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Mother's hand holding bottle, feeding baby.

Getting started with supplementing: how to bottle-feed

A guide for moms who breastfeed

Supplementing basics

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of your baby's life; breastfeeding in combination with solid foods through at least 12 months; and continued breastfeeding thereafter for as long as mutually desired by the mother and baby.

If you decide to start supplementing your regular breastfeedings with baby formula, there is no need to worry. All baby formulas are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and are safe for your baby. You should know that Similac® offers complete nutrition. Similac® For Supplementation has Lutein and DHA to support your baby's developing eyes and brain, as well as prebiotics for digestive health. It's the first Similac formula specifically designed for breastfeeding moms who choose to introduce formula.

Learn more about Similac For Supplementation  



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Introducing your baby to the bottle


First, decide how often you would like to supplement breastfeeding with formula. Some moms begin by supplementing one feeding each day.


A slow transition will help prevent the uncomfortable engorgement that can result when a mom discontinues breastfeeding. If you know you are returning to work in two weeks, and will miss two feedings a day, introduce your baby to formula two weeks in advance.


Before offering the first bottle of formula, start with breast milk in a bottle. This will help your baby adjust to the shape of an artificial nipple before adjusting to the taste of formula. You should express milk for the same amount of time your baby would nurse to keep your breasts from becoming engorged and uncomfortable, and to keep your milk supply intact.


Helping your baby adjust to the taste of baby formula is often easier if you mix some of your pumped breast milk with the already-prepared formula.* Also, it is perfectly safe to offer breast milk at some feedings and formula at others. If you are evaluating which formula brand to use, keep in mind that Similac has a unique blend of DHA and Lutein — important nutrients during this critical time of development.



Who should feed your baby the first bottle of baby formula?


There are a couple of good reasons to ask someone else to feed your baby the first bottle of baby formula:


  • Your baby associates your smell with the act of breastfeeding, and might be confused if you are the one to give that first taste of formula. It might be better if you are out of the house when your baby tries baby formula for the first time. Knowing you are around will make it more likely that your baby will hold out for breastfeeding.
  • Bottle feeding is a great bonding opportunity for your partner or other family members. Allowing someone else to feed gives you time to take care of yourself, your work, and anything else that needs your attention.



*When preparing formula, follow package directions precisely. Don't use breast milk in place of water.

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