As baby enters toddler-hood, the time comes to graduate to cups and milk. Some may take the conversion easily, while others may require a little encouragement for a smooth switch.
Breastmilk or formula should be the primary form of nutrition for the first year of a baby’s life (The World Health Organization actually recommends that breastmilk be kept as a main nutrition source for the first two years.). That said, after the first year it is very common to transition baby onto a cup and milk — this process is called weaning. Read on for tips to help your bottle or breastfeeding baby make the change easier.
Formula and bottle-Feeding Babies
The transition to cups and milk can be a little easier on formula and bottle-feeding babies. However, going cold turkey will likely not go over well, so it’s best to gradually make the transition. You can begin replacing the bottle of formula with a cup of milk a month or so before he is a year. Once he has adapted to the cup, slowly replace feedings with a cup instead of a bottle — leaving the bedtime bottle for last.
Another way to encourage the cup is to begin offering only water from the bottle. He will not receive the same satisfaction and should eventually become disinterested in the bottle.
Play up the big girl or boy angle. Toddlers love to be praised on how they are big and grown up. Allow him to pick out his own cup to help motivate the transition and add a special incentive to the process.
Breastfeeding shouldn’t be abruptly stopped. You will want to slowly transition your toddler onto using cups and milk. Below are different methods for successfully making the switch.
Don’t offer, don’t refuse
This approach is probably the gentlest but the most drawn out. Like it says, you simply don’t offer the breast or bottle unless she asks.
This method will be easy on both baby and on mom’s breastmilk supply. Just simply drop one feeding off the schedule a week. If you want to take it a little faster, you can eliminate a feeding as often as every three days. To replace the feeding you can either offer a distraction, such as a cup or other activity, or just shorten the length of the session.
Try to have your toddler involved in another activity when common times for nursing approach. Keep her preoccupied to help take her mind off of wanting to nurse. This is best used in combination with another one of the techniques listed above.
When toddler asks to nurse, simply say “Not right now” or “In a little bit.” And then wait for her to approach you again. She may become distracted and forget to ask. It will also assist her in learning to wait.
This will work with an older toddler. Simply decrease the length of when she is allowed to nurse.