There is no exact science or ‘how to’ manual for successfully weaning from breast to bottle, but moms who have been in your shoes have some helpful hints. There are many reasons a mom may choose to or need to wean from breast to bottle. Maybe it is time to head back to work, maybe you are planning your first night out since baby was born or maybe you need the freedom to leave baby for more than a couple of hours. No matter what you reason, there are several ways to successfully wean from breast to bottle. Breastfeeding is such a special bonding time for mom and baby; breastfeeding is not only about nourishment but the time together and the comfort your infant feels when you are together. As you determine your plan for weaning know that there may be a few tears and tantrums but you and baby will both make it through. Here is my experience of successfully weaning from breast to bottle.
My mother told me to remember my son will eat when he is hungry. When we finally decided it was time to wean from breast to bottle I was lucky enough to have my mother and husband’s full support. The first thing my mother recommended was that I leave the house for a full day and let her or my husband bottle feed my son. I believe this was for both mine and his sake; it’s tough to hear your little one cry when you know all he wants is to nurse. Prior to this attempt we had tried to offer a bottle but my son refused and as soon as I heard him getting upset I ran to his aide and nursed. I think he knew I would cave and sure enough, he was right. Our second attempt at the bottle came when my son was 4 months old and I was preparing to head back to work. With my husband and mother on-hand I left them with a freezer full of pumped milk and was on my way. I was gone for about 8 hours and when I returned, much to my surprise everyone was just fine; my baby was still as chunky and well fed as ever and he had successfully taken his first bottles. Mom was right; he did eat when he got hungry.
As I headed back to work I continued to nurse in the morning, evening and weekends but my son would take a bottle at daycare. We personally had success with Avent bottles and he did not have issues switching between the bottle and breast. I was fortunate that my milk supply lasted and I was able to maintain my supply and weaned when he was 13 months old.
Keep in mind that every baby is different and my experience of weaning from breast to bottle is what worked best for my family, but others may differ. No one knows your baby better than you, notice those queues and work out the best system for you to wean from breast to bottle. There may be some tears and heartache but remember you are doing what is best for you and your baby.