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Weaning Your Baby

January 31st, 2014 | By: Nancy Ripton
Here's how to make the weaning process go as smoothly as possible for both mom and baby.

In This Article

Weaning Your Baby

Weaning can be an emotional time for both mom and baby and isn't always an easy process, no matter when you decide to do it. We went to our experts for tips on how to make weaning easier for you and your baby.

Top Five Expert Weaning Tips

  1. Start trying to wean your child two to four weeks before you want to stop breastfeeding entirely. If your baby is under one year and you aren't pumping breast milk, switch to formula. Once a baby has reached 12 months, she can go directly to whole milk. "If your child is not growing well, or is less than the fifth percentile for weight, you can do 50 percent milk, 50 percent formula until she is two years old," says Dr. Jennifer Shu.

  2. Some babies will take a bottle right away, while others need a little extra encouragement. Replace baby's least favorite feeding first. (Usually, this will be a daytime feed when there are other more interesting things going on.) "You can try wrapping the bottle in something you've worn so the scent is familiar," says Terriann Shell, director of professional development for the International Lactation Consultant Association.

  3. It's also a good idea to feed your baby a little food before you give her a bottle so she won't be starving. "You can even take the edge off her hunger with a little breast milk first," says Shu. Many moms think if they wait until their baby is starving, she will be more likely to take the bottle, but the opposite is usually true.

  4. Other good tips for getting a baby to take a bottle include: getting someone else to offer it and giving your baby extra cuddle time so she doesn't miss the personal contact with mom.

  5. If you still have no luck, you can try the Adiri brand of bottle, which has a nipple that is shaped like a breast and feels breast-like when sucked. Or, if your baby is over six months, you can go directly to a sippy cup.

Be patient and your child will eventually take to a bottle or cup. And try not to worry–babies don't need as much fluid as you may think. A six-month old requires 24 to 32 ounces of fluids a day. Plus, baby food is full of water, so if your infant is eating solids, she will get some of her fluid requirements through food. You can also try mixing formula into her cereal. "Babies won't starve themselves," says Dr. Shu. "If she seems satisfied, is peeing, pooping and growing, you don't have to worry."