Weaning Your Baby
Choosing how, when and what to wean your baby to may feel like an emotional and challenging transition. Cow milk is a common choice among parents at 12 months, but it may not be the appropriate choice for all children. For children who suffer from cow milk sensitivity, weaning may leave you searching for an alternative that is easy for your child to digest, and able to deliver the essential nutrition they require during this important stage of development.
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 how to create a weaning plan that meets your individual needs and how to ensure that your weaning solution ensures that you child is receiving the crucial nutrients they need at this important developmental stage
What is Weaning?
In the United States, weaning most commonly refers to the process of gradually ending breastfeeding. Your weaning process begins when you introduce another source of milk other than breast milk. Whether you choose to wean with routine cow milk formula, cow 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.
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., Your weaning timeline may differ. 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. Weaning from breastfeeding can be done over several weeks or months, or longer!
Start your weaning schedule 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 extended over many months. Supplementing with formula or milk depending on baby’s age is a good solution for mothers who return to work and who may not be able to pump enough breast milk to support all of their child’s nutrition needs. 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 while you are at work.
What to Expect When Weaning a Baby
First and foremost, expect to experience a range of emotions as you 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 as you wean.
Why Wean Using Goat Milk Formula?
Goat milk formula is an excellent alternative to cow milk when it comes time to wean your baby. Goat milk protein forms a softer, smaller curd in the stomach, and is digested more quickly than cow milk protein; goat milk formula is also associated with more frequent daily bowel movements than cow milk formula. This may result in less digestive distress that can be caused by the “churn” of breaking down the larger proteins found in cow milk.
Weaning from breastfeeding to goat milk formula may provide your child with a good source of protein and nutrients. KABRITA Goat Milk Formula is enriched with 22 vitamins and minerals, 5 g of protein and 320 mg calcium with 2 half-cup servings daily. Your child will also benefit from added nutrients such as vitamin B12 and folic acid.
Whole goat milk may not be ideal for toddlers, as it is low folic acid, Vitamin D and iron – all-important for growth and development. Other cow milk alternatives such as rice, nut and soy milk do not provide the nutrition they need – nut milks contain 1 g of protein or less per cup, 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 food to ensure optimal nutrition, regardless of what milk option they choose when it comes time to wean. As always, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider 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.
Looking for more information on weaning or using goat milk formula during the weaning process? Visit KABRITA’s Nourish Blog for the latest tips on weaning your baby, introducing solid foods and much more!