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Weaning - Promoting Healthy Growth and Development

Times you may not want to wean

You may not want to wean your baby:

  • When a child is learning new skills. Learning new skills, such as crawling or walking, can be stressful for your child, and the breast or bottle may provide comfort and security.
  • When there is stress in the home. A new tooth, an illness, a new day care center, or the caregiver starting back to work can all be stressful. Weaning at this time, or during any difficult time, results in more stress and more difficulty weaning.
  • During unusually warm weather. During weaning, babies sometimes refuse any liquid other than breast milk or formula for 24 to 48 hours. So weaning your baby when it's very hot outdoors can put your baby at risk for dehydration.

Weaning a toddler

Gradual or abrupt weaning may work for 1- to 2-year-olds.

  • A toddler who breast- or bottle-feeds 3 or more times a day may do better with gradual weaning.
  • A toddler who breast- or bottle-feeds 2 times a day or less may do well with abrupt weaning.

You may find the following suggestions helpful as you switch to other types of feeding:

As your baby learns to feed himself or herself, keep in mind that your job is to provide a variety of nutritious foods but your baby will decide how much to eat. This is sometimes called the division of responsibility.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 09, 2013
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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