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weaningWeaning your child from the breast to a bottle can be very tricky business. Many mothers find that upon returning to work or other activities they desire to switch to bottle feeding. How long this process can take depends greatly on the baby and the mother. A baby who has exclusively breast fed may reject the bottle at first. Below are some techniques we have found that may be of some help.

Step 1 : Introduce breast milk or formula in a bottle.

   -   Have someone other than the mother give the bottle. Mother may even need to be in another room or out of the house altogether.
   -   Nipples vary in size and shape. Choose nipples that are sized appropriately for your child’s age group and try different styles and shapes (othodontic, playtex, silicon, rubber).
   -   Warm breast milk or formula to body temperature. You can test the temperature on the inside of your wrist. It should feel lukewarm. See Warming Infant Formula.
   -   Give extra love and cuddle time. As your baby weans, she may miss the closeness of skin to skin contact. Allow for plenty of cuddle time.

Step 2 : Follow a schedule for a smoother transition.

   -   Substitute bottle for breast 1 feeding for 2 days
   -   Increase bottle to 2 feedings for 2 days
   -   Increase bottle to 3 or 4 feedings and so on
   -   The final schedule of feedings will depend on your baby’s age and intake. The older the baby, the less frequent the feedings (especially if he is on solid foods as well) and the more quantity (for example 8 ounces or 230 ml) per feeding. The baby who is under 4 months may feed at a schedule of 4 ounces or 125 ml. every 4 hours. See Bottle Feeding, Getting Started.

Many women prefer a much slower schedule of weaning over weeks or even months. This is fine for babies who wish to cooperate. However, if your baby decides he prefers the bottle, do not force the breast.

Save baby’s favorite nursing times for the last to go. Milk will remain to a small extent and can be fully reinstated for at least 6 months after weaning in cases of emergency such as infant illness or allergic reactions to food, formula and cow’s milk.

Related Topics:
About Infant Formula
Formula Choices
Milk Allergies
Vitamins, Yes or No?

Engorgement Relief

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