Time to wean a baby cannot be guessed as even if it is 6 days or a year from birth, your frame of mind is most likely to be emotional and stressed and to lessen the trauma of both mom and baby, it’s best to start weaning bit by bit. Transitioning of baby from breast to bottle should be gradual.
Getting a head start
Every effort should be made to transition baby from breast to bottle at least a month or two before the time limit you have set to stop breastfeeding. If you wish to give your baby all the benefits of breast milk as long as possible, the nursing sessions could be replaced with pumping the breast milk into a feeding bottle and bottle fed. The feed could also be supplemented with a milk formula if the breast milk is insufficient.
Slow and Steady
Most working mothers are usually in a hurry to wean their babies from breast to bottle as soon as possible but it is always best to take it slow. When baby stops suckling the breast it becomes painful and engorged and baby may also cry and reject the bottle. It is best to start by substituting with one bottle a day in the first week and gradually increase.
Breastfed babies don’t usually protest if the breasts are not within their reach. Therefore, the best way to avoid your baby being confused or distressed is to get your husband, mom or nanny to do the bottle feeding.
Mix and Match
Breastfed babies are used to the flow of the milk through the nipples and think it’s the best and hence, will definitely cry and fuss to suck from an artificial nipple. If you find baby rejecting the bottle, try using nipples with different flows until baby accepts the right one. Once the baby is over 9 months they could be fed in sippy cups.
Distracting Baby’s Attention
Once your baby had started on solids you can distract attention by offering solids at mealtimes instead of the breast. You could give her favorite food at snack time and as they get older you could take her out for a stroll or the park to make her forget about the breast milk.
Once you start bottle feeding baby the production of breast milk may take a little while to stop production. Initially, it will be necessary to express the milk out to minimize engorgement. Also, keep in mind not to empty the breasts fully as it will tend to produce more.
Don’t get stressed out if the weaning transition does not happen as planned. It may take a few weeks to reach expected results. There will be many physical changes and tensed disturbances in both baby and you. This transition should not be dreadful for both of you. It’s advisable to put it off for tomorrow as it’s always best to give first priority to your baby’s comfort and well-being.