Starting to Wean Baby

A few questions that we were recently asked about weaning.  We have answered based on our own experiences as a mums.

if i cut back the number of feeds per day, can i still feed him in the mornings or will my supply go down?

We suggest that in the first week, you just cut down one daily feed.  It can often be the day time feeds that are easier to cut out first, as the night/morning feeds are also comforting.  For example: in the first week that you start weaning, cut out the midday breast feed offer a bottle instead).  Start on Monday and just stop doing this midday feed from then on. The first day or two, you’ll notice that your breasts will be a little engorged.  You can relive this using heat packs, hot flannels.  Don’t breastfeed your baby though (at the midday feed), your breasts will regulate and adjust after the first day or two and will stop producing milk for the midday feed.  Continue with breastfeeds at other times of day, and you will still have enough milk.  By dropping one feed at a time it allows longer to adjust.  The following week, you might consider dropping the afternoon feed (as well as the midday feed that you’ve already stopped).  And continue like this.

how long of a period should i wean over and do i just drop a feed and swap it for a bottle

It can take several weeks to wean your baby, but just do it slowly to minimize the chance of getting mastistis. As described above, just reduce one daily feed per week.

should I keep the same number of feeds per day if he is on a routine or will formula change things

Yes we suggest that you keep the same number of feeds, and just switch breastmilk to formula – though this does depend on the age of your baby and if they want to drink.  The formula that you use will give you instructions on the volume to offer your baby.  When switching over you may also notice that baby’s bowel motions change.

Should I avoid introducing solids and weaning at the same time or is that fine

We recommend that you only try to change one thing at a time.  Both to reduce the stress on you and your baby, but also so that you can monitor how baby tolerates the new formula or the new food.  If you are doing both at the same time, it will be difficult to isolate what any problems are caused by.

When the lady wrote this email to me asking these questions, she didn’t specify the age of her baby.  So just to also clarify, the Ministry of Health recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for 6 months, and after that breastfeeding continues with the addition of solids.

However as mothers we know that this is not always possible, and sometimes other mums need a little help for their own situation.