Childhood Diseases

Posted by: unsure | 2012/04/16


weaning from the breast

Hi dr, my baby girl is 10 months old now and have been breastfed from the start. I would like to wean her by the time she turns 1, which is in 2 months time. She is on a good diet of solids during the day and only drinks water during the daytime. She will then breastfeed between 2-3 times during the night. When and how do I start the weaning process and do I replace the breastfeeds with anything else? She has never drank formula and does not drink from a bottle at all. Can I start her on for eg Parmalat growth milk in the place of the breastmilk during the weaning process? I also want to teach her to start taking her milk during the day and therefore sleep through, if possible, during the night. I do not have any clue of how to start all of this. Any advice will be very much appreciated! thank you!

Expert's Reply



Thank you for this important question. You should delay introducing your baby to growth formulas such as Parmalat First Growth milk until she is 12 months old.May our ask you to direct your question to our experts at 'Breastfeeding support' on Health 24. You will find this site listed in the left hand column of the Health24 Home page.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

user comments


Posted by: PUrple | 2012/04/16

Before a year, if you take baby off the breast, you will have to give cups or bottles of formula.

At this age, she is well established on solids and probably having 3 meals a day, possibly with snacks in between, though her milk makes up an important part of her diet still. The closer she is to ayear, the closer she is to milk being the additional nutrients and solids being the main source of nutrition. You might find it easier to wean her at a year, when the milk feeds are just as she goes off to sleep, at night and here and there in the day, as opposed to now where she has milk feeds and then her solids after.

Weaning is best done gently and with love, taking your child''s feelings into account. It is also quite an emotional time for a mom, so do be prepared for that. With a baby of about a year, you can take a " don''t offer, don''t refuse"  policy initially. When baby has got used to that, you can use distraction - so when baby indicates they want to feed, you can offer an ice lolly or diluted fruit juice in a special new cup, or if it is a comfort need baby wanted the breast for, you could comfort in other ways.

Night waking is a normal part of childhood and is for many reaosons such as hunger, thirst, too hot, too cold, wanting comfort and so on, and if you wean your baby at night, your baby is still going to wake up as the reason for waking is still there, however, you will then not have the breast to comfort baby back to sleep with quickly and easily and will have to sit up for some time rocking and soothing your baby. Children generally start sleeping through at about age 2 - 3, but like all developmental stages, it differs from child to child and there are children who sleep through from about 8 weeks and others who still don''t at age 5. If the night waking is a problem for you, there are ways to manage it, such as putting cot or a bed next to your bed so baby can sleep there, or a matrass in baby''s room and when baby wakes up the first time, you and baby sleep on the matrass together so that you can both get some sleep for the rest of the night. Some parents like to co-sleep, others don''t. If the aim is to get more sleep - do what works for you.

There is a good book by Elizabeth Pantley called the No Cry Sleep Solution that helps gentle your baby into good night time habits.

As you can probably tell, I''m not a fan of " crying it out" . I know many mothers have success with this, but after investing so much in a breastfeeding relationship and building trust with my child, I found this just destroyed it and it took a long time to rebuild the trust after I had sleep trained my son - which despite meticulously sticking to the programme made no change to his night time sleep at all - just resulted in him screaming horrifically the entire night for over a week until we just gave up and put him in our bed and all finally got some sleep. With our second child we have just popped her in our bed since birth. She is 11 months now and doesn''t fear going to sleep. It might just be personality differences, who knows. My son also moved off to his own room and own bed again more than happily and began sleeping through the night of his own accord without any intervention from us - except for encouragement when he suggested it. I breastfed him well into toddlerhood.

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