Tag Archives: Bottle feeding

How to Stop Breastfeeding

How to stop Breastfeeding in a way that causes you minimal pain and discomfort and helps the transition from breast to bottle be as seamless as possible. Sound easy doesn’t it? If it were that easy to stop there would be no need to have this post dedicated to giving you all of the advice and information you need on how to stop Breastfeeding.

Your milk supply – an analogy

Firstly, and before you stop breastfeeding, it is important to have a basic understanding of how your breasts work – supply and demand. And this is why shouldn’t just stop! Imagine that you are the shop, your baby is the customer and your body’s natural production of milk is ‘the supplier’. All the time your customer is taking stock from your shop, your supplier is replacing it – immediately. This works well. The last thing you or the wholesaler want is for your very important customer (your baby) to turn up and you not have enough stock. This wholesaler is so keen for you to have a constant supply that it doesn’t even wait for you to order it, as soon as your stock starts depleting, your supplier is there ‘stacking the shelves’ once more. You couldn’t ask for much more, relations are good, your supplier is going above and beyond to ensure you have a very happy customer… Until one day, after much thought and discussion you decide you want to shut your business and that it is time to stop, your supplier is not pleased and will do everything possible to make you change your mind. This includes continuing to keep your shop well stocked. Your supplier has worked hard for you and business has been good. If you shut up shop your supplier will go bust. Surely you should show a bit more respect? The best thing to do is give a bit of notice. Don’t just lock up the doors and disappear, give your supplier a chance to accept that all good things come to an end, agree a notice period and a plan of action; this stops things from getting nasty. The last thing you want is to have more and more ‘stock’ delivered when you have nowhere left to keep it and nothing to do with it. That would be painful.

As well as keeping your supplier happy you also have to think of your customer, you have been open for business pretty much 24/7. It is going to take a lot of determination and strength to persuade your most cherished possession that your opening hours are changing and that soon you will be closing completely. Expect a lot tantrums, guilt trips and a refusal to try anything else. I have divided the stopping breastfeeding process into 3 easy to manage stages, preparing to stop breastfeeding, adapting and time to stop.

Step 1 – Preparing to stop breastfeeding

Nothing can prepare you physically for when you stop breastfeeding and that is why we have to take it slow, however, you can prepare yourself mentally and practically by ensuring you are organised, ready and have the necessary support in place.

  • Decide what milk you are going to start feeding your baby – there is no one formula milk that is best suited to Breastfed babies (despite what the adverts may say), if you have never bottle fed before then familiarise yourself with the process of preparing a bottle including how to sterilise.
  • Decide which feed you are going to drop first – Select a feed that will benefit you the most, this is most likely to be the feed before you go to bed (known as the dream feed), if your baby is older and also eating solid foods, you may find the afternoon feed is the easiest one to drop.
  • Put a date in your diary – Choose a date and stick to it. This is not the date you are going to completely stop but, the date you are going to drop your first feed. Choose a day that is around 7-10 days away, this gives you enough time to psyche yourself up for it. Ensure you have your partner or friends/family around you for the first few days as you may need someone else to give your baby the first few feeds
  • Choose the feeding method – if your baby is under 12 months you will probably want to offer bottles, if your baby is older than 12 months you may want to look at using sippy cups as this saves having to wean your baby off a bottle in the near future.
  • Offer a bottle/sippy cup before you plan on dropping a feed – Ideally your baby will already have accepted an alternative feeding method (perhaps you have occasionally given expressed milk in a bottle). Offering your baby a formula feed before you plan to drop a feed gives you an insight into how he could react and also gives your baby a chance to familiarise himself with a new feeding method. Do this for at least a week before you plan on dropping a feed. The best time to introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby is as soon as baby is ‘good’ at breastfeeding, this is usually at around 2-8 weeks.
  • Be ready and be determined – On the day before you are due to drop your first feed make sure you have everything ready, you should already know what time you are going to give your baby formula, how long it takes to prepare it and how long it takes to cool down to a suitable temperature. Your body will do everything it can to persuade you to change your mind.

Step 2 – Adapting: stop one breast feed at a time

It is important that once you stop, you and your baby have a chance to adapt. Taking it slow and making gradual changes allow you to adapt together and bond in different ways over a number of weeks. If you completely stop breastfeeding your baby you run the risk of engorgement. Your baby will not be best pleased either- particularly if he is an established breast feeder.

  • Drop the first feed – Drop the feed you planned to drop at the time you planned to drop it. You can try feeding your baby but should have someone there who can takeover if your baby refuses to take the bottle from you, you may have to go into another room or leave the house completely.
  • Massage your breasts – Missing just one feed can result in your breasts feeling sore, there is no harm in relieving a bit of pressure. If you have a blocked duct then concentrate on this area, if you fear you have mastitis, contact your doctor as you will need anti-biotics.
  • Cabbage, showers, sports bras and gel packs – Wash 2 cabbage leaves and place them in your bra, many parents swear by this method for helping to reduce the pain. Warm showers will help if you feel you need to release some pressure and cold showers will help to restrict milk production, a sports bra will restrict movement and friction against the nipple (friction stimulates the nipple which promotes milk production). You should also apply a cold compresses to your breast for 15-20 minutes 3-4 times a day. This will help with any inflammation and aid in reducing milk production.
  • Try something new – If your baby is having problems with the bottle try a different feeding position (such as in a baby chair), a different shaped teat or a different flow may also help. The smallest changes can have a big effect.
  • Take a walk – If your baby is still not feeding very well you will have to leave the house – Babies are smart and stubborn and all the time they know you are there they will hold out for you.
  • Take some painkillers – There is no harm in taking some pain killers if the pain gets too much. Tell your pharmacist you plan to stop breastfeeding.
  • Drop the next feed – Just as your body and your baby get used to the first feed being dropped, its time to drop another. Ideally you should drop a feed once every 7 days. I would recommend the night time feed be the last one you drop and the morning feed the 2nd to last.
  • Repeat process – Repeat the above process over a number of weeks until you are down to one feed a day. Be prepared for leaks and have plenty of breast pads close by.

Step 3 – Time to stop breastfeeding altogether

Over a number of weeks you have gradually reduced your baby’s breast milk to just one feed a day. No doubt this has been a very emotional and testing time. Remember that the breast milk you have given your baby has given her the best start- even if you breastfed for 6 weeks your baby will have benefited hugely. Whatever your reasons for wanting to stop breastfeeding, be proud that you did it.

  • Drop the last feed – I recommend the last feed you drop be the night time feed. By this point your baby will have accepted formula milk (or depending on your baby’s age – cows milk) for a number of weeks now and will not be surprised when you drop this feed.
  • Change your night time routine – If feeding your baby is an important part of her bed time routine then you are going to need to make some changes – Feed your baby in a different room or ask your partner to feed her, don’t change the way that you feed her (for example if she only takes the bottle whilst sitting in her chair or on a bouncer then give her milk to her there).
  • Wear a sports bra to bed – If you haven’t already started doing this, then for the reasons stated above do it. It will help to reduce your milk production to zero.
  • Enjoy your freedom – Hopefully by following this method you haven’t been in too much pain and your baby hasn’t made it too difficult for you. And remember- don’t feel guilty about stopping, it isn’t a decision you took lightly and you have already given your baby the best start.

That is how to stop breastfeeding. I would love to hear your comments on what you did when you stopped breastfeeding or even better- if this post has helped you. Thank you for reading.

How to prepare a bottle to use later

You want to prepare a bottle to use later? Here are your best three options on how to do it safely.
The safest way of preparing each and every formula bottle is to make it fresh when your baby needs it using sterile bottles. This is not always possible or practical, particularly if you are out for the day or leaving your baby in a care setting such as a childminder or nursery. The following guidance will help you to prepare your baby’s bottles in the safest way possible when you either need to transport a made up feed or are out/leaving your baby for a long period of the day and it is not possible for the feeds to be freshly made.

Use a carton of ready prepared milk:


If you are out for a long period of time and know your baby will be due a feed, assembling a newly sterilised, empty bottle with the teat and lid on and taking it out with you is the easiest and safest thing to do (the cartons are sterile)- Simply pour the milk carton into the bottle and it is ready. I realise that this could be an expensive way of bottle feeding, particularly if you are a busy parent and often out of the house, there are two other options:

Use a thermal flask:

If you are out and have no access to a kettle It is possible to make up a formula feed using your baby’s usual powdered milk. You will need to take the following items out with you:

  • Your baby’s empty bottle (fully assembled with teat and lid on and recently sterilised),
  • A sterilised storage container with the correct amount of infant formula powder in and
  • A sealed thermal flask containing freshly boiled tap water.
  • You can then prepare your baby’s bottle in the usual way when your baby needs it using the hot water from the thermal flask. Take extra care when preparing your feeds in this way as you are more likely to be within close vicinity of your baby. A good thermos flask should keep the water hot for several hours, bear in mind that it is recommended that the water should be at least 70 degrees celcius. Ensure the water has cooled to an appropiate feeding temperature before giving to your baby. You can test this by pouring a tiny amount on to the inside of your wrist.

    Prepare your baby’s bottle in the morning before you leave the house:

    If you or the person caring for your child are unable to prepare the feed in one of the above two ways when out and about, then the other option is to prepare you baby’s bottle in the usual way and to transport it. There are a few things you will need to know before doing this as there is an increased risk of bacterial growth when storing prepared formula feeds:

  • The bottle should be prepared in the usual way in the morning of the day you are transporting it, not the night before. (Preferably 1.5 hours before you are due to leave).
  • There is no need to cool the made up formula milk by running it under a cold tap.
  • It should immediately be placed at the back of your fridge for atleast one hour (never in the door).
  • The fridge must be a maximum temperature of 5 degrees delcius. You may want to invest in a fridge thermometer as the frequent opening of a fridge can affect its temperature. (If this is the case, select a lower temperature setting on your fridge).
  • Remove the prepared bottle of milk from the fridge only when you are ready to leave the house and immediately place it into a cool bag containing a frozen ice brick.
  • The feed will need to be consumed within the next 4 hours.
  • You can heat up your baby’s transported bottle by using either a bottle warmer or by placing in a bowl of warm water. Always shake it well.
  • The feed should never be left to warm for longer than 15 minutes and you should never use a microwave to reheat it.
  • I hope you found this information useful, please let me know by commenting on / sharing this page

    Bottle, formula powder and a scoop

    How much formula milk does my baby need?

    How much formula milk your baby needs can easily be worked out using a simple formula; your baby needs approximately 150-200 ml of formula milk per day per kg of your baby’s weight. I have made this easy for you to work out;  my quick formula feeding quantity guide below. (Please note that this is a guide only, you should always feed your baby when she seems hungry and have her weighed regularly to check her progress).

    Formula fed baby finishing last drop of recommended amount of formula milkThis formula milk quantity guide applies only after your baby is over one week old and is valid until you begin weaning her.

    (Turn your device sideways if you can not view this table properly)

    Baby's WeightNumber of feeds per dayAmount of milk needed per dayAmount of milk to be offered per bottle
    3kg / 6lb 10oz6450 - 600 ml75 - 100 ml
    3kg / 6lb 10oz7450 - 600 ml65 - 85 ml
    3kg / 6lb 10oz8450 - 600 ml55 - 75ml
    4kg / 8lb 13oz5600 - 800 ml120 - 160 ml
    4kg / 8lb 13oz6600 - 800 ml100 - 135 ml
    4kg / 8lb 13oz7600 - 800 ml85 - 115 ml
    5kg / 11lb5750 - 1000 ml150 - 200 ml

    You will also find a formula quantity guide on the side of your packet of infant formula milk. Bear in mind that your baby’s appetite can vary from feed to feed and from day to day. You should never force feed your baby, even if there is only a little bit of milk left. If you would like to work out how much formula your baby might need for a weight that is not listed above, multiply his weight in kg by either 150(minimum) or 200(maximum), this gives you the amount of recommended formula milk per day for your baby’s weight. To then work out how much milk he will need per bottle, divide this amount by the number of feeds he has in a day. This gives you the recommended amount of formula milk per bottle feed for your baby’s current weight.

    Mum breastfeeding away from the camera

    Combining Breast and Bottle Feeding

    Combiing breast and bottle feeding - this baby is being fed expressed breats milk in a bottleCombining breast and bottle feeding (or mix feeding your baby as it is commonly known) is something that many Mums consider. If you are thinking about combining breast and bottle feeding, you should first ensure that it will suit you, your baby and your personal circumstances and is not because of a myth you have heard from a friend of a friend. This complete guide to mix feeding will help you to reach an informed decision about combining breast and bottle feeding.

    Can I combine breast and bottle feeding?

    It is possible to combine breast and bottle feeding. You can do this in one of three ways:

    • By giving a breastfed baby a bottle of expressed breast milk
    • By giving a breastfed baby a bottle of infant formula milk
    • And finally, by breastfeeding your bottle fed baby

    Why mix feed?


    The most popular reasons for choosing to combine breast and bottle feeding are outlined below with an explanation of how this could affect you and your baby:

    • Not producing enough breast milk: If you feel you are not producing enough breast milk then you do not need to give up, try talking to a breastfeeding counsellor or health professional. You can contact the government funded breastfeeding line on 0300 100 0212.
    • Wanting others to be able to feed your baby: Sharing the task of feeding your baby is one that will appeal to many as it is a wonderful thing to be able to do. However, if this is the sole reason for wanting to combine breast and bottle feeding then youIt will help my baby to sleep through the night - sleeping baby with flowers in her hair should consider how other family members can help out and bond with your baby in other ways. Combining breast and bottle feeds may cause problems with your milk supply. Other ways for Fathers or other family members to bond with your baby can include reading books, singing, changing nappies, bathing and massaging her.
    • It will help my baby to sleep through the night: It has not been proven that giving a baby a formula milk bottle at night will help her to sleep longer. It can be very tempting in those early days, when she is keeping you up all hours of the night, but night time feeds are just as important to Mums as they are to babies; they tell your body to keep producing milk, especially in the early weeks. Try to get as much help as you can during the day so that you can rest when your baby sleeps. After a few weeks she will soon be waking less frequently for her feeds.

    Will I produce less milk?

    You will produce less milk if you combine breastfeeding and formula milk feeding. This is the case whether you give additional bottle feeds in between regular breast feeds or if you give an additional feed in the form of a bottled formula immediately following a breast feed.

    What should I be aware of?


    If you are thinking of mix feeding your baby, you should be aware of the following advice before you do so and only choose this feeding option if you feel it is the right thing for you, your baby and your personal circumstances:

    • Your own breast milk production will decrease
    • Some babies find it difficult to breastfeed after being bottle fed (whilst some have no trouble adapting at all).
    • Giving any amount of formula milk reduces your baby’s protection against illness. However, if you are mix feeding then any amount of breast milk will be beneficial for his health.

    What is the best way to do it?

    If you have decided that combining breast and bottle is the right thing for you and your baby then you should consider the following recommendations to help you, your body and your baby to adapt to the changes:

    • Do it gradually: Your body will need time to adapt and will start to produce less milk.simple black and white clock
    • Persevere: If your baby is finding it hard but you are sure this is what you want to do then persevere with it. It may take your baby some time to get used to it as breastfeeding and bottle feeding require different techniques. Keep trying, but never force feed your baby.
    • Get somebody else to do the first few feeds: Your baby may be able to smell your breast milk whilst you are trying to bottle feed him. It may help if somebody else gives the first few bottle feeds.
    • Do it at the right time of day: If your baby is tired or hungry then you will probably find it harder to get him to accept the bottle at first. When introducing your baby to a bottle for the first time, do so at a time when he is happy and relaxed.
    • Plan in advance and give your baby time: If you have decided to combine breast and bottle feeding because your baby is entering a childcare environment/ you can not be there to breastfeed on demand, introduce the bottle to your baby a few weeks before this date so that he has time to adapt and time to get used to it.

    What is the best age to introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby?

    If you have decided to mix breast feeding with bottle feeding, you should do so after the newborn stage. This gives you and your baby a chance to get used to breastfeeding first.

    What additional equipment will I need if combining breast and bottle feeding?

    For bottle fed babies I recommend you have the following equipment in your house and ready to use before your baby is born:

    • 6x bottles
    • 6x new born teatsWhite newborns bib with walking elephant on the front
    • Bottle brush
    • Steriliser – see our steriliser guide
    • Thermal flask
    • 3-5 cartons of ready made formula milk
    • Storage container for transporting small amounts of infant milk powder
    • Plenty of bibs
    • You should adjust these quantities depending on how often you are planning to bottle feed your baby. You may also want to consider a breast pump if you are planning on expressing.

    Can I re-start breastfeeding after stopping?

    If you have been mix feeding your baby or have even stopped breast feeding all together and want to restart, it is possible. You should discuss with your midwife/ health visitor/ breastfeeding counsellor ways in which you can reduce your baby’s bottle feeds. You could

    also try the following:

    • Skin to skin contact: Cuddle and hold your baby closely as much as possible. This will give your baby
      Mother nad baby enjoying a skin to skin cuddlethe time and opportunity for breastfeeding to happen more easily.
    • Offer both breasts: Even if your baby doesn’t seem interested in the second breast you should always immediately offer it to your baby. It doesn’t matter if she is not interested or doesn’t feed for very long. It will also help to boost your milk supply if you feed your baby off of this breast first next time.
    • Decrease the bottles slowly: When you start producing more milk you should gradually start decreasing the amount of bottles your baby has. It may help to do this one bottle at a time.
    • Continue expressing: If you have been expressing most of your baby’s feeds rather than breastfeeding then you should continue to do so during the changeover period. This will help to keep your milk supply high.

     

    Do you or did you combine breast and bottle feeding? Did you have any difficulties? Would you recommend it? Your comments will add value to this page so please let me know your views and experiences.

    This is an image of 6 tommee tippee branded baby bottles

    Bottle feeding tips

    This is an image of a 2 and a half month old being bottle fedSince having my first child I have come across a lot of bottle feeding tips, guidelines and information. That is exactly what this post is all about. 8 questions about feeding your newborn that you will need to know before you get started. I have covered how often to bottle feed your little one, how much to feed her, an equipment check list and plenty more. Whether you are solely bottle feeding or combining breast and formula milk, there are a few things that you need to know before you begin. I breastfed my first born for 6 weeks and gave her a few expressed bottles during this period too, at 6 weeks old she was ill with bronchiolitis and was also diagnosed with reflux. With so much going on she found it impossible to feed from me, we were advised to bottle feed her medicated formula milk, these are the questions I had before I started bottle feeding and the the most helpful tips and advice I was given, I hope you find it useful:

    What equipment will I need?

    If you are solely formula feeding, I would say you need to have the following equipment in your house and ready to use:

    • 6x bottles
    • 6x new born teats
    • Bottle brush
    • Steriliser
    • Thermal flask
    • 3-5 cartons of ready made formula milk
    • Storage container for transporting small amounts of formula
    • Plenty of bibs

    How often should I offer a milk feed?

    Your newborn will develop a feeding routine after a short space of time of being bottle fed, however, it is still important that she is fed when displaying signs of being hungry. The signs of being hungry are:

    • Moving around and fidgeting as she wakes up
    • Moving her head and mouth (as though she is looking for something to suckle)
    • Sucking on clothes, objects or her fingers.
    • It is worth noting that young babies often want to feed little and often, your baby won’t necessarily go longer between feeds just because she took more milk than usual in her previous feed and won’t necessarily be hungrier earlier than usual if she took less.

    How do you prepare formula milk?

    This is an image of a phillips avent steriliserAll bottles will need to be washed and sterilised before each use and the formula made up by following the instructions on the packet. You must boil fresh tap water and not re-boil old kettle water. You must also make the feed up between 10-30 minutes after the kettle has boiled (or at least before the boiling water has cooled to below 70 degrees Celsius); this is to ensure that any bacteria that may have developed in the formula milk powder is destroyed before it is consumed.

    How do I bottle feed when out and about?

    The safest way to prepare each bottle of milk is to make it fresh at the time. This is not always practical, especially if you are dropping your little one off at a nursery or a childminders or you are out for a long period during the day. To avoid the risk of bacteria growth in the bottles, you can either use ready to use cartons (which are the safest option as they are sterile) or pour freshly boiled water into a thermal flask to take with you. You can then make up the feed when needed.

    How much formula milk does my baby need?

    Newborns will initially take very small amounts of formula milk. When they are approximately a week old, you should start offering around 150-200ml of milk per kg of your baby’s weight per day. To work out how much to offer per feed, this amount should then be divided by the amount of daily bottles you are giving. This rule should work up until the age 6 months.

    When can I give my baby cow’s milk?

    This is a picture of a pint of blue full fat milk

    Most infant formulas are based on cow’s milk and are given as an alternative to breastfeeding. However, whole or ‘full fat’ cow’s milk (the one with the blue lid) should only be introduced to your baby once she is 12 months old. Cow’s milk simply does not contain enough iron and nutrients to be given to babies under 12 months old. However, you can use cow’s milk in food from around 6 months. Once your toddler is 2 years old, she is allowed to have semi-skimmed cow’s milk. You should only do this if she is already a good eater with a healthy, varied diet. Skimmed milk should not be given to children under 5 years of age.

    Do I need to wind my baby after every feed?

    You may need to wind him after every bottle feed; when a baby bottle feeds, it is not unusual to swallow air at the same time. This will cause discomfort that will only be eased by him releasing the air- in the form of a burp. The recommended way of burping your baby is to hold her upright against your shoulder or sit her on your lap, leaning slightly forwards, you should then gently and patiently rub his back so that any trapped air can easily find its way out again.

    Why does my baby vomit after a feed?

    If she brings up milk just after a feed it can be upsetting and worrying and is something you should seek advice on. It could be caused by reflux, this is where stomach acid leaks out of the stomach and into the oesophagus (gullet), this will result in her experiencing pain or discomfort after eating and you should contact your GP immediatley if you think this is the case. Other factors that may cause your baby to vomit after a feed are:

  • Giving your baby a teat that is too big: Fast flow teats can cause your baby to take too much milk, too quickly and therefore cause ‘possetting’ or ‘regurgitation’.
  • Lying your baby down too quickly after a feed: Try not to lye your baby down immediately after a feed and advise family members to do the same.
  • Too much milk. Some babies prefer to feed little and often: If he is regularly sick after feeding, as well as speaking to your health visitor or GP you can also try offering smaller amounts of milk more regularly.
  • I hope you found these bottle feeding tips helpful, if you have anything to add to this, please use the comments box below. Thanks for reading.
    Top of page