Ready to wean your baby off breastfeeding? Or at least ready to start thinking about it? Here are some weaning guidelines and tips you need to know.
1. Know when to say wean.
Sometimes babies lose interest in breastfeeding on their own, when things like walking steal their interest. Let your baby decide. And try not to do it along with another big change, like moving or starting a new child-care situation.
2. Take it one sip at a time.
Start by giving him a bottle of expressed breast milk at one feeding time per day, usually the one your baby is least interested in. Then, replace a second feeding and so on. Once he's used to the bottle, you can start moving to formula or to a toddler milk drink (at 12 months). This gradual transition will also help keep your breasts from becoming engorged.
3. Make it a family affair.
Since you're the milk-maker, it may confuse your baby if you start feeding him from a bottle. Try having dad or another family member do the first few. Until he gets used to the idea.
4. Keep it close to the breast.
Choose a formula that is patterned after breast milk, with balanced nutrition and DHA and ARA to support his brain and eye development. If he's 1 year or older, you can switch to a Toddler drink that supports his development with nutrients that his solid food diet may lack.
5. Evaluate his cup-readiness.
Older babies and toddlers can usually go right to the cup. If your baby is younger than 7-8 months, it's best to go from breast to bottle. If so, choose a nipple that's similar to yours to avoid confusion.
6. Let your baby be your measuring spoon.
Your baby will let you know when he's full. Most babies 3 months and younger, drink about 2-4 fluid oz of formula per feeding. If he weighs more than 15 pounds, he may be able to handle 6+ fluid oz per feeding.