Top Tips: Weaning off Breast or Bottle
Whether you are going back to work, expecting another baby, or you are just ready for your breastfeeding journey to end; weaning off of the breast can be a challenging time for both you and your little one. It can also be challenging to switch from bottle to sippy cup for those who have been bottle-feeding.
We spoke to Sasha Romary, Maternity & Postpartum Consultant and founder of The Modern Mama, who gave us her top tips for this tricky time.
1. Don’t Offer, Don’t Refuse
This is probably the most gentle approach to both bottle and breastfeeding weaning. The idea is to simply not offer a bottle or your breast but if baby wants it, do not refuse. The theory is that over time, baby will become more independent and choose their nutrition from a sippy cup that they control themselves instead of from you.
2. Go Slow
Remember that this is a transition time for you and for baby. Approach weaning one feeding at a time so that your supply adjusts and you do not become engorged. This will also be easier on baby. Starting with your baby’s least important feed, remove the breast or bottle and once this has been established, continue on to another feeding time. Don’t attempt it all at once. Be patient.
When baby asks for a bottle or breast, offer a favourite snack instead. This can be done primitively if you know that around 11am, for example, baby will want to nurse, come prepared with a special snack to offer instead.
4. Change your Routine
Maybe baby only nurses or asks for a bottle when you are at home? Or maybe as soon as baby sees you in the morning they want to nurse? Change up the schedule so that you are out and about when bottle time hits or have Daddy go and get baby in the morning. Sometimes a simple change in schedule can help a transition.
5. Shorter Sessions
This one is more for breastfeeding than for bottle feeding but it could be applied to both. The idea is to limit the nursing sessions by a minute or so slowly until baby does not feel like they need that feed any more. With bottle feeding, this could mean to simply provide less milk or formula in a bottle and more in another sippy cup with or following a meal.
6. Stick to it!
It will take time and patience on both sides but you have made the decision and in time, you and baby will be nursing and bottle free. You’ve got this!