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According to the CDC, 83.2% of infants born in the United States are breastfed at some point. Breastfeeding has always been regarded as a healthy way to feed your baby, but it is not always an option, and it is not always the best option.
This is why baby formula was created, and why it is still commonly used today. Most parents will make the transition from breastmilk to formula, but to do so successfully, there are a few things you must learn.
We’ve compiled a simple guide for you below, so keep reading to learn all you need to know about making this essential switch.
Reasons to Transition
There are many different reasons to make the transition to formula, and all of them are valid. Going back to work and having a more freeing feeding schedule are common reasons to begin introducing baby formula.
The person breastfeeding may need to take a certain medication that is unsafe for the baby, in which case using formula would be the safest option. Perhaps there is not enough breast milk being produced, which would require a formula to fill in.
Some babies have a difficult time staying awake during feeding time, which means they would have a difficult time staying latched. Many babies have a difficult time latching at all.
Now, let’s explore exactly what you need to know about making this transition.
When to Transition
The World Health Organization recommends that babies are breastfed exclusively for the first six months of their lives, meaning they have no water or any other food. After six months, you may introduce additional food such as formula along with continuing breastfeeding until the age of two.
The longer that breastfeeding is an option, the better. Breast milk contains antibodies and essential nutrients that can help the baby grow healthy and strong.
However, breastfeeding is not always an option, especially for six months, and that’s okay.
Searching for a formula closest to breast milk is recommended, generally with a base of cow or goat milk.
How to Transition Successfully
There are two main steps: choosing a formula and strategizing.
First, you want to focus on choosing the best formula.
It’s best to visit your pediatrician’s office for some advice, no matter when you decide to make the transition. You can also work with a specialist that can help you choose between the many different varieties.
Having so many choices on the market today is a good thing, but it can make it more difficult to make a decision and to know that you are making the right one.
Many companies sell baby formula in stages. Stage one usually supports babies from birth to six months, stage two from six months to ten months, and so on.
The most important factor is ensuring that your baby’s unique needs are being met. You also want to make sure they like the formula, which can be tricky. You will most likely have to try a few different kinds before you find the best one for your baby.
If your baby is at risk for developing a milk allergy, you can find a plant-based formula. There are also hypoallergenic formulas and anti-reflux formulas.
One of the most popular types of formulas is the EU organic baby formula.
Many parents choose organic formulas, specifically those with the EU organic certificate because they are guaranteed to not contain harmful substances such as chemical fertilizers. They must also undergo a strict safety check before even getting on the market.
When learning how to transition from breast milk to formula, you’ll find that combination feeding and moderation are the best methods. If possible, you want to take this transition gradually so your baby’s digestive system can get used to the new textures and enzymes.
Generally speaking, a two-week transition period is sufficient for a baby to move from 100% breastfeeding to 100% formula feeding.
To do so, the breast milk would be added to the formula in one bottle, decreasing the amount of breast milk every few days. For an exact schedule with proper measurements, it’s best to consult with your pediatrician.
This type of schedule is not for everyone and is not always a possibility. When this is the case, there are many different strategies and schedules that can be used. Working with your pediatrician is highly recommended.
Tips and Tricks
Using a bottle is very different from breastfeeding, and you should be prepared for many trials and errors.
Finding the perfect bottle isn’t as easy as it sounds. If the baby has been breastfeeding for some time, you’ll want to find a bottle that mimics the breast as much as possible, and those with tight nipples.
If the baby didn’t breastfeed as long and didn’t have to suckle as much for milk, or had a difficult time, bottles with less tight nipples might work best.
Introduce the bottle after a breastfeeding session, adding a little bit of breastmilk to the bottle’s nipple. This can comfort the baby, as it presents the bottle as something already familiar to them.
Breastmilk to Formula: Make the Transition Seamless
Becoming a parent is a beautiful and terrifying thing, especially when you are figuring out how to feed your baby properly. It can be very overwhelming to know when and how to transition from breastmilk to formula, but this guide has got you covered.
It’s not as scary as it seems, but it will take you doing the research and trying a few times before you figure out what works for you and your baby.
If you’d like to learn some more parenting tips, check out our website today.