Weaning: the role of milk!
Up until weaning begins, breastfeeding or formula is all you and your baby have known. So it’s only natural to feel unsure about how to juggle both together.
The best thing to remember is that your baby’s regular milk, be that breastmilk or formula, can stay as their main source of nutrition up until the age of 1 year.
So the best thing to do is to continue to offer your baby their milk feeds at the same time (if formula feeding, the same amount in ounces) as you have been doing prior to weaning.
Your baby will give you signals when they’re ready to reduce their milk feeds and the amount you give. Either by refusing the breast/bottle when offered at the time they would normally receive it or by not crying for the feed.
The first time I weaned, I was very unsure how I would know when to drop milk feeds. But after a while it became very obvious from my sons cues and from that point I let my son guide me. By the age of 18months he had dropped all his feeds and was eating 3x meals a day and a snack late afternoon. I’d had no real involvement in the process at all.
This time around I’m doing the exact same with Roo. He is now 4months into weaning, and has gone from breastfeeding roughly every 2 hours to just 3-4 times a day. This in itself is very different from my first son, who was still heavily reliant on milk until just over a year.
Please try not to worry about how weaning and breastfeeding will fit into one. And equally don’t feel like food must replace their milk feeds, because you may find they still want as much milk as they did before weaning. It’s important to remember they’re growing all the time, not just in size but also physically, which requires added energy, you may even find they increase their milk feeds for a short while, this is all normal. My best advice is that you allow them the freedom to transition from solely reliant on you feeding them to independently feeding themselves. The more freedom you give them to take control of their own hunger the easier the changes will be for both you and baby.
Try to relax and enjoy watching their independence grow!
Zoe, Meals for Mini Mouths.
Check out Zoe's recipes and other blog posts:
An Introduction: BLW
Remember, babies get all their nutrition from their milk until 1 years old. Please see our guide to weaning about why it is important to follow the guidance to only wean from 6 months old. If a baby seems to be getting hungrier before then, they need more milk, not solid food.