Weaning and Supplementing
Finding The Right Pace For Your And Your Baby
The transition from breast to bottle is often perceived as a difficult period for a baby and his mother. However, all that’s needed is a lot of love, patience and persistence.
Weaning should be done at the right pace for you and your baby. One way to start is by replacing a feeding with a bottle every two or three days. Prepare at least the very first bottle with your own milk, to aid in the transition.
Making a Smooth Transition
Does considering stopping breastfeeding make you feel a bit sad? Don’t worry: you and your baby will reach this moment when it’s right for you both.
Make The Change With Confidence
Breastfeeding forged a strong bond between the two of you. It’s completely normal that the transition from breast to bottle might bother you. Remember that this change does not mean a separation of you from your baby, but, instead, the start of the next stage of your relationship.
When Is The Right Time?
From birth to the fifth or sixth month, breast milk is the only food your baby needs.
Early in the sixth or seventh month, diversification of your infant’s diet begins. The share of milk as a main meal decreases, with pureed fruits and vegetables, cereals and meat, completing diet.
Gerber encourages you to breastfeed as long as possible to give your baby all the benefits that your milk provides. The most important thing is to listen to your own feelings. Deciding to stop breastfeeding is your personal choice. To assist you in this decision, do not hesitate to seek advice from professionals: your pediatrician, a pediatric nurse or lactation consultant.
Often, weaning is associated with the return to work. But there is no reason why you have to stop breastfeeding when you start working again. Balancing work and breastfeeding is possible, if you wish to do it.
When you and your baby are both ready to move from breast to bottle, you'll know. If your baby starts to turn his head when you offer the breast, or bites your nipple, it could be a sign.
What is the Right Pace?
Weaning should be done at the pace that works for you and your baby. One way to start is by replacing a feeding with a bottle every two or three days. Choose the hours when you naturally you have less milk, such as late afternoon and mid-morning. The nursing that occurs first thing in the morning will be the last to go.
When introduced to their first bottle, some babies are curious, others more hesitant. Yours might make it clear that he prefers your breast. Be patient: this transition stage lasts about 15 days, and you can always slow down if necessary, or even go backwards and add back in more breastfeeding sessions if you decide.
On the choice of infant formula, do not hesitate to ask your pediatrician for advice. He can tell you the formula best suited to your baby, especially if he has any digestive issues, or colic.
Tips For A Successful Transition
- Prepare the first bottle with your own milk, so your baby will be less confused.
- Do not force your baby to drink the entire bottle. You will gradually be able to increase the amount of milk he drinks as time goes on.
- If you practice mixed feeding (breast and bottle), always offer the breast first before giving your baby a bottle.
- Don’t force your baby to take the bottle if he is reluctant. This is a normal reaction, as the bottle is new to him. Be patient and try again later.
- If necessary, try different nipples on the bottle to find one that your baby likes best. Or, opt for a pacifier that’s shape is reminiscent of the nipple.
- The transition from breast to bottle is also an opportunity for dad to get involved. Dad giving baby a bottle might help your infant better accept the transition.
- And finally, cuddle up to your baby to reassure him that everything is still fine.
The Bottle: A New Accessory
The transition from breast to bottle changes your daily routine, but not your relationship with your baby.
Learning to Prepare Bottles
Preparing your baby's bottle is not complicated, but does require some preparation that will quickly become.
Hygiene is essential. First step, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Then comes sterilizing the bottle, the nipple and ring: after cleaning, sterilize for five to ten minutes in boiling water.
The bottle is prepared just before your baby needs to be fed. For the health of your baby, follow the instructions indicated by your brand of infant formula on how it should be prepared and preserved.
Always check the temperature of the milk before giving the bottle to your baby: if it’s too hot, it could burn your infant. To check the temperature, pour a drop on the inside of your wrist, which is a particularly sensitive area.
When preparing to feed your baby a bottle, be sure you are seated quietly and comfortably, such as in a chair with armrests. The correct position for baby is recumbent, and in the crook of your arm. Use a pillow if you or the baby needs help with positioning.
The bottle should be held slightly inclined so that there is no air in the nipple. If there are bubbles in the bottle, loosen the ring.
When baby starts to suckle, follow his pace. Some babies like to take breaks and have a small burp during feeding, while others don’t. Pay attention to your baby’s facial expressions, little noises or movements. These are his way of communicating with you. Use this time to give your baby soft caresses and talk to him in a gentle tone.
When Baby’s Done
When your baby is finished he’ll let you know. If he hasn’t finished the bottle, don’t overly encourage him to finish it. Remove the bottle and hold your baby against you, head slightly above your shoulder. Gently pat him on the back to help him burp - removing any air bubbles he might have swallowed. If your baby isn’t burping, keep him in an upright position for about 10 minutes to assist him in getting any gas out.
If your baby doesn’t finish the bottle and seems to be satisfied, throw away the rest of the milk wash the bottle in hot soapy water, using a brush. Do the same for the ring and the nipple. The bottle is then ready to be sterilized again.
Getting The Family Involved
With your baby taking a bottle, a new world of experiences and interactions open up to him. The whole family can now enjoy feeding your infant: Dad, big brother or big sister, grandparents or a nanny.
Introducing Solid Foods
After feeding your baby an all-milk diet for the first part of his life, his diet diversifies with the introduction of solid foods. Follow our tips to help your baby enjoy his new diet.
Seven Keys To A Healthy Diet
Here are seven keys to introducing and maintaining a diverse, healthy diet for your baby.
1. Introduce Solids In Stages
Moving to a diet of milk and solids happens in stages. Experts recommend offering your baby his first solid food between the 17th and the 26th weeks.* Do not hesitate to ask your pediatrician for advice during this new stage of your baby’s development. From six months, milk alone is no longer sufficient to meet the dietary needs of your baby, and its share of your baby’s diet gradually decreases.
To complete your baby’s new dietary needs, you can gradually begin to give him cereal and pureed vegetables such as carrots, green beans, spinach, zucchini and leeks, as well as fruit such as stewed apples, pears, bananas and apricots and strained meat such as beef or poultry.
Which Food, When?
The first step in deciding if your baby is ready for solid foods is watching her overall development. Can she sit with support? Turn her head away to show she is full? These and other signs will help you determine when she may be ready to start eating solids.
Learn more about food allergies at Gerber.com
With some foods, it’s best to wait till your baby is older to introduce it into their diet, as they may trigger an allergic reaction. This is the case, for example, with red fruits like strawberries (recommended to give to your baby from eight months only) or honey (recommended after the age of one).
From 7-9 months on, you can add animal protein in your baby’s meals. On the menu might be a spoonful of meat (chicken, turkey, veal or ham), fish (cod, salmon or tuna) or egg (yolk only).
From one year on, your baby can eat almost everything. He can enjoy new food such as pulses, black beans and cheese.
2. Introduce One New Food At A Time
To detect a possible allergy, offer your baby one new food at a time, then wait three days before trying another new item. This is the time it takes for an allergic reaction to show up. For example, Monday you might give your baby mashed carrots to try, and, on Thursday, pureed spinach.
3. Start With Small Quantities
Your baby will begin to eat everything you eat, but in much smaller portions. The capacity of his stomach is still limited; so don’t expect him to eat large quantities yet. In the beginning, for example, let him taste one spoonful of puree: that’s all he needs.
The same principle goes for meat: at 7-9 months, a baby can be satisfied with a teaspoon of meat or fish mixed well. You can gradually increase the amount to approximately 0.7 ounces per day at 12 months.
4. Vary The Textures
While starting to introduce your baby to solids, offer only smooth textures, mashed or pureed, to enable your baby to safely master swallowing rather than sucking. From around seven months of age, you can let your baby taste all his new foods mashed or pureed. Then, from around eight to 10 months, he can try small, soft, easy to chew pieces of food.
Try to vary how the food looks when you offer it to your baby. Evan infants like when every new little dish is a surprise, and the visual variety encourages them to try the food.
5. Use A Baby Spoon
Your baby's gums are fragile, so you need to feed him with a flexible spoon, the right size for his mouth. Avoid using small, stainless steel dessert spoons that could hurt him. If your baby refuses the spoon, be patient, and try again later.
6. Avoid Salt And Sugar
There is no need to add salt or sugar to your baby's meals, and you should also pay attention to any sugar he might consume, such as avoiding sugary drinks.
7. Listen To Your Baby
Don’t force your baby to eat solids – instead, follow his lead. If he refuses to taste a vegetable puree, try again tomorrow. Finally, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to consult your pediatrician.
* ESPGHAN: European society for pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition.
It’s a whole new world of tastes and textures for your baby. Refusing certain foods is very normal. With a little patience and persistence, your baby will learn to enjoy his new diet.
Your baby will tell you, without words, that he doesn’t like his spinach puree: grimace, mouth closed, plate thrown on the ground. Don’t worry too much about your infant’s lack of desire to try solid food.
So far, he has enjoyed drinking your milk and has not questioned that this is where he gets his food. Now he understands that he can make decisions (“I like” or “I don’t like”). This is the beginning of your baby learning to say "no”, and by not wanting to eat food, he is expressing a desired autonomy more than a refusal to eat.
Be persistent, offer food at least 8 times before deciding baby really doesn’t like it. Offer previously rejected food every few days, in non-emotional way and/or bridge with food baby does like.
Food Rejection After Age Two
By age two, many children have similar preferences for food: they love pasta, rice and potatoes but won’t eat a plate of vegetables. And, if you try something new, you’ll often get an instant refusal. This is called "food neophobia". It’s more or less pronounced depending on the child and disappears after age six or seven.
Forming Good Food Habits
If your child doesn't want to eat, don’t force him, but also don’t offer anything else if he refuses what you have chosen. This may be a difficult to do the first time, but your child will quickly understand that he has to eat what he’s given or he will get hungry later. Here are some ideas for helping make meal times go more smoothly:
- Be creative. If your toddler doesn’t eat his carrots, offer him carrots again tomorrow, in a different way. Who could resist a "face" made out of pureed vegetables, with sliced carrot eyes and a green bean mouth?
- Teach your toddler to verbalize “my tummy is not hungry” – the learn to respect his words. After all, your child should eat when he is hungry, not to please someone else. Take your time, relax and encourage your toddler to do the same by serving meals in a relatively quiet place and with distractions, like TV, turned off.
Healthy Eating After Age Two
At two years of age, a child will often eat four regular meals, and 2 snacks, or mini-meals. Seat your child at the family dining table, in his highchair, next to you. He will love to see you trying lots of new foods and will want to imitate you. Be sure to set an example for him – fill your own plate with an appropriate portion of healthy foods like vegetables, to help him form great eating habits early in life.