WIC in Vermont

Weaning

Weaning is the process of increasing the use of a cup to replace breast or bottle feeding. Introducing the cup is the first step to weaning. Wean baby gradually over several weeks or months. Offer a cup without a lid.

Introducing a cup

At 6 months, your baby can begin to learn to drink from a cup. Drinking from a cup is an important skill and can help prevent tooth decay that occurs from taking a bottle to bed. Begin offering a small amount of water in a cup without a lid while baby is seated in your arms or her high chair. You can also offer breastmilk or formula in a cup. Babies do not need juice if they are eating fruits, but if you do offer juice, always offer it in a cup and limit to 2 to 4 ounces of 100% juice per day. Work towards the goal of weaning your baby to drinking only from a cup by 12 to 15 months.

 

Breastfeeding and weaning

The decision of when to wean from the breast is up to each mother and baby. If your baby is under 1 year old, breast milk or iron fortified formula should be provided in a cup or bottle.  Many babies continue to breastfeed past one year.

  • Start by substituting baby’s least favored feeding
  • 3 - 4 days later, try to replace another feeding
  • As you add more table foods, you may notice breast milk intake decreases
  • Also, your milk supply will decrease gradually; it may take several months for your breasts to return to normal. Your breasts may feel full – not uncomfortable
  • When down to one nursing per day, your infant can be breast-fed every other day until the baby is taking all liquids from a cup

Bottle feeding & weaning:

It is recommended that you start weaning from the bottle around 12 months with baby using only a cup by 12 –15 months. After that time, babies get very attached to the bottle and it is much more difficult to wean them to a cup.

  • Start by substituting baby’s least favored feeding and offer formula (or whole milk after age 1) in a cup
  • 3 – 4 days later, try to replace another feeding
  • As you add more table foods, you may notice formula intake decreases
  • Keep bottles out of sight

A slow down in the weaning process may be due to:

  • Baby could be upset about weaning and suddenly want to drink more
  • Illness or some change in your baby’s routine
  • Remember: Babies have different patterns for weaning.

If a set back to weaning happens, try not to be concerned and allow the baby to continue to drink from the bottle for a little while longer.

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