Most pediatricians recommend weaning babies from a bottle at one year. For many parents, weaning a baby from their bottle is a dreaded task. Fortunately, by using the following tips from babysitters and nannies, you will find that getting your baby to kick the bottle habit does not have to be a big battle.
An important preliminary step in weaning a baby from the bottle is to introduce a non-spill cup at about six months of age. This gives your baby 6 months to get accustomed to a cup before beginning to eliminate his bottles. If your baby is well past 6 months of age, don’t fret. Introduce the sippy cup today and give your baby a few weeks to get the hang of using it. The first step in weaning your baby from the bottle is to eliminate the bottle at one of his feeding times. Pick the feeding your baby seems to need the least. Nanny finds that the easiest bottle to eliminate was the one given after lunch. Feed your baby lunch and give him a cup of milk with his meal. After a week, eliminate his dinnertime bottle. Again, add a cup of milk to his meal to replace the calories and liquids he used to get from his bottle. At this point, your baby should only be getting a bottle after breakfast and before bed.
After giving your baby a week to adjust to this new bottle schedule, it is time to eliminate the morning bottle. Once the morning bottle is gone you are in the homestretch and the last step is to eliminate the bedtime bottle. The quickest way is to simply withhold the bottle and offer a cup of milk in its place. If your baby is having a difficult time giving up his bedtime bottle, nanny would recommend a more gradual method. Try slowly watering down your baby’s bottle over the course of one week. For example, if you give your baby an 8-ounce bottle at bedtime, use three instead of four scoops of formula. Slowly decrease the amount of formula so that the bottle becomes more water and less formula. This makes the bottle less appealing. At the end of the week, take the bottle away. The children might get a little crankier at bedtime for a few days after they had given up their last bottle, but they quickly got over it. In each case of weaning, you might get somewhat dreaded your baby’s reaction to dropping their bottle. However, you should be pleased with how quickly your babies adjusted to this change.
If you are breastfeeding your baby, there is no right or wrong time to wean your baby from breastfeeding. You may find that it is easiest to take the lead from your baby. Some babies are ready to wean at eight months of age, while others are happy to nurse well into the second or even third year. The decision of when to wean your baby from breastfeeding is a personal one and the timing should be decided by what is right for you and your baby.
When you do decide the time is right to wean, the best way to do it is gradually. Your milk supply will decrease as you decrease your feedings and your baby learns to rely on other foods and liquids for nutrition. As with bottle feedings, the best way to wean is by eliminating one feeding at a time. Pick the feeding that you think will be the easiest to eliminate. If your baby is under one year of age, you can substitute this feeding with a bottle. If he is one year or older, you can offer him a sippy cup of milk or water. Sometimes it helps if you have someone else offer this feeding. Out of sight may be out of mind. If your breasts feel full and uncomfortable, express a little bit of milk when you would normally be nursing, but don’t express a whole feeding’s worth of milk. The goal is to simply relieve some pressure and prevent engorgement.
As with weaning from the bottle, nanny recommend that you continue to eliminate one feeding each week until you are down to one breastfeeding a day. Usually, the last nursing session to go is the nighttime feeding. When ending this last feeding, try to change the routine. For example, if you always nurse your child in the rocker in his room before bed, try having a special story time in another room. Even this subtle change can help. Give your child extra hugs and kisses to make up for the time at the breast that he may be missing and talk to him about what is going on. Remember, he probably understands more than you realize.
Although you may feel some sadness as you end this special time, remember that a whole new amazing time is about to begin. You will still be in charge of feeding your child, just in a different way.
NannySOS is a confinement nanny agency providing confinement care and babysitting for your child. More information on ad hoc babysitter or daytime nanny services is available in our article Babysitter Singapore.