If you need to or want to stop breast-feeding, it is best to wait until your baby is at least 4 weeks old. If you are going to use breast milk in the bottles instead of formula, it is best to wait until then so that your milk supply is well established and you can effectively pump your breast milk.
If your baby is older than 9 months, he is probably ready to wean straight to an open-rimmed cup rather than to a bottle.
The amount (ounces) of formula or breast milk that most babies take during each feeding can be estimated by dividing your baby's weight (in pounds) in half. For example, if your baby weighs 8 pounds, your baby will probably drink 4 ounces of milk per feeding. No baby should drink more than 32 ounces of milk a day. If your baby needs more than 32 ounces and is not overweight, consider starting solid foods. Overfeeding can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive weight gain.
Feedings needed by age:
If your baby is not hungry at some feedings, increase the time between feedings.
If you are using formula:
If you are using breast milk:
The early morning and late evening nursing sessions are usually the most difficult for your baby to give up. Wean the baby from these last. You will soon learn which feedings are your baby's least favorite and when his appetite is generally lowest. Replace these nursings first.
If your breasts become engorged because you are not nursing as much, allow your baby to suck 15 to 30 seconds from each breast to relieve your discomfort. Make sure that you don't nurse any longer, however, or you will trigger your breasts to produce more milk and the engorgement will get worse.
Your baby will probably resist at first. Stay calm and go slow. Touch the baby's lips with the bottle nipple. Do not force the nipple into his mouth. Let your baby draw the nipple in. If your baby is not upset by the bottle, you can move the nipple into the mouth further.
You may want to try putting breast milk in the bottle at first before trying formula. Your baby may not be as resistant to a familiar drink.
Choose a time to introduce the bottle when your baby is slightly hungry and will be more willing to try. Do not try the bottle when your baby is very hungry because he is likely to become upset and frustrated.
Do not spend more than 10 minutes at a time trying the bottle so you and your baby do not get too frustrated.
Setbacks in weaning can be caused by many things, including stress, major changes in meal or bed times, or illness. If such setbacks occur, wait until the situation improves or the illness is over, and then continue the weaning process. Call your baby's healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.