Weaning 101

Weaning 101

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They can’t stay attached to your boob forever. That’s bad news for babies, and good news for mommas!

So what do you do when it’s time to wean your baby from breastfeeding to a bottle? What about from a bottle to a cup?

This post isn’t about how long to breastfeed or how long long a baby (or toddler) should be toting around a bottle. If I learned anything my momma journey so far, it’s that we need to do what is right for our family and kids, and that choice is different for every mom. No mom-shaming here. I’m simply here to help get the ball rolling – whenever that might be for you!

But I have found a few weaning tricks that worked for us, and I want to share them with you.

Warning: This post contains a lot of the words “nipple” and “breast”… let’s try to be grown up about it. Just kidding, I know I can’t, I’m giggling the whole time I’m typing it 🙂 

Breastfeeding to Bottle

How to do it: Whether you exclusively breastfeed or pump and nurse, the bottle usually gets introduced to your baby at some point. Some will take to it right away, and others want nothing to do with it.

Our experience: My firstborn, Miss C, was had no problem switching between the boob and the bottle. I pumped and nursed, using Philips Avent Bottles with great success. These were really easy to put together and keep clean. They also helped with her colic.

Bubby on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with pumped milk. Which actually worked out perfectly for us with my being home with him all day. He was nursing all the time, so there was no time to pump. (see my post here on embracing on demand nursing)

What kind of bottle should I buy?

How to do it: Don’t be afraid to try a few different brands here. There are sooo many different varieties out there, so pick a few!

Our experience: When it came time to introduce him to a bottle, I splurged and bought two different types of bottles (a little out of character for me).

Munchkin Latch Baby Bottles. I love these! They are a little expensive for my taste, but they have super soft nipples that mimic what a breastfed baby is used to… a boob. I thought these would be the one to make the transition work. But to my dismay, Bubby didn’t want anything to do with them.

Gerber First Essential Bottles These were under $10 and they were perfect! They have a simple, old school design (that’s right – OG momma here). And to my satisfaction, Bubby was all about them!

Okay you picked a bottle, what’s next?

What to do: How do you get your baby to actually drink from the bottle? First, you need to decide if you are going to continue with breast milk by pumping, or if you are going to get some of that new fangled toddler formula, or go right to cow’s milk. If you are going to go right to cow’s milk, then keep reading to see the surprising way I got Bubby to take the cow’s milk…

Our experience: At this time, Bubby was a month shy of his first birthday and we were ready to transition him from the boob to whole cow milk (remember, no judging here). So I filled one of the new bottles with cow milk, and let’s just say that he wanted no part of that. I tried both warm and cold, but still a no go. I had no breast milk stockpile to mix in with the cow milk because I was too busy (lazy) to pump. So I had to find another way to get him to take the cow milk.

A Google search told me that mom’s milk is sweeter than cow’s milk, and who am I to argue with Google? I sure wasn’t going to test it out myself. So a little more (lot more) searching led me to a comment on someone’s breastfeeding thread about putting yogurt in her baby’s milk to sweeten it up (I’d love to give credit to the lady, but my vision was blurring at this point of Googling). It was worth a shot, so off to the store I went!

I came home with a pack of Danimals yogurt drinks (and a few crafting supplies… but shhh). I immediately went to the kitchen and put half of a Danimal yogurt into a bottle and topped the rest off with cow’s milk. And BAM! We had a winner! 

Then, after a few weeks, I simply decreased the amount of yogurt until he was drinking straight cow’s milk.

As for nursing, I cut down to morning and bedtime feedings, and then slowly cut those out as well. He seemed to take it pretty well, as long as he still had lots of momma cuddles. Slowly cutting out feedings also kept my engorgement and discomfort to a minimum.

Bottle to Sippy Bottle

How to do it: It can be a rough transition when it’s time to call it quits with the bottle. For some babies a bottle isn’t just a vessel to hold milk, it’s also a pacifier. So it ends up being a double whammy to try to eliminate the bottle. But all good things must come to an end.

The best way is to introduce cups, either sippy or regular plastic cups, during the day and at meals. Make it exciting, a monumental step in the journey to becoming a big kid!

Then for bedtime, find a transition bottle with a nipple that is more like a soft spout.

Our experience: Bubby was 22 months old when we started to phase out the bottle. This was easier said than done. I tried to cut the bottle out cold turkey, but that did not go over well. So after his full meltdown, I brought the bottles out of hiding (okay, maybe I wasn’t fully committed to the cold turkey method).

Plan B was to find a transition bottle/cup for him. Here’s what we found:

Dr. Brown’s Sippy Spout Baby Bottle These are great! He didn’t even notice the different nipple. It has a flat nipple, similar to the one on a sippy cup.

NUK Disney Active Sippy Cup These are equally great. They are closer to a sippy cup when it comes to the nipple, they have a soft, off centered spout, but a tall body like a bottle. And a bonus for Bubby, they have Mickey Mouse – his fave!

I was successful in substituting his old bottles with these two new bottles. We stuck with the sippy bottles for about two months. And then…

Time to Toss the Bottle

How to do it: After a short time with the transition bottle, get ready to graduate to a sippy cup, and be free of the bottles for good!

You’ve already rid your home of the baby bottles, so give yourself a pat on the back! Now it’s time to toss all of the bottles… all you have to do is get some soft top sippy cups, and switch them out for the transition bottles.

Our experience: I went to wash Bubby’s big boy bottles one morning and I realized that he had chewed through all of the nipples. So I had a choice: either buy more of the same transition bottles, or bite the bullet and make the move to sippy cups.

So with some prodding from Big L, I decided to go with the sippy cups. This is what I picked:

Nuby No-Spill Easy Grip Cup They have a soft spout, and contoured cup. 

To my great surprise and satisfaction, Bubby opened the Amazon box and said “oooh me ba-ba”! He can call it whatever he wants, ba-ba or cup, as long as he uses it I’m a happy momma!

We have been bottle free for a little over a month now, and it’s great!

Are you ready?!

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