At some point, either you or your child will be ready to stop breastfeeding. Weaning from breastfeeding is the process of switching a baby’s diet from breast milk to other foods and drinks. Read on to learn more about when and how to wean.
When to Wean
When to wean is a personal decision and will be different for everyone. Each child may be ready to wean, or stop breastfeeding, at different ages. Some children will gradually start to show more interest in eating solid foods and less interest in breastfeeding. Others may want to stop breastfeeding more suddenly. Some mothers may be ready to wean at different times too. This is a personal decision.
If you and your child have decided it is time to wean and your child is younger than 12 months old…
- Give your child infant formula in place of breast milk.
If you and your child have decided it is time to wean and your child is 12 months or older…
- Give your child fortifiedalert icon cow’s milk in place of breast milk. He or she does not need infant or toddler formula. Learn more about fortified cow’s milk and milk alternatives.
How to Wean
To make the process easier for you and your child, wean over several weeks or more. As you slowly stop breastfeeding, your body will start producing less breast milk and eventually your body will no longer make breast milk.
Weaning gradually can help your child…
- Get used to the new taste of infant formula (for your child younger than 12 months old) or fortified cow’s milk (for your child 12 months or older).
- Adjust to drinking from a bottle or cup.
Start weaning by replacing one breast milk feeding a day with a bottle of infant formula (for your child younger than 12 months old) or with a cup of fortified cow’s milk (for your child 12 months or older). Continue to replace more breast milk feedings with infant formula or fortified cow’s milk over time.