How To Wean Baby from Breast, Bottle, and Formula


How To Wean Baby from Breast, Bottle, and Formula. Tips and strategies to help make the transition from breastfeeding and bottle-feeding smoother for baby.

parent feeding a baby

Whether you are weaning from breast or bottle, you might be wondering what to do. Here is what I did with Brayden. We haven’t weaned Kaitlyn yet, so more ideas might come after I do that (a few months off).

I breastfed Brayden for a year. Neither one of us were attached to doing so. When it came time for weaning, neither one of us were sentimental about it (though I did have a brief moment at one point–lasted maybe five minutes).

One woman I know once pointed out that if you feed your baby for comfort or to get to sleep, weaning will be harder. So the good news for Babywise moms is that it shouldn’t be an issue because baby eats to get nutrition, not for other reasons. Comfort, joy, and cuddling might be bonuses, but those things can still be done even if you don’t breastfeed if you put in the effort to do so.

I am the type to take things slow, so here were my strategies for weaning.

Weaning from the Breast

When I weaned Brayden at one year, he had 4 nursings a day.

  • I dropped one nursing a week and replaced that nursing with a bottle. If your baby will go straight to sippy cup without issue, I would shoot for that. The bottle is what worked for us.
  • I started with the third nursing the first week. I knew I didn’t want to start with the first or last since 12 hours were already between those. I knew the third nursing I had less milk than the second, so we went for that.
  • I weaned to formula. He was already accustomed to the taste of formula because I fed it to him once a week from birth.
  • Even though he insisted upon holding the bottle himself, I still held him while he drank. We got some cuddling time (rare with the active little boy). Also, I was able to make sure he drank it all at once and kept the feeding time and didn’t turn it into a snack on the run.
  • Week two, I dropped the second nursing and replaced it with formula.
  • Week three, I dropped the morning nursing. After a few days of this, he preferred to drop the fourth nursing also.

Something I loved about this strategy was that my milk supply slowly decreased, so I had no discomfort.

Weaning from Formula to Cow’s Milk (or Breastmilk to Cows Milk)

After Brayden was completely weaned from the breast, we switched from formula to cow’s milk. I was genuinely shocked when he didn’t like the cow’s milk. Come on! That has got to taste better than formula! There were two problems. One, milk is really cold and two, he just wasn’t used to the flavor. Here is what I did. You could apply the same strategy if you are going straight from breastmilk to cow’s milk.

  • Slowly mix cow’s milk in with the formula or breastmilk. If you are doing breastmilk, you will obviously need to pump. Brayden drank 6 ounces per meal. I started with one ounce of cow’s milk mixed with three ounces of formula. I gradually increased the amount of cow’s milk. It didn’t take him very long–only a few days–to prefer cow’s milk.
  • I also warmed the milk up. I had always given him his formula with cold water because he just didn’t mind it. But I think milk that has been sitting in the fridge is colder and harder to swallow faster than cool water coming from my fridge. So I put the milk and formula in the bottle and then put the bottle in a cup full of hot water and let it warm up a bit. We didn’t need to do this for long, either. He soon became accustomed to drinking it cold.

Weaning from Bottle to Sippy or Regular Cup

Once Brayden was weaned from the breast and drinking straight cow’s milk, we started working on switching to the sippy. He already knew how to drink from a sippy, but only drank water from it.

  • I followed the same steps as weaning from the breast. We did one feeding at a time. We did it slower than one a week, though. I don’t remember the exact time frame.
  • He was fine with the sippy at the two meals in the middle of the day, but wanted a bottle at morning and night. For those two, I used a soft-top sippy. He was fine with that.
  • Once he drank only from sippys, I hid the bottles. He then only wanted them if he saw them.
  • Over time, he started to just drink milk with his meals and not in a formal “sitting on the couch” eating session.
  • For the next year, I was sure he got his needed ounces of milk each day based on his doctor’s recommendations.

Good luck in your weaning process! I found it to be painless, and other Babywise moms I have spoken to have expressed the same thing.

Reader Weaning Questions:

How To Wean Baby from Breast, Bottle, and Formula. Tips and strategies to help make the transition from breastfeeding and bottlefeeding smoother for baby.
  • Baby Momma said…
    How long til breasts no longer have milk? I don’t have discomfort, but I did the last feeding over two weeks ago and still have milk and haven’t gone back to my original size (I don’t expect original state).Glad to see this – I feel like I haven’t been able to find good weaning resources.
    January 30, 2008 10:37 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    Baby Momma, I am not sure. I have heard some women can take up to two years for no more milk! That is purely word of mouth with no verification, though. I know I weaned my son and got pregnant with my daughter two months later. I had milk very early in the pregnancy. Maybe I never really lost it?
    January 30, 2008 6:37 PM
  • Salina said…
    I’m thinking of weaning my son from breast to sippy. He’s never consistently had a bottle, so I figure why start now? He’s 9.5 months, and my goal is to also go through his 1st year. Now, he merely sips a little water from the sippy, but mainly plays with it. I guess I’m a little anxious about the whole process that will be here soon. He’s also never had formula. When did you go from sitting feeding the milk to letting him take it at the table. How much is enough cow’s milk?January 30, 2008 2:51 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Salina, I think it is a great idea to go straight to sippy if you have never used the bottle. I would completely encourage that. Even though my daughter has had a bottle, I think I will go straight to sippy with her if she will do it. It is hard to describe why, but I think she will be okay with that. I don’t think my son would have been. I don’t remember the age we went from sitting drinking to taking it to the table. My guess is he was around 16 months or so. I then watched his ounce intake per day and tried to get him to drink what he needed to just before bed. This was a purely liquid feeding.I read 24 ounces of milk a day. I told that to my doctor, and he said that sounded great. I did 6 ounces 4 times a day. Good luck when you get there!
    January 30, 2008 6:40 PM

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35 thoughts on “How To Wean Baby from Breast, Bottle, and Formula”

  1. I am having some trouble with my 10 month old wanting his bottle. He’s formula-fed and still gets excited when he sees the bottle, but won’t drink more than an ounce before pushing it away. This happens at most feedings and frankly, I’m getting worried that he’s not getting enough nutrients.I’ve been giving him a sippy cup with water since about 6 months, but I think he just chews on it. I have never seen him actively suck on it.Do you have any suggestions?Love your blog, by the way!

  2. My son is 10 months hold and has three 6 ounce bottles a day (usually at 8,12,and 4) then an 8oz. one before bed between 7:45-8. He has his bottle then fruit or veggies and something else (pb&j, noodles, chicken…). When and how do I want to start working from him eating "dinner" at 3:30 or 4 and with us at 6?!! And do you think I should be offering less formula and more food?!!

  3. Tomlinsons, I don’t know anything about number of ounces of formula for under one year since I breastfed. A good resource might be Super Baby Food for those questions.One thing you could try for aligning dinner up is to give a snack at 4 then dinner at 6. He might be too young to make it that long, so have patience with the process. I would definitely give him some food at 6 and sit with you at the table at this point even just to get him used to eating dinner with the family.

  4. You mentioned that you weaned Brayden at 1 year. Does that mean you started once he was 1 or was in the process or almost finished at 1? Also, I saw on another comment, you recommended giving a snack at 4ish instead of nursing to get where baby can eat dinner with the family around 6. What is an appropriate snack? A jar of baby food or just some puffs or cheerios? I don’t want to overfeed. Thanks so much!!

  5. Brayden was in the process at 1. Kaitlyn was weaned by 1 (last feeding dropped the day of her birthday) because she and I were going to be separate for a week a few days after she turned 1.For snacks, I would feed as little as will hold baby over until dinner. I would guess a jar of baby food would be too much. Maybe some cheese. Cheerios or puffs can be a good idea.

  6. Ok, just one more question! I often wander what people did back in the day when they had to figure things out for themselves! πŸ™‚ I would love to go right from the breast to a sippy to avoid another weaning session. My daughter can physically “suck” out of pretty much anything (straws, cups, etc.) but only if I hold it for her. She gets the whole sucking process, but she doesn’t get that she has to hold it up in order to get the liquid in her mouth. I tried giving her sippies with juice, but she wouldn’t hold it up. If I held it up, she did just fine. She needs to have apple juice everyday in order to poop, and she wasn’t getting enough with the little sips she was getting here and there with me holding the cup, so I went back to the bottle. I have the Playtex liners and since there is no air, she doesn’t have to hold it up in order to get the juice out. Is this normal and something that just takes time, or does it mean that she’s not ready yet? My husband made a comment that he’d rather her be 2 and still drinking out of a bottle and have regular poops than having a sippy cup and not getting enough juice and be in pain because she can’t poop. I’m asking because it seems everything I’ve ready about transitioning to a sippy has to do with getting baby used the type of nipple it has, not the actual holding of it. Any suggestions?

  7. Stephanie, it has taken my daughter (now almost 10 months) about two months to master the sippy and be able to drink out of it on her own. I also had to switch to one of the soft tipped cups for her (one with handles on both sides). She wasn’t at all interested in holding it herself first, but over time, she started to reach for it and just recently started to be able to hold it up and drink out of it herself. Your daughter may just need some more experience to figure out the sippy cup. Since it is so important for her to get a certain amount of apple juice each day, you could offer it first in a sippy cup and then pour whatever she doesn’t drink into a bottle for her to finish drinking. I haven’t tried anything like that, but it might work.Good luck!

  8. Stephanie, I like Jennifer’s ideas (thanks Jennifer!). I have a good BW friend whose son was the same way as your daughter. He didn’t want to hold it for himself. Brayden was insistent upon holding it for himself from only a few months old (I did a bottle once a week). Kaitlyn was kind of fine with either scenario.Hopefully as your daughter starts to add “real” food to her diet, you can give her things to help her poop so it won’t be such an issue.I would put what you want in the sippy and just hold it for her. At some point she will want to be a big girl and do it herself. For now, just look at it as bonding time for the two of you. Let her drink what she will, then move the rest to the bottle. Hopefully she won’t just hold out for the bottle πŸ™‚

  9. This is very helpful, coming from a Babywise momma. My DD is 11 months, so I think we’ll be weaning in 2 months. I am worried about the pain though because I got horribly engorged in the beginning.-Lori @

  10. Lori, that was also a concern of mine. My engorgement with Brayden was ridiculously painful. But weaning this way was not painful in the least for me. If it gets painful for you, you can take it even slower.

  11. I have a question concerning schedule when nursing longer than 1 year. I am planning on doing nursing my daughter for 2 years if possible and I donΒ΄t know if I should continue with the same schedule we have now at 10 months (7 am – nurse+solids, 11am – nurse+solids, 3pm – nurse, 7pm-nurse+solids) or decrease the number of nursings and increase the calories in solids. Thank you for your advice.

  12. Jana, I am not really qualified to give a definitive answer on that. I would talk to your pedi and check out You can also talk to a lactation consultant.So far as eating schdule goes, with Brayden we kept basically that same schedule until he was about 18 months. With Kaitlyn, we went to 3 liquid feedings right around 12-13 months. See the blog label "dropping feedings" for more on that.

  13. I am having trouble with my 10 month old taking a sippy cup. She just doesn't seem to get the hang of it. I've tried formula, juice, and water. Today was the best response I had, but I am just having trouble with it. I was attempting to cold turkey quit the bottle 2 days ago, but I'm scared she won't get the hang of it and will get dehydrated. So I went back to the bottle. Is it too early to try?

  14. Amber, it isn't too early to try to get her to go to the sippy cup…but it is a bit early to be stressing over it πŸ˜‰ I would just give it to her each day and see if she gets the hang of it. You might try different types. Some like soft tops better. Some like hard tops. Some like straw cups. Give her some time to get used to it.

  15. Thanks so much. My sister found a cup that her son liked and I tried that one (it has a soft spout) and she does a lot better with that. So it's on to happy weaning I hope. Thanks again. Love your blog it's so helpful.

  16. Thanks again! She's doing so much better with the cup. She's actually switched to the original straw cup I bought her, thanks! No more bottles!

  17. Thanks for this post. I've been deliberating over weaning from the bottle for weeks now, and as usual, I've overthought it and stressed myself more than necessary. We've been BW followers from the beginning, and I think because of that, the babies (I have twins) haven't thought of their bottles as anything other than nutrition. No emotional attachments or any of that.Turns out that with time, they gave me enough cues that I knew it was time to just drop the bottles. Last week they lost interest in their midday bottles. Then, this week, one lost interest in the a.m. bottle and the other the p.m. bottle. I now wish I'd done more training with the sippy cups (I admit, I was not as diligent as I could have been) because we're doing cold turkey essentially and they are not all that interested in drinking from their sippies (or their bottles.) Anyway, I'm making up for the difference with yogurt, cottage cheese, and hard cheeses until they decide they are ready for the milk again. They won't hold their own sippies very often either, but I figure it will be soon enough that they'll want to "do mysef!!!" For now, mommy will continue to help. πŸ™‚

  18. My son is 15 months old… he will take anything, but milk, from a sippy cup, straw cup or even a regular cup. I have no problem getting him to take water or juice (he rarely gets) … but as soon as I put the milk in the sippy he pitches a fit and will not drink it… one day he went all day w/out milk until bedtime and I finally gave him a bottle! HELP ME! Someone suggested using carnation instant breakfast, but I was not big on that idea… Should I just go cold turkey and hope that he will eventually take the [email protected]

  19. You are welcome Tracy! My friend's son was always one who didn't want to hold his own sippy or bottle. He preferred to just have mom hold it πŸ™‚

  20. Summer Jo, that is your call. If you are willing to wait him out, cold turkey might help. Have you tried warming the milk in the sippy? If you aren't willing to go cold turkey and wait him out (and I wouldn't blame you), you could just try one feeding per day. He might get used to the idea over time. hang in there!

  21. My goal was to breast feed for a year but over the past 2 days my 9 month old daughter has chosen to quit cold turkey! She fights tooth & nail when even put in the feeding position. She has bit my nipple in defiance & almost screamed herself to exhaustion to get away from the breast. I'd love a slow weaning process but she just won't do it. Over the last 2 months we've moved from 6 to 5 to 4 feedings a day & they've been getting shorter in length but now she's just quit! It's very emotional and I'm very engorged! Any thoughts? ASAP please

  22. to add more info: our flexible schedule is 7/7:30 liquid & solids with a little break between the two, 11:30/12 liquid & solids w break, 4:30/5 liquid & solids w break, 8:00 liquid.Also, since I don't want her dehydrated, yesterday we gave her a formula bottle when she wouldn't breast feed & she took it 3 times now with no fight.Any insight would be appreciated!

  23. Heather, I haven't ever encountered that! I suggest you go to and search "rejecting breast." I wouldwonder if you ate something she didn't like?

  24. My daughter, Hannah, just turned 1 & has been weaned from breast to formula bottle & then from formula to homo milk bottle. She drinks, eats, & sleeps great. I've been so concerned about moving her from baby food to table food that I've left her on the bottle. This week she started rejecting certain feedings. We have a schedule almost exactly like the one lines out under Brayden in your "Sample Schedules: One Year +" post. Monday night Hannah fought tooth & nail against her bedtime bottle, Wed, Thurs & Fri she has refused her lunch bottle. I know it's time to move to a sippy cup so I tried that today at her lunch feeding & she spilled all over then rejected that too. I don't think it's allergies 'cause she's got no problem taking milk in the morning or at supper. I've tried offering the sippy with her meal but she barely gets any. Should moving to the sippy or getting enough milk be my main concern? What can I do if she misses a whole liquid feeding? Why are those two feedings the problem? Any suggestions on getting enough milk into her at the same time as moving to a sippy, at the same time as fighting this sudden pickiness?

  25. Heather, is she hungry enough? How many ounces are you giving per liquid feeding?Brayden had 6 ounces per feeding, 4 times a day. Kaitlyn had 8 ounces per feeding, 3 times a day. The recommendations vary from 16-about 30 ounces.Try to not drive yourself crazy counting ounces. I did with Brayden πŸ™‚ With Kaitlyn, I gave her 8 ounces three times a day and she drank what she drank and I tried to not pay attention. She ended up healthy too :)The phrase "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink" applies to the child, too. Just offer at meals and then let her guide herself. If she doesn't drink, wait for the next meal to offer more. She will learn to drink if she wants it. She won't let herself starve.My guess is she might just not be hungry enough, so you might want to decrease ounces in your first and third feedings and/or go to just three feedings a day.

  26. I know this post is old, but I am having problems weaning my son from breast to sippy cup. I want to be consistent but he is not improving on wanting his milk from the sippy. He drinks water and juice from it fine, but he won't drink milk. I have even tried a different sippy for milk than the other liquids. I started with the lunch time feeding and replaced it with a sippy of breastmilk and goat's milk (about half and half). One or two days he drank about half, but most days he pushes it away and gets mad. My pediatrician said to just offer him milk in a sippy and not give in to the bottle. (He will drink it fine from a bottle.) Any advice on what to do? I didn't want to eliminate another feeding until he mastered one. I'm so frustrated and have no idea what's best. Thanks!

  27. This is a hard thing to do.One way of going about it is to offer it and say "he won't starve himself" and try to not stress. This is the nice "textbook" and logical answer, but hard to implement with you child :)I would take it down to a lower ratio. I would try 25% goats milk and 75% breastmilk. Also, if he still will eat cereal, try mixing a bit in with his cereal.But it sounds like he is mostly upset with having to drink from a sippy rather than a bottle. So it isn't so much a flavor thing. So, I would either just stick with the one feeding until he gets it….The flaw with this approach is one feeding isn't enough to motivate him. You can make it one feeding with out milk for sure.OR I would take two feedings to sippy and leave two for bottle. Leave the two with bottle as morning and night. By the second sippy meal, he should be hungry enough to want to drink some and you will still be able to get milk in him to ease your mind.You could also just go straight sippy and leave it at that. Good luck!

  28. Hello there,My boy is almost 9 months now. He's been on breastmilk from the beginning, but because I work, we've just done the bottle from the beginning. I haven't had supply issues, so I intend to keep him on bm until he's 1. He has a consisitent schedule of 7am, 11am, 3pm, and 6:30pm. I am trying to think ahead, as we prepare to introduce milk in the next several months. So I wanted to find out how or if your feedings changed, once you weaned your babies. Right now we have a bottle four times a day. Did you replace bm with cow's milk, followed by an increased amount of solids? He drinks enough bm now, that I don't stuff him with other food. (But he does like to eat his solids). So I am wondering if you adjusted the amount of solids that you gave to your babies, once they were off breastmilk? I know he's getting enough calories, because I see how many ounces he drinks. We're learning to use the sippy, but with how things are now, I don't see him drinking 6 ounces of milk from a cup, in one sitting, as he does with a bottle. Sorry if my question is all over the place. In a nutshell, I am just wondering how to get the same amount of milk into him, as he gets with bm today, since I haven't yet seen him drink from a sippy, as well as he does from the bottle. And I wonder if I need to allow much more time for us to be able to finish milk. Thanks in advance! Love your blog, and read it all the time!

  29. Nika,First, two of my three took 6-8 ounces from a sippy. My third didn't like milk and so I had to focus on other dairy sources for her (see milk/dairy post).Second, I have always been one to feed my kids until they were full, so I didn't consciencely feed them more solids, but there may have been days it happened.Third, most children significantly drop their calorie intake between 12-14 months old, so you won't really need to worry about increasing solids at all πŸ™‚ I wrote a post on that yesterday (2/21). Finally, just trust him. He will tell you if he is full and if he wants more. Go with that and try to not stress about it–easier said than done I know πŸ™‚

  30. Hi PlowmanatorsFirstly, just wanted to thank you very much for your wonderful blog and for your efforts. Much appreciated, especially since I am a fan of Babywise and Baby Whisperer!! I have a 7 1/2 month old son who had been on breastmilk exclusively for 6 months, before I started to introduce him to solids and some formula. Even as a new born, he was never a big drinker of breastmilk. Increasingly, he is becoming less interested in breastmilk, even strongly rejecting the late afternoon feed. This is not a passing phase. I have tried replacing it with formula, or feeding via bottle, cup, spoon etc (instead of breast), without much success. Here are my concerns:1. Would it be normal for babies at this age to reject milk?2. He is taking less milk than the average baby but is ok with solids. What should I do then (as he cannot be forced to drink milk), from a nutritional point of view? Read your post on milk/ dairy (thanks!) but would it be different as your daughter was already older than my son is?3. I would like to wean him off the late afternoon feed since he does not want to take (much) milk anyway. Unfortunately, without even trying, I have come down with 2 bouts of mastitis in 1 week (probably due to his lack of sucking)! I am thus fearful of weaning. Any advice?4. Lastly, as my baby still takes his morning and evening feeds fairly well, am wondering if the body can continue producing milk if I only do 2 feeds.Thanks so much again.

  31. bin,You are welcome!1. No, that isn't normal. 2. Just make sure you breastfeed before you feed him solids. 3. I actually wouldn't wean. Even if he only nurses for a few minutes, it is getting extra liquid in him.4. It depends on you. Most people probably wouldn't maintain a good supply, but some definitely do. There are things you can do like take fenugreek and pump if you want to do two feeds.Good luck!

  32. Hello! My 10.5 month old currently eats 6am, 10:30am, 3pm and 7pm and I work full time, so I pump for the 10:30 and 3 feedings. I plan to start with replacing the 10:30 and 3 feedings with bottles when I’m with her. I also plan to drop the 3rd feeding first.

    Did you just stop nursing or pumping all together for that session or was it a gradual process? My plan is to gradually push the 10:30 back to noon and pump for one less minute at a time for a two week period. Then I plan to gradually pump for less time for a two week period to cut out the noon pump. Is that too drawn out of a process? Should I just drop the pump all together? I feel like that might be dangerous.


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