to a mixed consistency and he loved it. He has only had one breastfeed today and I have expressed my milk into a bottle for him, already and he still has not had it yet, I’m impressed as to how the rice cereal helps fill him up and keeps him content, and how he has dropped so quick on his breastfeeds, the weaning onto solids is really working for me, also I’m very proud in how he is doing so well doing with this change.

Thanks again, Kelly

Sep 23, 2014Patience!

by: Rita

That is a lot of change at one time, starting solids and weaning off breast. Take it slowly! Try feeding from the bottle at a time that you are not feeding food. When my son was weaning off the breast, I found that he took the bottle better his first feeding in the morning.

Oct 23, 2014still wants my breast after a big bottle feed?
by: Anonymous

Hi there

My baby is 14 days old & I breastfeed through the day and once at night, my husband gives him a bottle with 130mls of my breast milk for the other feed in the night but my baby still wants my breast afterward. Surely he can’t be still hungry? Maybe its for comfort but how can I stop him wanting my boob after a bottle at night, is it to early to introduce the bottle?
many thanks in advance!

Paula @ Easy Baby Life: Congratulations on your baby. Being only 2 weeks old, your baby’s feeding is still being established. Please don’t mess with it at all yet. It is very good that he wants your breast and is able to suckle. Try to endure frequent feeding, whether it is for hunger or comfort. I know it is exhausting, but if you just wait a couple more weeks, you can try to introduce a pacifier after the bottle. It is possible that it is more the sucking need than hunger that makes him want your breast after the bottle.

Also learn how to breastfeed comfortably while lying down, so that you can rest while breastfeeding at night.

Good luck!

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