How to Supplement & Wean a Baby
Choosing to supplement breastfeeding with formula and how, when and what to wean your baby to may feel like an emotional and challenging transition. Cow’s milk is a common supplement and weaning choice at 12 months, but it may not be appropriate for all children. For little ones who experience symptoms related to cow’s milk consumption, the decision to supplement and/or wean may leave you searching for an alternative that is easy to digest and able to deliver important nutrition.
At KABRITA, we are committed to providing resources that help parents to make informed decisions about their family’s unique nutrition needs. Read on to learn about supplementing and how to create a weaning plan that meets your individual family’s needs.
Why supplement breastfeeding with formula?
There are number of reasons why some mothers decide to supplement their breastfeeding with formula. Some women may have difficulty pumping when they go back to work, but may not wish to stop breastfeeding altogether. Others supplement because their baby may not be receiving adequate breast milk to meet their nutrition needs. And, some women may choose to supplement with formula as they want the freedom for another caregiver to provide a bottle to their little one. It’s important to know that breast milk supply depends on baby’s demand, so the less often a baby nurses, the less milk will be produced. Supplementing with formula regularly will likely diminish breast milk supply.
What is Weaning?
In the United States, weaning most commonly refers to the process of gradually ending breastfeeding. Your weaning process may begin when you introduce another source of milk other than breast milk. Whether you choose to wean with cow’s milk formula, cow’s milk, or goat milk formula, will depend on the age of your child, your child’s nutritional requirements, their health needs, and to some extent, your personal preferences.
Supplementing and weaning schedule
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby’s life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complementary foods until at least 12 months of age, and for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby. The decision to supplement and your weaning timeline may differ. For example, you may choose to take cues from your baby to determine when weaning should begin (child-led weaning) or plan your weaning schedule in advance (mother-led weaning). In either case, weaning a baby usually goes more smoothly if the process is gradual.
Supplementing and weaning guide
There is no one way to begin to supplement breastfeeding with formula or wean your little one. Some babies will take to a new food readily, while others may refuse the bottle the first few times. When it comes to weaning, it’s recommended to begin by substituting one of your daily feeds with your chosen breast milk alternative. Once one daily feed is accepted well by your child, continue substituting one feed at a time at a pace that works for both you and your baby. This transition can be accomplished in about a week, or it can be extended over several months.
Choosing to supplement or to wean is not necessarily an all or nothing proposition. If you choose (and your body and baby cooperate!) you can keep a morning and evening nursing schedule while supplementing with a bottle throughout the day.
What to expect when supplementing or weaning a baby
First and foremost, expect to experience a range of emotions as you supplement or move through the weaning process. You may be looking forward to the newfound freedom that will come as a result of your child no longer being dependent on breastfeeding, but you may also feel some sadness as your baby moves to the next stage of his or her life. This is a very common experience among mothers as the nursing relationship changes, and many suggest that you create new special rituals with your child to maintain a close bond.
Why supplement and wean using KABRITA Goat Milk Formula?
KABRITA goat milk formula is an excellent alternative to cow’s milk when it comes time to supplement breastfeeding and/or wean your baby. Goat’s milk protein forms a softer, smaller and looser curd in the stomach, and is broken down more quickly than cow’s milk protein, making it naturally easy to digest.
KABRITA goat milk formula also provides your child with important nutrition. Whole goat milk is low in folate and vitamin D, and other cow’s milk alternatives, such as rice, nut and soy milk do not provide the nutrients they needs. For example, most nut milks contain 1 g of protein (or less) per cup (8 oz), and lack vitamin K, B Vitamins, folic acid, phosphorous, zinc, manganese, copper and selenium.
It’s important for all parents to ensure children eat a wide variety of food for optimal nutrition, regardless of what milk option they choose to use as a breastfeeding supplement or when it comes time to wean. As always, it’s best to consult with your health professional about any changes in your child’s feeding and to determine the types of foods that will best meet your toddler’s daily nutrition requirements.
99% of KABRITA users would recommend KABRITA Goat Milk Formula*! If you’d like to see if KABRITA is right for your family, check out our Special Offer.
Looking for more information on using KABRITA goat milk formula to supplement or during the weaning process? Visit KABRITA’s Nourish Blog for the latest nutrition tips, introducing solid foods and much more!
*not suitable for children with cow milk protein allergy