How to Transition From Breastmilk to Formula?

61 hours of research 5 minute read

" Transitioning from breast milk to baby formula does not need to be difficult, it helps knowing what to expect. A few simple tips can alleviate the some of the most common hurdles during transitioning. "
Baby Formula Protein Source 1

Many mothers find it difficult to transition from breastfeeding to formula feeding. You may want to return to work, or you may simply want to provide your baby with the best formula milk available, which will provide him or her with all of the nutrients required for growth and development. Whatever the reason, there are a few things you should be aware of when making the transition.

In this article we’ll cover:

  • Facts about transitioning
  • Strategies for easing the transition
  • Recommended products that help with transitioning

Facts About Transitioning From Breastmilk

  1. It is extremely convenient as both parents and caregivers can feed the baby a bottle at any time. This enables mothers to share responsibilities with their partners while also becoming more involved in the critical feeding process.
  2. Since formula is less digestible than breast milk, formula-fed babies typically need to eat less frequently than breastfed babies.
  3. Moms who choose formula feeding do not have to be concerned about what they eat or drink because it will not affect their babies.
  4. There is no need to pump or plan work or other obligations and activities around the baby's feeding schedule. In addition, formula-feeding mothers are not required to find a private place to nurse in public. Once the bottles are prepared, a formula-feeding mother can leave her baby with a partner or caregiver and be confident that her child's feedings will be met.

Tips for Transitioning to Formula Milk

Transitioning to the formula is a significant step that you should begin as soon as possible. While the actual transition can take anywhere from a few days to several months, there's no reason you shouldn't start as soon as possible, especially if your baby is suffering from colic or other digestive issues.

The best way to tell if it's time to start your baby on formula is to look at their poop every day. If it appears runny or has an unusual color or odor, it could be because their body isn't digesting breast milk properly and requires assistance in breaking down the nutrients so they don't feel sick all day (or night).

1. Hold your baby in your lap

This will be a lot easier if you have a sling or baby carrier, but it can be done with just about any sort of clothing. The key is to keep your baby as close to your center as possible, so that you are able to feed him with one hand while holding him with the other. You'll want to support his head and neck so he doesn't flail around too much (a sleeping baby is generally easier than one who's awake). This may take some practice before it feels comfortable, especially if you're used to feeding in more traditional ways. However, once mastered, this method has many advantages:

  • It allows both parents and babies alike more freedom of movement in their everyday lives without sacrificing nutrition or comfort;
  • It prevents breast milk from spilling onto clothing due to its closeness;
  • Some research indicates that the act itself provides some additional benefits such as increased bonding between parent and child

2. Give your baby the bottle

First, position your baby's head so that it is tilted slightly downwards. This will help keep the milk from spilling off of his/her chin and down into their clothes.

Next, gently guide his/her mouth onto the nipple until he/she begins to suck on it. Make sure not to push too hard—you want them to be comfortable while drinking from the bottle!

Once you've got that down, try adjusting his/her hands so they're holding onto the side of the bottle instead of grasping at your fingers or hand (this lets him/her get used to feeding alone). Here are some other tips:

  • If he/she seems uncomfortable with being held upright, try sitting him/her up against a pillow on your lap instead; this will also help him/her maintain a good posture while eating!

3. Other tips for a smooth transition to formula feeding

  • Introduce the bottle slowly. If your baby doesn't want to take a bottle at first, don't worry about it.
  • Don't rush to introduce a bottle if your baby doesn't want it.
  • Don't worry about the amount of formula your baby takes in when you're first starting out with formula feeding; just make sure he's having enough wet diapers and gaining weight at an acceptable rate.
  • Don't worry about your baby's stool: after all, breastfed babies sometimes have loose stools even when they're getting enough nutrition in their diet!

What is The Best Age to Start Transitioning From Breastmilk to Formula Milk?

When your baby is ready, you can begin transitioning from breastmilk to formula. There is no set time for this, and some babies are ready at three months, while others are ready at six months. You can transition early or late.

If your baby continues to be hungry after being offered a bottle and has begun to resist breastfeeding more than usual (e.g., pulling away or pushing the nipple away), it may be time to begin transitioning to formula!

Formula feeding stages are based on baby age

The formula milk requirements of your baby change at each stage. Make sure you feed him/her the appropriate one at the appropriate time!

0-6 Months Stage 1
6-12 Months Stage 2
12+ Months Stage 3 or Stage 4

How to Transition From Breastmilk to Formula at 3 Months

Early weaning can be easier because your baby isn't as attached to breastfeeding as he will be a few months later. You'll need to familiarize him with the bottle, which you can do by offering it before each breastfeeding session and then discontinuing nursing entirely.

How to Transition From Breastmilk to Formula at 6 Months

By 6 months, your baby has likely grown attached to his favorite source of nourishment: your breasts. So weaning might be more difficult.

A little distraction never hurts anyone, and it’s especially helpful at around 6 months, when he starts to notice the world around him. Start gradually with the daily feeding he’s least interested in, and then taper off from there.

How to Transition From Breastmilk to Formula at 9-12 Months

Some babies will self-wean between the ages of 9 and 12 months, making the process much easier. Nursing for a shorter period of time, fussing or being easily distracted while nursing, or frequently pulling at or biting at the breast instead of eating are all signs that your sweetie is losing interest.

When Is Extra Protein Needed For Infants?


Partial weaning

Partial weaning occurs when you intend to continue breastfeeding but require some formula supplementation. This could be as simple as substituting formula for one of the day's feeds.

We recommend trying a few different formulas with your baby to see which one they respond best to. Once you've found one they're willing to take, you can simply start feeding them with a formula bottle instead of breastmilk. If multiple bottles will be given, a more gradual weaning strategy should be used.

Gradual weaning

When you decide to stop feeding your baby breastmilk, the first step is to gradually reduce the amount of breastmilk you're offering. This will give your baby time to adjust and help prevent or decrease any potential problems with digestion.

  • When should I wean off breast milk? You can introduce the formula as soon as you feel ready. If you don't want to wean yet, that's okay! You may just not be ready for the transition. Wait a little longer before starting this process if your baby seems content with exclusive breastfeeding (feeding only breastmilk).
  • How do I reduce my milk supply? Once you're ready to move on from exclusive breastfeeding and start introducing formula, it's important that both mom and baby are comfortable with this change in routine. It's best if both mom and dad are present during these times so they can take turns holding the baby while giving him or her a bottle in between feedings. Some moms find it helpful to pump their milk ahead of time so they have something ready when they need it later on in case their child isn't eating solids yet (this can happen after six months old).

Hipp and Holle Baby Formulas Are Closest To Breastmilk

Hipp and Holle baby formulas are closest to breast milk. They are lactose-free and contain the same ratio of proteins, fats and carbohydrates as breast milk. They’re made with milk from cows who have been fed a natural diet that is free from artificial growth hormones, pesticides and antibiotics.

These formulas sit at the top of their class for being closest to breast milk in terms of nutrient content.

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No starch

HiPP's most popular formula

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hipp baby formula guide

HiPP Dutch Stage 1 is the most effective substitute for breastfeeding. It is very similar to breast milk. If your baby is six months or older, HiPP Dutch Stage 2 is the best option, as it contains the same great ingredients.

Clean formula ingredients

Demeter biodynamic certified

Contains natural whey, DHA, & ALA

Holle's most popular cow formula

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holle cow milk formula

Holle Cow Milk formula is ideal for bottle-feeding exclusively or supplementing with breast milk. Holle Cow formula is great because it contains 99 percent organically grown ingredients and is Demeter certified. The formula is easily digestible and provides all of your newborn's nutritional needs.

Clean formula ingredients

Demeter biodynamic certified

Contains natural whey, DHA, & ALA

Contains A2 milk protein for easier digestion

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holle a2 cow milk formula

Holle Cow A2 formula contains A2 milk sourced from specific cows that only produce A2 beta-casein protein. This formula contains A2 milk because the structure of A2 proteins is similar to that of breast milk and is therefore easier to digest. This is why it is ideal for babies.

Switching from Breastmilk to Formula

There are many ways to make the transition from breastmilk to formula milk. You must consult with your doctor to find out what’s best for you and your baby. Based on my own experience, I would suggest going at a slow pace if possible, so that your baby has time to adjust before making any sudden changes. With these tips and some patience, transitioning from breastmilk to formula doesn't have to be stressful or painful for either of you!

When choosing the best formula, many parents look for the formula closest to breastmilk to ensure their baby receives similar nutrients and benefits. Additionally, some parents find it helpful to learn how to mix formula and breastmilk during the transition period to make the process smoother for their baby.

Remember, every baby is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Stay patient, be attentive to your baby's needs, and seek support when necessary. With the right approach and mindset, you can make this transition a positive experience for both you and your little one.

Easy Formulas To Help Transition From Breastmilk

  1. HiPP Dutch Stage 1
  2. Holle Cow Milk Formula
  3. Holle Cow A2 Formula