Weaning From Breast to Bottle
The decision to breastfeed in the first place may or may not have been an easy one for you, at some point you will be thinking about when to stop and it may be much sooner or later than you anticipated. First of all, bear in mind that the World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, and then as a supplement to solids until at least the age of 12 months. There are many women who continue to breastfeed their children well into their toddler years, and, as you see in the occasional newspaper or magazine headline, some women continue for many years after that.
We look at when you should think about stopping breast feeding as well as how you can wean your baby off it.
It has been described as one of the most difficult task for some mothers - we give you a complete guide on the best way to encourage your baby to accept a bottle.
Sometimes the decision itself is the hardest part of changing from breastfeeding to formula feeding. Many women find that they feel quite emotional about giving up - even if they didn't always find it easy. Of course, if you or your baby are not ready to give up, it is still possible to continue breastfeeding when you return to work (in most jobs) if you express your milk. Alternatively, some women manage to successfully cut down their feeds to just one or two a day, giving formula for all the other feeds. This enables women to keep breastfeeding as a small part of their routine, often as a means of settling and bonding with their child at bed time.
If you decide to stop breastfeeding before the age of 12 months then your baby will need to be given formula in place of the breast milk feeds. For many babies the transition is straight forward, particularly if they are already used to drinking expressed breast milk from a bottle. For other babies the transition has to be a very gradual process, some mothers find themselves mixing part formula part breast milk feeds in ever increasing ratios whilst the baby adjusts to the new taste. If a baby has never had a bottle before then the challenge can be twofold: coping with the new taste and the alien rubber teat. In these articles you will find advice on making a smooth changeover from breast to bottle, making it as easy as possible on both you and your baby.