Weaning Baby from Breastfeeding -
0 to 6 Months
Mothers, in general, go through a difficult internal struggle when they see their children striving for independence. A part of you wants your child to do his best and aim for the goal. But deep inside, a more “sinister” part doesn’t want him to do well because it’s a sign that he is starting to let go of his need for you.
Of course, your baby still has a long way to go before he moves out to college. And yet, the in his first 6 months of life, so many milestones would’ve been made – his first smile, being able to recognize people, rolling over and sitting up, being able to grasp objects and many more.
At this stage, weaning may refer to two things – switching your baby from breast bottle and starting on solid food. Our article will focus on the first type of weaning – which is switching your baby to formula.
Weaning from breastfeeding to bottle feeding
If you are going to introduce the bottle to your baby, the most important thing to keep in mind is to do it gradually. For several reasons – first, your baby will need to learn and to get used to getting milk from a bottle. Second, gradually lessening feedings will allow your body to slowly reduce its milk production. This means reducing the possibility of breast engorgement and catching an infection (mastitis).
Start weaning baby from breastfeeding by cutting out one feeding at a time and substituting with a bottle. Some infants do not like drinking from a bottle when they can sense your presence. This is because they are used to breastfeeding when you are around. If this is the case with your baby, get someone else to feed your baby so that she’ll begin getting used to drinking from a bottle.
Another reason why baby may not take to the bottle immediately is because sucking from the breast is different from sucking from a bottle. Your baby will have to learn how it’s done. This can be source of frustration for your baby, especially if she is really hungry when you offer her the bottle.
To avoid this, it is best to introduce the bottle before she becomes really hungry. If she has settled on a breastfeeding schedule and is feeding every 3 hours, offer the bottle 2 hours after your last breastfeed. This will give her time to become familiar with drinking from a bottle.
If your breasts get engorged when you miss a feeding, you can relieve the pain and the swelling by expressing some of the milk out of your breasts. You can choose to express by hand or to use a breast pump. If you want to dry up your milk supply, express only what you need in order for you to be comfortable. However, if you plan to continue your baby on breast milk even if you cannot be present to feed her all the time, empty your breasts when you express milk. This will send a signal to your body to keep on producing milk.
When you do plan on weaning baby from breastfeeding, you need to consult with your pediatrician to find out how best to feed your baby to make sure that her nutritional needs are met. Unlike breastmilk which is always in perfect condition for your baby, she may need a special type of formula if she is lactose intolerant or if she is allergic to components of cow's milk.