Going from breastfeeding to bottle feeding can be difficult for mother and child. Some mothers feel guilty for making the change, and some children find it difficult to stop breastfeeding. Here are some things to consider when you plan to stop nursing.
The first thing to do is to cut back on the number of times you breastfeed each day. If your baby is younger and 12 months, you’ll need to substitute a bottle feeding for a missed breastfeeding. Older babies might be happy with a drink from a cup, a snack, toy, game or other distraction.
Weaning is best done gradually for a couple of reasons. If you quit suddenly, your breasts will become engorged and could result in infection. Your baby also is likely to fight a sudden switch from a warm, soft breast to a plastic substitute.
One way to wean from breastfeeding is to drop one feeding session a week until your child is comfortable and happy with a cup or bottle. If you are weaning your child off breastmilk completely, slowly reducing breast feedings will help you avoid engorgement. If your child will continue taking breastmilk in his or her bottle, you’ll have to keep pumping your breasts to make sure that your body keeps making milk.
Some mothers let the child decide when to wean. Children who eat three meals of solid food and snacks daily tend to breastfeed less anyway. If that works for you and your child, your breastmilk will dry up from lack of demand.
If you wean your baby off breastmilk before he or she is 1 or you are not making enough milk, you’ll need to substitute with formula. Ask your pediatrician or lactation consultant for advice on the best type of formula and how much to use.
Here are some more tips to introducing bottles while breastfeeding:
- During the time you would ordinarily nurse, engage your child in a game or fun activity.
- Avoid weaning if your child is adapting to another change, such as beginning childcare or teething.
- Change your daily routine so that you are otherwise engaged during breastfeeding times.
- Get your partner to help provide distractions during normal nursing times.
- If your child begins sucking his or her thumb or becomes attached to a security blanket, he or she is just trying to adjust to change. Do not discourage such comfort measures.
If you are planning to wean your child from breastfeeding, please consult your pediatrician at Pediatric Partners of Augusta or your lactation specialist at Bella Bambino.
Pediatric Partners has three locations to better serve our patients. The Evans office is at 411 Town Park Blvd.; the downtown Augusta office is at 1303 D’Antignac St., Suite 2600; and the new Grovetown office is at 5135 Wrightsboro Road. For more information about Pediatric Partners, call the office at 706-854-2500, visit PedPartners.com, or follow the Pediatric Partners of Augusta Facebook page.