How to Wean from Breastfeeding to Bottle

How to Wean from Breastfeeding to Bottle

  • By Tamar Paluch
  • Nov 16

 

While the process of starting a breastfeeding journey can be difficult, it can be even more challenging to say goodbye when it’s time. At Emulait, we support every family’s feeding journey and help ease the transition for you with a feeding system that supports your specific needs while offering some useful tips to help you along the way.

When it’s time to begin weaning from breastfeeding to bottle, you might be wondering where to begin. Keep reading to discover what works best for you and your baby.

When is it best to wean from breastfeeding to bottle?

This is a personal decision that is entirely up to you and your family. If you and your little one are both enjoying breastfeeding and finding it mutually beneficial, there is no reason you need to stop. While some mothers may choose to wean off before their baby turns 2, others wean naturally and allow their little ones to outgrow the need gradually with time. Overall, it’s not for anyone else to decide but you, your partner, and your baby.

If you’re ready to wean, we can help you get started with the following tips.

How to wean from breastfeeding to bottle

The first thing to keep in mind if you’re finding this transition stressful is that weaning does not have to be an all-or-nothing process. The best way to make it more comfortable for you and your baby is to do it gradually and with love, finding a balance or a helpful substitute that eases this shift for you.

At Emulait, our advanced baby bottle offers the perfect transition for families looking for an alternative to breastfeeding. Our bottles mimic the shape, feel and function of a real breast to offer your baby the milk flow of a real nipple and make the feeding process as close to the real thing as possible. Learn more here!

If you find yourself needing to wean suddenly due to medical issues, please consult with your doctor about next steps. In the meantime, here are some guidelines for families who are ready to start weaning:

  • Weaning a baby under a year – One of the most effective ways to do this according to experts is to let your baby have a few days (or even weeks) between each time you substitute breastfeeding with a bottle. If you feel your breasts becoming engorged in the meantime, express a little milk to soothe any discomfort.
  • Weaning an older baby – The first thing to keep in mind is that breastfeeding an older toddler or child is different from breastfeeding an infant. An older child will raise different challenges for parents and be at a different stage of development. You may find that you want to start placing some restrictions or start learning more about childhood behavior and needs. Consult with a lactation consultant for some helpful guidance.
  • Weaning during the day – The following are just a few strategies that can help. Only breastfeed your little one when they ask and don’t offer when they don’t. Change up your daily routine and avoid the nursing area of your home. Substitute “nursing time” with other distractions the baby enjoys.
  • Weaning at night – This also varies from baby to baby. If your child sleeps with you, one helpful tip is to try moving them into a bed. It also helps to ask other family members to take over the sleep-time routine and offer a snack or some water if your baby seems to be hungry for a breastfeeding session.

Frequently asked questions about weaning

How do you know if your baby isn’t ready to wean?

Your baby will let you know if they’re feeling rushed to wean by their behavior. You might notice increased tantrums, fussiness, anxiety, an increase in waking up in the middle of the night, separation anxiety, and clinginess as possible signs that they’re finding it especially difficult to wean. Teething can also interfere with weaning.

If you’re finding this especially difficult, consult with your pediatrician about options.

Are there disadvantages to bottle feeding?

Choosing not to breastfeed and to solely bottle feed your little one is, again, an entirely personal choice. There are many unique reasons caregivers choose not to breastfeed and many alternatives that still provide a happy and healthy feeding journey for your little one.

While breast milk has its own natural health benefits, it’s not always a possibility for every family. Bottle feeding can be just as advantageous, especially with the help of brands like Emulait that close the gap between breast and bottle so you can provide the best feeding experience for your baby.

In summary

Weaning your baby at any given time is your choice. Keep that in mind if you ever feel the pressure to do what others tell you is right or wrong. With patience, love, research, and help from your doctor, you’ll be on the road to finding the right weaning transition for you and your baby in no time.

References

Claire McCarthy, M. D. (2020, October 27). Why we shouldn't demonize formula feeding. Harvard Health. Retrieved August 24, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-we-shouldnt-demonize-formula-feeding-2018040313557

Weaning: How to. La Leche League International. (2020, August 6). Retrieved August 24, 2022, from https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/weaning-how-to/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, July 9). Weaning. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved August 24, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/breastfeeding/weaning.html

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and does not substitute for professional medical or health advice. Always consult a medical professional or healthcare provided for any medical advice, diagnoses, treatment, or health objectives.

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