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When Should I Wean My Baby?

by Roberta Duyff, MS RDN FAND

When Should I Wean My Baby?

Weaning is the slow, gradual process that helps your baby eat and enjoy your family's foods. The time for weaning is an individual matter for mother and baby. Experts encourage moms to breast-feed for at least 12 months. Babies benefit from breastfeeding for as long as it's mutually right for mother and baby.

No matter how long you choose to nurse, start complementary foods, too, when your baby's ready. If your baby is exclusively breast-fed, that's about at six months of age. Talk to your pediatrician about timing. When your baby eats other foods, too, you'll probably nurse less often: typically first thing in the morning, naptimes and bedtime.

When you choose to wean your baby, introduce either infant formula or cow milk, depending on your baby's age. If your baby is under twelve months of age, wean from breast milk to iron-fortified infant formula. If your baby is twelve months or older, whole cow milk is appropriate.

Should you wean your baby to a bottle or a cup? That depends on his or her developmental readiness. Between four and six months, most infants will drink or suck small amounts of liquid from a cup or a glass when someone else holds it. Older babies and toddlers usually have the coordination to drink fluids from a cup or a straw. However, for infants under six months of age, a bottle is probably the best choice.

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About the author:

Roberta L Duyff MS RDN FAND

Roberta Duyff, MS RDN FAND

Author of "Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, Fourth Edition" and "365 Days of Healthy Eating from the American Dietetic Association" (both published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New Jersey).

Topics


Themes


Themes

  • Cook healthy

    Involve your child in the cutting, mixing and preparation of all meals. Even a snack can be healthy.

  • Eat right

    Sit down together as a family to enjoy a wonderful meal and the opportunity to share the day's experiences with one another.

  • Shop smart

    To encourage a healthy lifestyle, get your children involved in selecting the food that will appear at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.


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