One transition period that parents often get anxious about is weaning. Although this is a BIG developmental milestone and one that I find many parents have no idea how to navigate, I have a proven framework to help you get started! This process starts around 8 months and lasts till about 13 months. Let’s dive in!
Introduce a straw cup.
Start introducing a straw cup with formula or breast milk around 8 months. No pressure – just let your baby explore and offer it between meals. Keep in mind that using a straw cup will actually improve the muscles in your baby’s mouth and tongue.
Give baby solids.
Around 11 months, begin to give your baby solids BEFORE the bottle for the middle two meals of the day. This will naturally lower your baby’s formula intake, since they will be less hungry for their bottle-feeding. At 12 months, stop giving the bottle for the middle two meals, and just serve solid food (along with a straw cup of milk, if you wish). You will now be left with a morning bottle and a bedtime bottle.
Start adding whole milk.
At this point, it’s time to replace the formula in the bottle with half whole milk and half formula. If you’re using breast milk, you can continue to use all breast milk or half breast milk, half milk (depending on your supply). As your baby shows tolerance and until baby is getting all whole milk, decrease the amount of formula and increase the amount of whole milk. I always recommend organic A2 milk or goat milk to parents, as it’s healthier and easier to digest. If you’re able to continue to give your baby breast milk, this is a win! It’s great for their long-term health.
Now, drop the morning bottle down to 4 ounces if your little one hasn’t done this on their own already. Usually, once you reverse the order of solids and the bottle with formula or breast milk, intake will drop down exponentially.
You’re almost there!
By 12.5 months, begin decreasing the morning bottle by one ounce every other day until it’s gone. Once you’ve eliminated the morning bottle, now repeat the same process with the bedtime bottle. The goal is for baby to be off of bottles completely by 13 months.
As your baby’s formula or breast milk intake drops, their solid food intake will naturally increase; this will leave baby at three meals per day, with one or two snacks in between. Ensure baby is eating nutrient-dense foods that are high in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs. Make sure they are satiated and getting enough nutrients to sustain good health and night time sleep.
While I know it feels VERY strange to no longer be giving your baby bottles, especially at bedtime, this is a normal part of the developmental process. Usually, babies have a MUCH easier time with this transition than mamas do! If you need more guidance on weaning, please reach out to me. I am here to support you!