Switching from Breast Milk in a Bottle to Formula

Updated on December 12, 2009
C.M. asks from Frisco, TX
9 answers

I posted recently about the best formula for a baby with reflux and how to dry up my milk supply. I truly appreciate all of the helpful and kind replies I received.

My baby boy is taking breast milk through a bottle (no direct nursing) and we will be switching to formula. He has acid reflux so I'm seeking advice on how to switch him to formula...

Should I -

1) Gradually introduce formula, like 1 oz formula and 3 oz breast milk for a few days then 2 oz formula and 2 oz breast milk for a few days, then 3 oz formula and 1 oz breast milk for a few days, then finally all breast milk. (I have a frozen supply to support this method.)

2) Switch to 1/2 formula and 1/2 breast milk to begin with and do that until I exhaust my breast milk supply and then switch entirely to formula.

3) Completely use most of my breast milk supply now and then switch cold turkey to formula. (I would probably keep about 1 week of frozen breast milk in case the switch to formula went wrong in this case.)

Thanks for your help!

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answers from Dallas on

We did the switch pretty much like you have listed in #1. My daughter had reflux as well and she is doing wonderfully now (she is nine months old!! Good luck!

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answers from Dallas on

C. -
I have a baby with reflux that we didn't discover until after making the transition to formula (what they termed "silent reflux.) But, I wasn't able to keep up the supply of milk that he needed when I pumped, so I supplemented with formula. I didn't mix, but would just "slip" a bottle of formula in the mix on a daily basis. He didn't seem to have a problem with the formula at all, as he was a very good eater, but went on a basic hunger strike not long after switching to all formula. The nurse specialist that we went to that deals almost exclusively with reflux told me that breastmilk is extremely healing to their lungs, so reflux babies fair much better with breastmilk (as if I needed more guilt!) But, since I had dried up by then, with an Rx of Prevacid and a wonderful thickening agent called Simply Thick mixed into his formula, we got him back on the road to eating healthily and heartily again. She also sent me to this Web site that has a ton of good information about reflux: http://www.infantrefluxdisease.com/

Best of luck with your little guy!!



answers from Houston on

Both of my boys were switched to formula at about 8 months. The first was very reluctant and I had to what you have in #1 - start out with mostly breast milk and a small amount of formula and then gradually increase formula and decrease breast milk. This took about a month or so. My second son switched without any complaint at all. In fact, I was giving him bottles solely comprised of breast milk for one feeding and then a bottle of only formula for the next and he seemed not to notice or care. It depends on how your son reacts. If he takes the formula without breast milk right away, then go ahead and alternate until your breast milk supply is gone. Otherwise, you'll have to make a formula/breast milk mix until he gets used to the formula.

Sorry I can't help with the formula for acid reflux but hope this helps on how to make the switch!



answers from Dallas on

I'd suggest just trying formula first. See if he'll even take it (my son resisted). Then, if he resists, try the slow mixing thing. You'd hate to be "out" of breastmilk and be in a real bind!

Oh, both of my kids are/were severe refluxers (on meds, thickeners, etc) and I never saw a difference between formula and breastmilk like they say.




answers from Dallas on

I'm not really sure what advice to give since I don't have experience with reflux, but wanted to give you an FYI. When I would supplement my daughter's feedings with formula, she would scream and scream. After several times of doing this, I finally realized that mixing breast milk and formula for her was obviously very painful for her tummy. I don't think that should deter you from mixing them, but just something to look for if doesn't work well.



answers from Dallas on

I did that at 4 months when I decided to stop pumping. My daughter refused formula straight, so I did a gradual mixture. I started at 1/2 and 1/2, but she didn't like that either. So I did about 1/4 formula to 3/4 breastmilk for a week or so, then switched to 1/2 and 1/2. I stayed at 1/2 and 1/2 for quite a while since I had alot of frozen breastmilk, but every couple days I would sneak in a bottle of plain formula, and eventually she would drink the plain formula as well as the mix. I slowly increased the number of straight formula bottles as opposed the the mixed ones, and she ended up drinking it fine now. Since you have acid reflux, you may need to try different formulas if it upsets his tummy. I used Goodstart, which my pediatrician is very easy to digest and good for babies with sensitive stomachs, but everyone has their own opinion on formula!!
Good Luck!!



answers from Dallas on

try stretching the breast milk as far as possible so begin with 1/2 and 1/2 until you get your stock really low then go to a 1/4 and 3/4 for as long as it lasts. That way baby gets the antibodies longer and the intestinal protection for as long as possible. Also it makes the formula more palatable to them.

good luck,



answers from Dallas on

I personally would gradually switch him by either doing 1/2 formula and 1/2 breast or what you wrote on number 1. I think it's harder on the baby if you do it cold turkey so if he does okay go with more formula and less breast the next feeding or next day and so on.

Good Luck



answers from Dallas on

When we switched we did it gradually. I don't think I would do it cold turkey unless you absolutely had too. Good luck!

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