Tips for Parents: Transitioning from Breastmilk to Formula Milk
Breastmilk is universally acknowledged as the best form of nutrition for infants and its benefits extend beyond satiating hunger. However, due to a multitude of reasons, some parents choose to stop breastfeeding and transit their children to formula milk.
If you have been breastfeeding and intend to switch to formula milk for your babies, there are some things to take note of.
Reasons for changing from breastmilk to Formula
- Insufficient breastmilk supply
- Medical reasons
- Self-weaning or desire to stop breastfeeding
- Inconvenience encountered when expressing milk at work
Hunger Cues for babies
Babies start showing signs of hunger by nuzzling, hand-sucking or rooting for the nipple or teat. If there are not fed, they will fuss, get upset and cry. Crying is usually the last hunger cue and it is better to calm your baby down before feeding him or her.
Choosing a baby bottle
If you are transitioning your child from direct latching to formula feeding, select a baby bottle with an anti-colic air vent to prevent excessive intake of air. Do choose a teat that is recommended for your child’s age. You may need to go through a few bottles of various brands and models before settling on one which your baby likes.
How to transit from breastmilk to formula milk
An abrupt switch from breastfeeding exclusively to formula milk in a bottle may be hard to accept for baby and mother. Breasts operate on a supply and demand basis for breastmilk and switching entirely may cause engorgement which could lead to mastitis, a painful and serious condition.
Try to start by swapping one milk feed with formula milk in a bottle. If your infant is already used to drinking expressed breastmilk from a bottle, he or she may take to formula easier as formula milk tends to be sweeter than breastmilk. If you are expressing breastmilk, space out your pumping intervals and drop pumps slowly and gradually. This allows the breasts to condition to the lowered output of breastmilk needed.
Babies who are used to direct latching may not take to milk bottles easily and may refuse feeds. An option is to let another caregiver try feeding the child with formula milk while mummy is out of the house. If you are feeding your child with the bottle, hold him or her close when feeding, to mimic the close bond experienced during latching.
Choosing formula milk
Check our Guide to Choosing Formula Milk to make an informed decision on the right formula brand to buy for your infant. All formula milk sold in Singapore is tested for safety in accordance with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA)’s guidelines and is nutritionally adequate for your infant’s needs, regardless of price.
How to prepare formula milk for babies above 6 months old
To prepare Einmilk milk powder (Stage 2 Follow-Up Formula) for babies between 6 months to 12 months old, pour 180ml of lukewarm water into the bottle and add 6 level scoops of Einmilk formula into the bottle. Cap and mix well until the powder is dissolved.
The full transition process may take weeks or months and requires patience from all the caregivers. Do you have other tips to share with fellow parents on how to transition from breastmilk to formula milk too?