Between 6 and 12 mo of age, after they become accustomed to solid foods and liquids by bottle and/or cup, most infants decrease the volume and frequency of breast-feeding . As the infant demands less milk, the mother’s supply gradually diminishes without causing discomfort from engorgement.

Weaning can be initiated when mutually desired by the mother and infant by substituting formula by bottle or cup for part and, subsequently, all of a breast-feeding. Breast-feeding is eventually replaced with formula-feeding, at which time the infant is weaned completely. Occasionally, an infant takes a cup as readily as a bottle. If so, the intermediate transfer from breast to bottle before transferring from bottle to cup can be avoided. These changes should be made gradually and should be a pleasant experience, not a conflict, for both the mother and the infant.

When cessation of nursing is necessary at an early age, use of a tight breast binder and application of ice bags may help decrease milk production. Restriction of the mother’s fluid intake and small doses of estrogen for 1–2 days also may help decrease milk production.

Important Principles for Weaning:

Begin at appx. 6 months  of age

Avoid foods with high allergenic potential (cow’s milk, eggs, fish, nuts, soybeans).

At the proper age, encourage a cup rather than a bottle.

Introduce 1 food at a time.

Energy density should exceed that of breast milk.

Iron-containing foods (meat, iron-supplemented cereals) are required.

Zinc intake should be encouraged with foods such as meat, dairy products, wheat, and rice.

Phytate intake should be low to enhance mineral absorption.

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