Weaning a baby from breast-feeding

Babies need a ready source of iron for at least the first year of life. An iron-rich diet comes from getting enough breast milk and/or iron-fortified formula along with solid foods.

When you start to wean your baby from the breast, replace your breast milk with enough iron-fortified infant formula to make up for fewer nursing sessions. After your baby stops breast-feeding, give him or her at least 16 fl oz (473 mL) to 24 fl oz (710 mL) of formula each day. When your baby is age 6 months and older, give solid foods high in iron and vitamin C. Babies at least 12 months of age can also have cow's milk.

The following tips may help you wean:

  • After your baby is 4 months of age, try letting him or her drink from a cup. If your baby is not ready, you can start weaning by switching to a bottle.
  • Slowly reduce the number of times you breast-feed each day. Replace a breast-feeding with a cup- or bottle-feeding during one of your daily feeding times. Stay with that routine for a week. Then the next week, choose a different time of day to replace or shorten your regular breast-feeding time. Each week, choose a different breast-feeding time to replace or shorten.
  • Offer the cup or bottle before each breast-feeding. Some babies may not accept a bottle or cup until they have nursed.
  • If you breast-feed before bedtime or a nap, lay your baby down before he or she is asleep. Help your baby learn to fall asleep without the aid of breast-feeding. A new bedtime ritual can help.
  • Hold and cuddle your baby to make up for the loss of skin contact during breast-feeding. If a baby asks for more breast-feedings, make them up through touching and holding.

Last Updated: June 19, 2008

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.