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Introducing formula feeds

If you're breastfeeding but want to introduce formula feeds, it's best to gradually reduce the amount of breastfeeds.

This will help your baby get used to the change and stop your breasts becoming sore from being too full of milk and leaking.

Cutting down on breastfeeding gradually will reduce the risk of developing mastitis.

Give yourself time to adjust

Introducing infant formula will probably reduce the amount of breast milk you produce.

To keep your breast milk supply going, it's important to keep breastfeeding your baby regularly.

If you are combining breastfeeding with formula feeds, try to prioritise breastfeeding where possible. You could start by replacing 1 breastfeed a day with a bottle feed.

When replacing a breast milk feed with a formula feed, it can take around 5 to 7 days for your breasts to adjust.

Offering the first bottle

You might find that your baby refuses to take a bottle. This is especially common if your baby has been successfully breastfeeding for some time.

It might be tricky at first, but if you go slowly and work at your baby's pace, they will get the hang of it.

Have a look at our bottle feeding advice for tips.

How much formula feed?

Always follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to make up formula feeds. When your baby is full, throw away any leftover milk.

Responsive or "on demand" feeding will help prevent overfeeding. Your baby's needs will change over time as they develop, so they will let you know how much they need.

Generally, each breastfeed you drop will be replaced with 1 bottle of formula.

Some parents choose to replace the bedtime breast milk feed with a bottle as they believe it will help their baby to sleep better. Remember very young babies need to feed little and often, so this will probably not be the case for a newborn.