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BF to FF at 6 months. Some questions...

(15 Posts)
Whoami24601 Fri 06-Nov-15 14:40:36

After much soul searching we have made the decision to move 6mo DS to formula milk. Up until now he has been exclusively breast fed. For the time being I'll be feeding him through the night and first thing in the morning, with bottles for the rest of the day. 

Although I didn't have a definite number in mind, I wanted to feed him myself until I was ready to stop. DD was mix fed until she refused the breast at 4mo. I was not ready for it, and it affected me for a while. I feel now is the time for a number of reasons:

1. Night feeds- although I will continue with these for now, it feels good to know I will have the option of DH doing the odd night if I feel super tired or poorly or want to have a drink.

2. Being able to leave DS for more than a couple of hours at a time. DH and I really need some alone time! We're forgetting how to communicate lol

3. Feeding frequency- we're still currently feeding every 1 1/2-2 hours, with a couple of feeds overnight. I've tried cutting down but it just results in a lot more night wakings ?? hopefully if he's on bottles he won't need to feed as often. Or if he does I'll be able to hand him to someone else!!! 

So, I have a few questions for how to manage the transition. We've already introduced a bottle, and he's taken to it really well so no worries on that score! 

1. How often will he need feeding? All the advice says swap one feed at a time, which I don't really want to do as I'd like him to have less feeds overall. How do I get him from 6 BF to 4 FF a day without him being too hungry?

2. How much should I expect him to drink at each feed?

3. How do I do bottles when we're out and about? With DD I used to make up and put in a cool bag with an ice pack, but I understand that's not recommended now? What's the easiest way to do this? 

4. We've also started the weaning process, albeit in a relaxed way- we're letting him try anything we're having that won't choke him basically! How do you fit weaning around bottles?

5. Is it worth swapping to bottles at night, or should we wean off milk completely? 

Wow that's long! Thanks if you got this far. All advice appreciated! 

Whoami24601 Fri 06-Nov-15 19:36:54


Whoami24601 Fri 06-Nov-15 21:00:53

I know it's long, but hasn't anyone read right to the end? sad

spillyobeans Fri 06-Nov-15 21:07:25

Hi i introduced a formula bottle with mine, 4 month atm . It was only if someone else was looking after him but now i give him one at night after a breastfeed to top him up after he was getting so fussy. He fed on the boob for 40 mins then still downed a 9oz bottle! Im still planning on breastfeeding rather than weaning so i dont know if this will help, but maybe if you introduce the bottles gradually as in forca few days replace 1 or 2 feeds then more etc that would help. Probably help with engorged boobs too

nameschangerer Fri 06-Nov-15 21:11:29

I have read it. I didn't ff at all as baby refused bottles so it's good you're introducing it now.

Can you maybe replace the last 2 feeds with a formula for a few days and then replace the middle 2 feeds with formula and so. Do it gradually?

Good luck

sleepingdragon Fri 06-Nov-15 21:16:55

Hello, the rest of mumsnet must be out on this Friday night. I switched from bf to Ff at 8-9 months so a bit differetn, but this is what worked for us:
I swapped one feed at a time, but was stopping to start medical treatment so rushed through it, changing an extra feed after each couple of days. DS was fine with this, but is laid back generally about pay things! I breastfed on demand, and started off formula feeding on demand. I had a bottle made up most of the time and he would have bits of it as often as he wanted and a big feed before sleeps. He was going through a snacky phase though! He quickly changed to having bigger feeds at certain times/events (within a month) and so we found a schedule that worked for us.I think just using formula in bottles encourages larger feeds more spaces apart, as it's less work to drink and so they get more full.
In terms of amounts, I wanted it to be baby led but worked out what he should be drinking from the side of the formula packet and made sure it was above that amount (it was actually well over but I've not been worried about that as he eats really well and is tall and skinny). I played with the amounts a bit e.g. to get him to eat more solids and to encourage him to sleep more through the night, but for the first few months he would only drinknwhat he wanted from the bottle and leave the rest so I started making up bottles with the amount he would drink and took it from there.

Your DS is still getting lost of his nutrition from milk. I'm no expert but i would say give him food before bottles but still expect him to want milk through the day and night.

In terms of going out and about, there is no perfect way. My DS was older but I did boiling water in bottles and adding powder just before offering the bottle, this is how I did night feeds too (just switched to water at night at 16 months). I also made up bottles and cooled them quickly to used within 2 hours, or to store in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

I hope that helps!

PB01 Fri 06-Nov-15 21:59:05

Congratulations on breastfeeding. You've done a fantastic job. BF can be very challenging and you feel the weight on your shoulders as the responsibility lies with you. It can be hard if you feel you never get a break from it all. I am on child number 4 at present (6 week old) and I have BF my children till they were 2 so I definitely feel your pain in relation to sleepless nights!!

Up until the age of 1 your child will still need about 500-600 ml of milk a day. As you have BF until this point you can't really measure your milk! If you are moving to formula, it will really be trial and error. Your son may guzzle the milk and you may only need 3 or 4 bottles, or as he has been BF he may be in the habit of feeding or snacking more often and only take small amounts. If you are starting weaning onto solids, remember to feed him half of his milk first, so that he is not too hungry, and also not full up and you will find he will feed better. At the beginning he will only take a few mouthfuls of baby rice or puréed food and still really needs his milk for nutrition. Don't be in a rush to feed him what you have as he may get constipated and then you will have sleepless nights. Some formulas can cause constipation, especially since you are changing from BF so I would suggest you do this gradually. You may find that starting solids means he'll no longer be hungry during the night and you will won't be up so often. BF is as much about comfort and security as it is about feeding. Most babies still like the comfort of mum at bedtime and on waking. So you may be better swapping out feeds during the day.

With reference to the milk when out and about, you can buy containers to store your powdered formula which will allow you to make up the feeds whilst out and about. This would be added to your bottle of cooled boiled water when you are ready to feed. Formula once made up will only last an hour.

Good luck xx

BertieBotts Fri 06-Nov-15 22:14:20

I think that the issue is they don't really start dropping feeds until 8/9m or so - I think 4 feeds a day is too little at 6 months, especially if you're taking weaning slowly.

If you need to make up bottles in advance then it's best to use a cool pack like you did with DD's. You can carry around a thermos of hot water to make them up fresh but it's not a very good solution. The water has to be hot when it hits the powder, so made up and flash cooled bottles are fine.

It might be worth mixing for a bit? If you want a break at night or want to go out, do a bottle, do a bottle when you feel like it in the day, bf the rest of the time and cut down slowly so it's not a sudden stop. If you just stop cold turkey then you'll get really engorged and sore, so it makes sense to slow down and stop slowly. I think if you're not bothered about maintaining supply and you want to cut down anyway it would be fine to do it in a more haphazard way as long as it's not happening too quickly which will make it uncomfortable for you. You'll then also get a better idea of how long a bottle will satisfy him for vs the breast.

BertieBotts Fri 06-Nov-15 22:21:09

"This would be added to your bottle of cooled boiled water when you are ready to feed. Formula once made up will only last an hour."

Sorry to contradict, but this doesn't follow current advice. The powder must be made up with hot water, because it isn't sterile. The one hour marker is how long it can last after the baby has drunk from it.

See here under "What if I need to transport made up formula?"

PB01 Sat 07-Nov-15 13:27:08

sorry for the duff information. I was trying to feed and type at the same time and I've obviously missed out a few key steps. Sorry! Thank you BertieBotts for the link. i always carried my water in a flask and by 'cooled, boiled water' I meant it shouldnt be used straight from a boiling kettle. I blame it on my sleep deprived brain. It made perfect sense to me but when reading it back I can see the confusion. (New to these forums and didn't want to write war and peace.........I'll get it right next time.)
Thanks again.

BertieBotts Sat 07-Nov-15 21:04:41

No worries smile I was not intending any personal criticism, just wanted to clarify current guidance smile

Whoami24601 Sun 08-Nov-15 10:55:41

Thanks all for your replies!

To clarify: I have been moving gradually, one extra bottle every few days so today we're up to 3 feeds from a bottle. I remember well the pain of engorgement and have no desire to repeat the experience! Night and first feed will still be breast feed, and I'm going to continue that for the time being and see how I feel at a later date. Now that I've started the transition I feel quite sad about it!

Re the weaning- when I said whatever we're having, what I meant was if we're having chicken dinner then he's having soft boiled veg. I didn't mean he was on spaghetti bolognese! We're sticking mostly to fruit and veg first, with some porridge/ toast at breakfast. So far he seems to be really enjoying his food smile

So the best way to do milk out and about is to make up in advance, flash cool and then reheat? How far in advance can I make it? Just about to look at that link thanks

I think I'll start writing down how much he takes from each bottle at each feed so I can see if a pattern emerges. He seems to be taking 5-6oz at a time, and won't be persuaded to take more just now! Does that sound ok?

BertieBotts Sun 08-Nov-15 11:45:57

Spag bol is fine, really smile Let him try whatever. Just watch for choking hazards, honey (until 1 year), sugar and salt. Salt is a surprisingly low amount and is easy to go over. Spaghetti makes a great photo! Twisty pasta is the easiest for them to hold. Try giving him a few strips of cooked chicken, too. It's great for them to get protein and iron.

From the link it says 4 hours with a cool pack, or up to 24 if kept under 5C.

You can also buy ready made cartons which can be kept for months and used as needed. (Obv discard after X hours when opened, should say on the side).

Whoami24601 Mon 09-Nov-15 17:58:39

Last question I promise! When you make up the powder formula, you put in 8oz of water and 8 scoops of powder, by which time the mixture comes almost up to the 9oz mark. So if he drinks down to the 4 oz mark does that count as 4 or 5oz confused?

BertieBotts Mon 09-Nov-15 21:18:28

Not sure grin Does it matter? I've heard best practice is to make about 1oz more than they will actually take so that it's baby led when they stop rather than you being tempted to push them to finish the last bit etc.

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