Surviving Weaning from Breast and/or Bottle

Tips from real moms on how to successfully wean your baby from breastfeeding or bottle feeding.

Smiling baby with a sippy cup smiling in a high chair

Weaning a baby from breast or bottle is stressful. You do not want a hungry baby and worry that the weaning process will lead to a hungry, cranky baby. You also worry that this hunger can lead to disrupted sleep.

Our latest surviving question in my Surviving series is how do you survive the weaning process, whether from breast or bottle? Here are the tips from real moms to make this transition smoother.

Weaning Baby from Breast

  • Relieve Engorgement: If you get engorged, take steps to relieve it. Cabbage, tight fitting bra, compresses, pump just enough to take the edge off…you don’t have to sit in misery. Take small measures to relieve the engorgement.
  • Wean Slowly: If you wean slowly, you can help prevent engorgement. I like to drop one feeding each week to slow down the process and prevent pain.

Weaning Baby from Bottle

  • Do a slow approach if your child resists. Do one feeding where you feed with a sippy cup rather than milk. Do that for a week or two before moving to another feeding. This isn’t a race. It is okay if it takes time. 

Handling an Upset Child

  • If your child is upset by the weaning process, try holding your child while she drinks from her new source. This can help her still feel that connection to you. 
  • Another tip if your child is upset is the slow weaning approach. Whether you are going from breast or bottle, try dropping just one feeding every week or even every two weeks. Some children have a hard time with change and taking things slowly can help them get used to a new normal slowly. 
  • As with anything similar, distraction is a great strategy. Take your child for a walk or to the park. Read books together. Play with blocks or do a puzzle together. Do something with your child to help take your child’s mind off of it. 

Handling Upset Mom Emotions

Things can really get out of wack with your body when you stop breastfeeding. You might react strongly to hormone shifts. No matter how strong, there will be hormone shifts, physical shifts, and emotional shifts. 

  • Recognize that you are having changes. Do not try to ignore them or brush them off. Acknowledge what it is so you can figure out a way to deal with it. 
  • Exercise. Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, which makes you happy. Stopping that can leave ou feeling sad. But exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy! (Happy people don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t. Name that movie!). Seriously, though, exercise is good for you in many ways. Make it part of your norm.
  • Look at the good. Sometimes you feel depressed or emotional because your baby is growing up. Part of being a mom is allowing your children to move forward in life. You don’t want to be that mom sobbing at your child’s wedding; you want to be someone who can celebrate with your child–not mourn what was while your child celebrates what is. Sure, you can feel some nostalgia, but learn to essentially look on the bright side. Learn to enjoy what is now and what the new normal is in life. It is constantly changing, and that is even more true in “normal” while raising children.

General Tips for Weaning Baby

  • Plan: Ali said: I recommend planning. With my first he weaned himself from breastfeeding because for some weird reason he liked formula better. But the transition from a bottle to a sippy was more difficult we tried many cups and worked slowly off the bottle. With my daughter I was able to nurse until 10 months and then she will have expressed milk till a year (yay for an extra store). Because of working she did great going from nursing to the bottle for every feeding. We got some of the transition sippy cups an started the sippy transition. We are already planning out how to wean from breast milk to cows milk as she approaches 1 year.
  • Just Try: Kate said: Well with my first it was very easy to go from a bottle to a sippy or straw cup. 
    She was so determined to drink from whatever was placed in front of her. 
  • Go Cold Turkey: Heather said: My kids are awesome with transitions. Cold turkey seemed to be the best for them and for me. Otherwise we were stuck in limbo for a while which I hate! The bottle to sippy was probably the hardest and that was just because they didn’t drink much milk from a sippy but it never affected sleep or growth, as they were piggies with food. So my motto: Just Do It!! 

See also

Baby with sippy cup pinnable image

Surviving Series

1 thought on “Surviving Weaning from Breast and/or Bottle”

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