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Breastfeeding to bottle feeding

I have been exclusively breastfeeding for the past month. My daughter isn't gaining enough weight and her doctor wants me to start supplementing to see exactly how much she is eating. when is the best time to switch to a bottle and what bottle do you recommend using? 


  • Hi Ramzy3323,

    Firstly have you tried expressing your own milk? The amount you can express in 15-20 minutes should equate to what baby should be ideally taking from you  (will give Dr an idea).

    You can introduce formula at any point, either as a 'top up' to your breast milk  (consider breast as main course & formula as pudding) or a complete substitute. My twins have had formula alongside my milk since day 1 (though I had little choice as they were in NICU for a fortnight), as their demand has grown I have found it easier to alternate one breastfeed followed by one formula feed. Their weight has improved considerably doing this too. X

  • Hey lovely thought I'd drop you a line.

    ive never had a problem with my boy and gaining weight however because he was a hungry baby to begin with and often quite wingey I was more stressing myself and wanted to know how much he was taking etc and whether I was going wrong somewhere lol.

    when I left hospital morgan was 2 weeks old. I was advised at 3 weeks to introduce a bottle and so he didn't get confused with the teat. my milk flow was really quite good so over a few minutes would express a bit of milk off both boobs before feeding him as he would take it too fast and cough/splutter (i'd express using either a tommy tipee hand pump or the madela hand pump which the neonatal Ward advised.. I prefer still to this day the madela.) I always give Morgan a bottle of expressed milk in the night so I know exactly how much he is taking, for the same reason i now give him a bottle of formula (aptimel) in the morning (I wanted to ease him on to formula too just so if I ever fancy going out of an evening I'd feel comfortable leaving him wth my mumma, we all deserve a break.) Throughout the day he has my breast And we have a nice cuddle during this time!


  • Thank you both. I have been pumping and im going to try giving her my breast milk in a bottle to see how much she is actually eating. I really don't want to use formula since I can't really afford it right now. I had been pumping after I feed her on the other breast before and was getting between 2- 3 oz. and when I gave her a bottle today she drank 3 oz. I'm not really sure if that is enough or not. 

  • Also squirt some milk on the bottle teet if she doesn't take it, this might help matters 😘 Morgan always wanted to sit on my boob so my HV suggested a dummy. He wouldn't take to it at first but with a bit of perseverance (+ the milk trick lol) he did and my life was made a lot easier.

    I know that every baby is different but I'm sure the guideline is that a 1month old should roughly take 3/4oz😁 

    Dont stress yourself too much there are always different options to take! My little boy is 12 weeks old on Sunday and I genuinely feel that the first 6ish weeks of breast feeding are really really hard, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves.. it does get easier I promise haha. keep going Mumma💖

  • It's a complete myth that pumping will show how much milk you are making. Pumping is no indication of supply, it also doesn't prove that the baby is feeding efficiently and getting good transfer.
    Introducing top ups and bottles to a young baby who is already struggling at the breast is just a sure-fire way to prematurely end breastfeeding as it will affect your supply (decrease it - the less you breastfeed the less milk you will make) and bottles require a different sucking motion so if the baby is already having trouble suckling a bottle will exacerbate the issue.

    Please please get some trained breastfeeding support. There should be a local support group, either independent or part of a larger organisation (La Leche League or similar). Have a look in your baby's  Red book and/or in the leaflets your Midwife gave you, there ought to be some support groups or numbers. If not you should ring the local hospital's maternity unit and ask if they have an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) or an Infant Feeding Co-ordinator who you can speak to.

    Pumping your milk and feeding an ounce or two via spoon, syringe or 'cup' (special cup for giving breastmilk to newborns, ask your MW about it) after a breastfeed can help short term to make sure the baby is eating enough, but long term you need to get some help to make sure she is latching well and feeding efficiently. Check for things like tongue tie, check she is positioned in a way hat facilitates suckling etc.

    Pumping is no indication of supply as all pumps are different and some people do not respond to pumps very well. I can pump 3 or 4oz at a time from one breast but after I get that amount I can still feed my baby off that side because there is still milk there, and she is better at getting the milk out than the pump is. And some times I can only pump 2oz at the most.
    Added to that I have friends who can exclusively breastfeed their babies but struggle to express a drop.

    Last of all, how is your baby other than her weight? Is she pooing enough? Is her soft spot OK (not sunken)? Is she awake and alert, calm between feeds etc? Does she look a healthy weight? What is her weight gain like? Sometimes very low weight gain can indicate that something needs tweaking to increase the amount of milk the baby takes, but other times weight gain is acceptable but some HCPs get overly concerned if a baby doesn't follow the 'norm'.
    Generally speaking if a baby is alert and settled after a good feed, is weeing and pooing normally, and looks a healthy weight, I would not worry about 'low' weight gain providing there is some gain (and baby is not staying the same or losing weight).
    That's not to say ignore it... it's still worth seeing a trained BFing supporter/lactation consultant just to make sure you're doing everything possible to maximise milk transference... but ultimately I wouldn't be concerned if low gain is the only 'issue'... if you wouldn't feel worried if you hadn't got them weighed.

  • By the way, three ounces is a fab amount to be able to pump in one go. Guidelines suggest a one month old should take 2 to 3oz at a time (guidelines based on stomach size, not formula tin guidelines which are based on giving as few feeds as possible in 24hrs).

    But again, it doesn't really prove how much she is managing to swallow when feeding. If she struggles to feed and takes a long time to feed she may be using too much energy getting the milk (if that makes sense).

    Other things to consider is how often she feeds. Don't let her go too long between feeds, avoid using dummies too as they can reduce the amount they feed.
    Conversely if she snacks lots (eats often but only for a few minutes at a time and/or often falls asleep at the breast very quickly) or you feel you may have 'oversupply' there are things you can do to reduce supply and keep her awake so that she takes a good long feed and gets plenty of fat rich milk.

    Good luck!

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