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Weaning is not just the transition from breastmilk to bottle, but a stage in life when your baby enters into transition emotionally and in his routine of life.


This period is often difficult for mother and baby… Everything must be done gently in order to facilitate this detachment. You must plan this moment and banish the urge to stop too quickly because baby could have a hard time with weaning… and you too! This last conclusive step must be gradual and gentle. Choose a period when baby is in particularly good shape (avoid periods of teething or any other time requiring him to adapt, such as a return to work for example).

When is the right time?

There is no perfect time to stop breastfeeding. Rather, it depends on the goals you set for yourself at the start and your day-to-day reality. With some expert advice in mind, a full-term baby of normal birth weight should be breastfed until 6 months of age. After that, solid foods should be added to the diet, as breast milk no longer contains enough iron to meet her nutritional needs.

We can still continue to breastfeedas long as desired in addition to solid foods. Be sure to carefully weigh the pros and cons in this decision with sometimes irrevocable outcomes. During the weaning period, surround your baby doubly with caresses and love, because he will experience a certain form of detachment. Take it slow.

There are several weaning methods. The important thing is to take it gradually.

The Gradual Method

This method may be very suitable for a mother with a medium let-down.

  • Replace a feed with a bottle of formula or expressed breast milk. It can be frozen too.
  • Slowly, after 5 to 7 days, replace another feed with a bottle of breastmilk or iron-fortified commercial formula (to avoid congestion in your breasts, always alternate one breastfeed and another with a bottle).
  • Continue this method until the complete substitution of breastfeeding for the bottle. It could take about 5-6 weeks.
  • Offer, if possible, your own milk in the first bottles. In this way, baby will quickly recognize the taste of the milk he ordinarily drinks and will tend to accept the bottle more quickly.
  • Between feedings, you can soothe your breasts by expressing a little milk or simply letting it flow under a hot shower.

If you need to wean faster, apply the same method, but wait fewer days before addingan extra drink from a bottle. For example, every third day, add a replacement drink.

My baby refuses or has difficulty taking the bottle

  • Start by giving him his first bottle in the morning. Normally he is hungrier and less capricious.
  • If you notice him reaching for your breast when you introduce him to the bottle, ask the daddy or babysitter to give him the bottle. Out of sight, out of breasts!
  • If your child is over 7 or 8 months old and doesn't like or want the bottle, try the cup or cup.
  • You can also change your habits and give the bottle in different places, other than where you were breastfeeding, and even change the atmosphere during the feedings.
  • Don't give the bottle in the same position as you were breastfeeding.

Read this another article on bottle refusal.

If you stop breastfeeding your baby before 12 months of age, replace breastmilk with iron-fortified formula. It is strongly advised not to introduce cow's milk before the age of one year. The important thing, once solid food has started, is to make sure that baby drinks enough milk, since milk remains the staple food throughout the first year of life: it provides your baby the calcium and protein needed for growth.


Is it possible to restart after a timeout?

Yes, it is possible to start breastfeeding again after a break, but it takes a lot of patience and perseverance. What is called relactation is always easier if breastfeeding was initially well established and your baby was and remains a faithful collaborator.

It is therefore possible to breastfeed again if:

  • You've only been off for a few days or even 2 or 3 weeks.
  • You had good milk supply before the time out.
  • Your baby accepts the breast easily as before.
  • You had continued to express your milk to store it and give it to your child in a bottle.

It is important to resume breastfeeding intensely day and night and at each feed. By trying to reintroduce breastfeeding through feedings, you will see her reaction and perhaps the stimulation of milk production will activate again. Breastfeeding often will increase your chances of the milk coming back. If you have the feeling that baby is not drinking or very little, it is imperative to continue with a milk supplement given directly from the bottle. And if you find it all coming back, slowly reduce formula and go back to breastfeeding completely.

Do not hesitate to ask for help from a resource organization, from a forum like ours, from a lactation consultant in order to guide and support you in your approach. When making the transition to bottle feeding, the needs ofyour baby stay the same. Treasure this dynamic of exchange and sharing which belongs only to you and your child.

Keep surrounding him with love, snuggling him up and rocking him in time with your heartbeat. The atmosphere you will create around meals will follow him throughout his life and will be reflected in his relationship with food.

Bottle weaning

The bottle should not be used as an element of comfort. Do not let your child sleep or walk around with their bottle, baby tooth decay is very common in children who fall asleep with their bottle in their mouth. Unless the child is breastfed, children around 1 year old should drink from a glass or sippy cup at all times. The American academy advises to start weaning from the bottle around the age of 9 months so that on his first birthday he is completely weaned. From the age of 7 or 8 months, your little one is able to start learning about glass and beaker. By delaying the introduction of the glass or goblet, you will find that the task will become more and more difficult.

Abrupt withdrawal

Abrupt weaning, i.e. completely stopping breastfeeding in a short period of time, is never recommended. It involves risks of engorgement, mastitis and abscess for the mother and a possibility that the baby will simply refuse the bottle or cup. The mother may also experience flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, fatigue). For the mother who has no choiceon the other hand (illness for example), it is suggested to wear a bra 24 hours a day and to express a little milk occasionally to relieve engorgement. You can also apply ice to the breasts and take a mild analgesic (acetaminophen, for example) to relieve pain. Leave the baby with a trusted person who will offer him the bottle until he accepts it (this may take 10 to 24 hours).

Natural weaning

Natural weaning in fact is one where the child is simply left to decide for himself when he will leave the breast. It is usually a very gradual weaning, which takes place over several months, but which can also occur very quickly after the introduction of solid food. For some children, it will start as early as 8 or 10 months and end a few months later. For others, it will continue for up to 2, 3 or even 4 years. The only limit you have is yours and your child's. The important thing is that you are both good in what you live!

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