I want to start weaning my daughter at 12 months

Ashley - posted on 02/04/2013 ( 12 moms have responded )

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My daughter is 10 months old and I feed her 1 jar of food at 8 am and 2 at 6 pm, but the rest of the day she is only breastfed. I want her weaned around her 1st birthday so I can go back to work. How can I start this process?

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Aleks - posted on 03/09/2013

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I have to agree with Celeste and Dove on this one.

Toddlers still do rely heavily on milk (be it bovine or human, or formula) up to the age of 3 and definitively between the ages of 1 and 2.
You can wean your toddler off of *your* milk, but you will have to supplement with either formula or cows milk. None of which are perfect or tailor made milks for a child, not like your breastmilk is. The average age of weaning world wide is around 4yrs old. So a child who is 12 mths is still a baby in comparison.
Also, I know of walking babies by 9mths old. Hardly a time to wean them, now is it. The whole "walking, talking" argument does not sit well with me. Though I do understand how this whole notion prevails in our society.... I used to think the same... until I read, researched and learned otherwise.
Like Christina said, most toddlers are down to 2-4 feeds a day (especially if they are eating well with solids). Most of the time it is outside of working hours (biggest feeding sessions tend to be at sleep and wake time). Its almost in similar notion of having a bottle. Most will still want one (if you practice bottle past 12mths or not) they still want a good 2-3 cups of milk (whatever form that may take) per day.
Personally, I prefer my toddler to still be sucking on a nipple than on a plastic sippy cup (that is probably leaking toxins).

As for the process, I would first of, get the baby to eat 3x a day. Get off the jars and make normal food. Best nutrition comes from fresh food - while baby jars are hardly fresh, so will not be providing your baby all of the nutrition s/he needs. Feed to her desire. Some days she will eat the whole portion you prepare, on other days she may only have one mouthful. Continue on with the introduction of foods as previously, slowly and carefully.
Building up to eating virtually the same foods you are eating (making sure they are more her size though, as in cutting it up into fine pieces, mashing, etc). Once your baby is on 3 meals a day and also taking in the required amount of breatmilk/milk/formula, you can start to slowly introduce snacks when required - but this is more likely to be after 18mths of age or even more closer to 24mths. Over this time (12-24mths), your toddler will also slowly regulate their milk intake as well.

Also, at this age, your baby will still be teething, so expect periods where s/he will not want to eat any "solid food" and only want to drink milk/formula/breastfeed. Trust this (even though it doesn't feel natural to you). She knows what her body is calling out for - you don't. Anytime a child is feeling unwell, they typically go off "solid food" and prefer to drink milk/breastfeed (see how breastfeeding is still extremely important? formula/cow milk does not hold all of the nutrition a toddler requires, especially at times of illness or teething, like the breastmilk does). Then there are the times of growth spurts that end suddenly and your perfectly eating toddler refuses just about all food, and you wonder what in the world is going on?

Christina - posted on 03/08/2013

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Sorry Celeste....I did not read the previous posts before posting my advice. I didn't mean to sound like I was saying you were wrong :) I agree, it is the main source. I think babies want and prefer it that way!

Celeste - posted on 03/08/2013

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Christina, I didn't say milk is the only source. I said MAIN source. Which means solids are complementary to formula and/or breastmilk.

Celeste - posted on 03/07/2013

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Just an FYI, nursing toddlers do drink from sippy cups and eat other foods.

It's your choice, but talking, walking or not, breastmilk and/or formula still needs to be the main source of nutrition the first year. After a year, you can start removing one feeding per week (this is for your health as you don't want to risk mastitis).

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Margarita - posted on 03/12/2013

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Quick answer, drop one nursing per week (or two weeks to be safe, but one is usually enough unless you experience discomfort). Prior to age one, you can sub them with formula; after 1, you can sub with toddler formula or cows milk (depending on how well balanced her diet is). Meanwhile after age one, you can also let baby increase her own input of solids when she's hungry as that's when things flip and they can slowly start getting the bulk of their calories from solids whereas prior to age one the bulk of their calories should come from formula or breast milk.

Some women nurse for 3 months, some nurse for five years (yes they do, though at this point it's only once a day or so) and most of us go somewhere in between. The most important thing is that you do it gradually (both for your baby's emotional comfort and for your own health to insure you don't get mastitis) and that you make sure your munchkin accepts any new foods you feed them. Since she's eating 3 jars of food, I'd say that area is not a problem, though you'll still have to keep an eye out for allergies.

Good luck.

Aleks - posted on 03/10/2013

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Christina, I agree... and also know that dairy milk is not the best for humans.
HOWEVER, almond milk and the like (oat, rice and soy, etc) is not nutritionally complete for children under 5 yrs of age. I would not be giving my child any of these milks (as stand alone milk) without a prior consultation with a doctor and/or nutritionist. This is why I never recommend these for children who are being weaned off of breastmilk or formula.

Also, the sugar in milk is EXTREMELY important for a growing baby's brain (up to 2-3 yrs of age). Not so important to for adults - in fact its more likely to be harmful. Breastmilk holds like 3-4 times the amount of sugar as cow's milk (unless your government is adding extra sugar to the milk????). There is a reason for this. Babies need it.

Passed the age of 5 (and especially 6-7yrs) one can switch. This is around the time where humans typically lose the ability to digest a lot of the lactose found both in dairy and breast milk. Also, the calcium found in breastmilk is THE MOST bio available of any milk! But almond milk does seem to be a good source :-)

Christina - posted on 03/10/2013

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I really like your thoughts Aleks! My older daughter was not weaned off the bottle until she was 2 and my youngest (18 months) still takes her bottle. I find it is the best way to get them to drink formula/milk. We use sippy cups all day for water but they never seem to drink enough milk if I leave it up to them to drink it at their disposal. Their seems to be this big push in American society to get babies off the bottle/boob at 15 months! It drives me crazy because the only problem anyone ever has is that it will affect their teeth. I understand this, however, babies are babies and I don't understand why they are pushed to grow up so fast! In some mom groups I attend, I swear it's a competition who can get their babies off the nuk and bottle quickest. I also agree that some days, especially if they are teething or sick, formula was the only nutrition they got all day. The only other thing I would like to add to this is that, if you do any research, you will find that dairy milk is not the best for humans and is actually loaded with sugar. Try Almond milk! It has twice the Calcium and is much better for the human digestive system :)

Dove - posted on 03/08/2013

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WHO recommends nursing til at least 2....

That being said... you can drop a feed per week (or about that) once she turns a year. I started weaning the first time at 13 months and we were done at 15 months... and the last month was only a bedtime nursing.

My last baby didn't wean til 3.25... if I had weaned him at a year he probably would've died of malnutrition.

Christina - posted on 03/07/2013

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I never really had to force my babies into the weaning process. I would say that, naturally, 0-3 months they eat a certain amt. of times a day, 3-6 months they eat a few less times a day than previously and so on.....it seemed like a gradual process to me. I always fed on demand and it seemed like by the time they were 10-12 months they were only wanting milk 2-3 times a day ( 6-8 ounces at a time). After 12 months, they both were only getting milk at nap time and bed time, which I think is reasonable for a lot of babies that age. Every baby is different and I have always let my girls lead the way. Only milk for the 1st year is not always what works for some babjes. As long as they have a very healthy diet and getting all the vitamins and benefits from that, I don't see why at 10 months there should be any problem with you weaning him. As long as he doesn't mind ;)

Ashley - posted on 03/07/2013

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shell be a yr old march 30th & i dont want a child who can walk & talk & still be on the nipple i think 12 months - 15 months should be when shes turned to a sippie cup & food!

Celeste - posted on 02/04/2013

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Can you wait another 2 months? Breastmilk is to be the main source of nutrition the first year. Then after she turns 1, you can start the weaning process if you want.

On a side note, you can still nurse and go back to work. After one, you can call the shots and let her nurse as much or little as you want!

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