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Q&A: Switching from formula?

I started my baby on formula, but now I want to breastfeed. Can I still switch even though my baby is a week old?

Re: I started my baby on formula, but now I want to breastfeed. Can I still switch even though my baby is a week old?

The Bump Expert

Yes. However, it may take some work to ensure a good milk supply, and your baby should be closely monitored to make sure she is getting enough calories while you make this switch.

The first few days and weeks are very important in terms of establishing a good milk supply, so the sooner you start, the easier it will be.

The key to bringing in a good milk supply is to stimulate and drain your breasts -- either by having a baby nurse or by using a hospital grade breast pump -- at least eight to 12 times per 24 hours. Remember that the total number of feedings/pumpings is far more important than the spacing between them. Keep track by simply jotting down the time you start to nurse or pump. This allows you to easily look back and see how many times in the past 24 hours you’ve drained your breasts, and make adjustments accordingly.

As your supply increases, your baby will likely become more and more interested in nursing, and you will be able to cut down on your need to use the pump.

An experienced IBCLC can help you make this transition smoothly and can show you the best ways of monitoring your baby's milk intake until your supply is bountiful.

Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC