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Weaning - Topic Overview

What is the best way to wean a baby?

Gradual weaning is best for both babies and moms. Look for signs that your baby is ready. When you are both ready, try dropping one feeding every 5 to 7 days. This will help give you and your baby time to adjust to new ways of feeding. If you are breast-feeding, gradual weaning helps keep your breasts from becoming too full, a problem called breast engorgement.

How do you meet your baby's nutrition needs while weaning?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following:1

  • Breast-feed your baby for at least a year and as long after a year as you and your child desire.
  • Feed your baby breast milk or iron-enriched formula until he or she is 12 months of age. Be sure to meet the vitamin and mineral needs of children.
  • Begin to introduce solid foods at 6 months of age to complement the breast milk or formula.
  • Do not feed your baby cow's milk before 12 months of age.

You can also give your baby breast milk from a cup or a bottle.

What if your baby does not want to be weaned?

Sometimes a mother wants to stop breast-feeding but her baby seems to want to keep it up. If you can, keep breast-feeding a while longer. Try offering your milk or formula in a cup or bottle before you breast-feed or between breast-feedings. There are also different bottle nipples you can try.

Some babies grow attached to the bottle and do not want to give it up. Don't let your baby crawl, walk around, or go to bed with a bottle. Nighttime feedings are often the hardest to give up. Try replacing that feeding with new habits, such as reading a book or looking at the stars together.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning about weaning:

What to expect:

Promoting healthy growth and development:


This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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