How To Wean Your Baby From The Breast To The Bottle
Children love being breastfed. They thrive with every feeding session, growing bigger and happier by the day. And many mothers are fond of it too. Feeding time is usually a time of bonding for baby and mom.
But even then, there’s one question that mothers always ask. How long will this last?
A child has to be weaned before they’ll take on solid foods. They can’t be breastfed forever. Taking breast milk or formula from a bottle is the next step. But when do you initiate it? That’s the question.
Many people have their preferences on how it should be done and at what time. But we'll tell you what we think.
When Is The Best Time To Start Weaning?
Some people begin weaning their children as early as their third month. Some others let them breastfeed for longer than two years. But what should you do?
The World Health Organization recommends that babies be fed exclusively on breast milk for their first six months. Complementary feeding (breast milk and other foods) should continue till the second year.
The reason is that breast milk is more than just food. It also serves to comfort your child during times of stress. On many occasions, your child’s cries are quieted as soon as they begin feeding.
How Do You Wean Your Child?
Before you begin, one important thing to note is that you should do it gradually. This slow process would benefit not just the child but the mother too.
A slow process would help your child cope with the change, and it prevents some issues for the mother. Things like blocked ducts, engorgement, and mastitis might occur during abrupt weaning.
There may also be some emotional stress that you and your baby might feel. A gradual process would prevent that.
How To Bottle-Feed A Child
Bottle feeding is more than sticking a bottle into a baby’s mouth. There’s a process to go about it to prevent complications.
Yes, wrong bottle-feeding practices can cause complications in your child. So, it would help if you did it carefully.
Don’t Feed With A Schedule: Most mothers make this mistake. They decide to feed their babies at certain times of the day. But the best way is to give food only when the child is hungry.
Hold Your Child Upright: This is an important one. Do not let your child drink while lying down. This could lead to ear infections and bottle caries.
Feed For 10-20 minutes per session: This is the time breastfeeding takes. Try not to cram all the food into the baby’s mouth in a short time.
Don’t Push The Bottle Nipple Into The Child’s Mouth: Letting your baby control the process is essential. So, let them draw the nipple into their mouth, don’t push it in.
Emptying The Bottle Shouldn't Be A Priority: The session should end when your child is satisfied and not when the food is finished. Forcing the child may lead them to overfeed. And overfeeding can cause colic-like symptoms.
Are There Circumstances That Might Require Postponing Weaning?
We’ve known the perfect time to begin, but sometimes weaning may have to be postponed. This happens in situations where weaning the child at that moment may be harmful to the child’s well-being.
Some of these situations include:
When There Are Allergy Scares: If you or your partner has allergies, you may want to extend the breastfeeding period till your child turns one. Research has shown that exposing your children to potential allergens while breastfeeding may reduce their risk of developing allergies. During Illnesses: Weaning is stressful. So if your child is ill or teething, you should put it off till it’s over. And not just the child, you’re also important. If you are not feeling well, you should do it some other time.
During Major Changes: If there's some upheaval or a period of change, you shouldn’t wean your child. These may include a move or an emotional situation.
Weaning is an important step that should be done delicately, as many feeding habits are developed then. A firm and loving hand is needed in this period.
You can always call on us. The Elite Nanny Team is ready to take care of your child’s weaning in the proper way. Check us out; we're always here to help.