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A gentle transition for successful weaning

Whether you opt for total weaning (removal of all feeds) or partial weaning (replacement of some feeds with artificial milk or solid foods), the process is not one that will take place overnight. A gentle transition is required for this change to be acceptable for both baby and for you. Read on to find out about the keys to successful weaning !

Weaning step-by-step

 

  • Weaning step-by-step

You want to go for total weaning? Start by removing the feeds in the middle of the day. Then progressively, in addition to the midday feed, depending on what you choose, either the evening feed or the morning feed, or inversely. A gently transition will have the benefit of not completely disrupting your relationship with baby and your lactation will slowly decline, thereby reducing the risk of engorged breasts !

 

For partial weaning, maintain a few feeds during the day. The morning and evening feeds for example. For the other meals, you can give your baby artificial milk, accompanied if you choose by solid food depending on their age.
You should note however that some mothers struggle to maintain good lactation with this rhythm. If this proves to be the case for you, why not try a breast pump ? At work, there is a legal requirement for you to be granted 1 hour a day to express milk, so don’t feel concerned about this aspect of things !

An alternative is to maintain three feeds a day (morning, late afternoon and evening, for example) when the child is with you, combined with bottles when they are with the child-minder or at nursery, and then to return to the usual breastfeeding rhythm at the weekend and on days-off to stimulate lactation.

If you wish to continue breastfeeding whilst working, it is pointless trying to familiarise your baby with the bottle before being separated from them and their arrival at nursery.

Breastfeeding is between the two of you, and the bottle is with the child-minder or at nursery. Even if bottle-feeding at nursery is tricky for the first few days, they will soon get used to it. A patient, determined member of staff will help them accept the bottle.

 

  • I listen to my body

Once you have removed the first feed, you will experience a softening in your breasts after 2 or 3 days: this is a sign that it is time to remove the second feed! And so on… By being aware of the signs your body gives you, you will avoid engorged breasts and weaning will be an easier process as a result.

 

  • I learn to soothe sore breasts

If your breasts are swollen and tender, express a little milk manually. A breastfeeding specialist can show you how to do this if necessary.

 

  • I do not resort to medication

There is no point in taking medication during weaning to reduce lactation. Over the course of time, your breasts will naturally produce less and less milk because baby is consuming less.

And what happens if baby refuses the bottle?

And what happens if baby refuses the bottle?

If your baby resists this change, continue to offer them the bottle, but don’t ever force them. At the beginning, don’t hesitate to fill it with your milk. They will progressively get used to the new texture of the teat and will eventually accept it. And at this point you can start using artificial milk.
Avoid giving them the bottle in the room where you would normally breastfeed, and initially you can ask their father or another person close to you to give baby their bottle. Your baby will progress beyond the breastfeeding relationship more quickly.
Whichever approach you try, the keys to success are as follows: a baby who is constantly reassured and cuddled and a change that takes place in a calm, attentive atmosphere.

EXPERT OPINION: instructions on preparing the very first bottles!

 

  • Before anything else, wash your hands thoroughly before beginning to prepare the bottle. Set yourself up in a clean space and make sure that the bottles, teats and utensils are all perfectly clean. These pre-requisites are essential for baby’s good health !
  • For environmental reasons, opt for glass bottles rather than plastic bottles.
  • Use only the recommended dose of milk for each bottle. To ensure that the quantities are correct, put the scoop fully into the powdered milk and then run the blade of a knife over the top to level it off. Count one level scoop of milk for 30ml of water Ensure that you always measure out in 30ml quantities and never by half scoops as quantities will not be correct.
  • Mix the water and powdered milk. To avoid making a mistake, refer to the volume of water and the number of scoops of milk listed on the side of the box. Doses vary depending on baby’s age and weight.

Go and check at the town hall to see if it is possible or not to use tap water. To find out more (Link to the article How to prepare a bottle).

  • After closing the bottle, shake it energetically to avoid lumps.
  • Gently heat it using a bottle warmer or under the hot tap (never use the microwave !). It should be served at around 37°C. Check that it is the correct temperature by pouring a few drops onto the back of your hand or by holding the bottle against your neck.

If it isn’t possible to heat the milk, it can be given at room temperature. It does appear to be more easily digested by baby when warm, however.

  • If there is just one golden rule to stick to, it’s this: any bottle not consumed within an hour must be discarded! The box of milk can be kept for about 1 month if it is correctly resealed and stored in a cool, clean and dry place.
  • After each use, clean the bottles, teats and screw tops with a bottle brush using water and washing up liquid and then rinse thoroughly. Air dry, do not dry with a tea towel, and store in a clean place. You can also wash bottles in the dishwasher, provided you rinse the bottles beforehand.

 

Note that it is not worth forcing baby to finish their bottle. Their appetite varies from day-to-day and depends on the time of day. Be attentive to their needs.

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Questions / Answers

If your baby is allergic to cows milk proteins, seek the advice of your doctor. They will help you find the best alternative.

Your baby knows when they are hungry and when they have had too much to eat. You must respect their appetite and never force them to finish what is on their plate. Just like adults, your baby may have more appetite on one day than on another and may not always want to finish what you give them for various reasons. Nonetheless, it is important to make sure they have an appetite at mealtimes by restricting how much they snack between meals and always offer them age-appropriate sized portions.

Dietary diversification generally starts between 4 and 6 months. Certain signs indicate that your baby is ready to accept other foods apart from milk, particularly the fact that they seem to be very interested in what you have on your plate and watch you eat by following your movements. They may also mime chewing and they know how to let you know that they have had enough to eat. Diversification takes place slowly. Different products are introduced progressively and with certain textures.

For more information and advice on dietary diversification, take a look at our tools:

Rest assured, a baby who is still hungry will quickly let you know. A baby who is full also knows how to show it it you! It is important to respect baby’s rhythms and their signs that they are full. Never force them if they are not hungry. If the quantities prescribed by your doctor don’t correspond with what your baby actually consumes, don’t hesitate to talk to them about it.

Making up a bottle is very easy. There is nothing complicated about it, you just need to apply a few hygiene rules and use the right quantities. Don’t hesitate to take a look at our detailed illustrated tutorial and you’ll soon be making up bottles like a pro!

After 12 months, other foods can be introduced into baby’s diet and quantities can be increased. For more information, refer to our calendar of flavours and textures.

Furthermore, milk is still an essential part of baby’s diet after 12 months. It is therefore recommended that between the ages of 12 and 36 months, you continue to give baby a 3rd stage growth milk, specially formulated to fulfil the nutritional requirements of babies in this age range: they are low in protein and contain the nutrients that baby may be lacking, such as iron and essential fatty acids.

After 6 months, infant milk is still just as important! Between 6 and 12 months, it is possible to give baby a 2nd stage follow-on milk.

Additionally, at 6 months at the latest, dietary diversification has started and baby can be given different foods in addition to milk (breast milk or infant milk). For more advice on what baby can eat between 6 and 12 months, quantities and textures, refer to our calendar of flavours and textures.

Nactalia follows WHO recommendations and encourages exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months. If you cannot or do not wish to breastfeed, talk to your doctor who will be able to prescribe a suitable 1st stage milk. Between 4 and 6 months, baby’s diet can be diversified and other foods can be given to baby, provided that they are a suitable texture. For more advice, follow our calendar of flavours and textures.

Up to the age of 3, baby has very specific nutritional needs. In particular they need more iron, calcium and essential fatty acids than an adult.

“Normal” milk, or cows milk, which the whole family drinks is generally too rich in proteins and lacking in iron for baby. Infant formula fulfils their needs more effectively.

Between 1 and 3 years, the dairy equivalent to be consumed is 500ml/day. The minimum recommended amount of growth milk (which is specially formulated to provide all of the nutritional requirements of babies in this age range) is 300 ml/day, which is then supplemented with other dairy products to make the recommended 500ml.

Cows milk does not fulfil the specific nutritional requirements of baby before the age of 1.

Between 1 and 3 years, cows milk can be given to baby, but it is preferable to continue with growing-up milks : they contain less protein and all of the nutrients which baby may be lacking, such as iron and essential fatty acids.

Between 0 and 6 months, opt for exclusive breastfeeding and if you cannot or choose not to breastfeed, seek the advice of your doctor. Between 6 and 12 months, it is possible to give baby a 2nd stage follow-on milk. Between 1 and 3 years, it is preferable/advisable to give baby a 3rd stage growth milk.

Progressing from the breast to the bottle corresponds with weaning baby, or in other words is the moment when baby stops breastfeeding and starts using a bottle or starts to have a more varied diet if they are between 4 and 6 months old. It is an obligatory step that can take place very calmly if the transition is managed gently.

To guide you in this transition and help you wean baby gently, we have prepared lots of advice and tips which you can find in our article “A gentle transition for successful weaning”. For even more advice, take a look at our tools for mothers:

Each infant milk has a different flavour and it takes time for baby’s body to adapt. It is recommended that you introduce the new formula progressively, alternating it with the previous one.

Weight gain is not significantly different between breastfed children and those fed with a bottle. Additionally, regular, continuous weight gain is fundamental during baby’s first months. There is no need to worry, each baby is different and grows at their own rate. However, if you are concerned about your baby’s weight, don’t hesitate to talk to your paediatrician.

If you have chosen industrial infant milk, it does not usually cause intestinal gas.
However, if your child is suffering from minor physiological problems such as intestinal gas, certain milks have been specifically formulated to reflect these requirements. For example, Nactalia AD-LF milk has been specially formulated to help babies who are sensitive to lactose to recover from the temporary or permanent symptoms of lactose intolerance, such as intestinal gas, irritation and diarrhoea.
We recommend seeking the advice of your doctor.

Note that intestinal gas may also be the result of colic since babies cry a lot and swallow air

Food allergies are common in children.
Breastfeeding remains the best protection against allergies. Even if breast milk only provides partial protection against the risk of future allergies, no infant formula does any better.
Additionally, if you have chosen an industrial milk, it may be that your child is allergic or intolerant to the lactose or the cows milk protein present in the milk that you have chosen. Solutions are available for children who are sensitive to this kind of allergy, such as the milks containing extensively hydrolysed proteins which have proven to be effective in clinical studies.

However, if this is the case and before doing anything else, we recommend that you consult your doctor.

If you have chosen industrial infant milk, it does not usually cause constipation.
However, if your child is suffering from minor physiological problems such as constipation, certain milks have been specifically formulated to reflect these requirements. For example, Nactalia COMFORT milk has been specially formulated for the dietary treatment of intestinal problems such as constipation.
Before choosing your milk, we recommend seeking the advice of your doctor.

If you observe minor physiological problems in your baby, such as colic, regurgitation, constipation or diarrhoea, this can mean that the infant milk you are using is not fulfilling the requirements of your baby (even if gastrointestinal problems are very common during the first few months of life).

In any case, there is no reason to worry, solutions are available! But before choosing, we recommend that you consult your doctor.

The quantity of milk baby requires each day depends on their age. Note that Nactalia follows WHO recommendations and encourages exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months. For more information on how much milk to give your baby each day, you will find instructions on your Nactalia box indicating the volume of water and number of measuring scoops to give your baby depending on their age.

It is important to note that these quantities are only averages that need to be adapted to reflect your baby’s appetite and how quickly they gain weight.

Never force your baby to finish their bottle if they don’t seem to want to: just like you, there are times when they will be hungrier than others. It is may be that they leave half of their bottle at one meal and then want more milk at the next meal: let them eat in accordance with their requirements! Similarly, the times that they want eat and the intervals between bottles can also vary: it is important to respect baby’s rhythm.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months as breast milk is the optimal form of nutrition for a baby.

If you cannot or do not wish to breastfeed, it will be necessary to choose an infant formula suited to the child’s age. These infant formula fulfil their nutritional requirements, both in terms of macronutrients (lipids, carbohydrates, proteins) and micro nutrients (vitamins, iron, zinc and other minerals…), as well as the absolutely essential provision of calcium.

Do not hesitate to contact your doctor to advise you in your choice of milk.

Breastfeeding is the best way of fulfilling baby’s specific requirements. This is why Nactalia encourages and recommends breastfeeding up until the age of 6 months. If you cannot or choose not to breastfeed, your doctor is the most suitable person to advise you.

Attentive to the needs of mothers and their babies, our scientific teams have studied in depth the composition of breast milk and have devoted their efforts to formulating infant milk formulas that best meet the baby’s natural needs and specific metabolism.

Nactalia offers a range of different formulas to provide the necessary nutrients to ensure your baby grows and develops healthily.

Making sure that baby grows healthily is the n°1 concern for parents!
And achieving this starts in the very first days of life, ensuring that baby gains weight, regularly, every month.
Breastfeeding is the best way of fulfilling baby’s nutritional requirements. However, if you can’t or don’t want to breastfeed, the infant milk formulas of Nactalia have been formulated to provide baby with all the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.

Each child has their own specific requirements and children do not gain weight in the same way. So don’t worry!
But if you are feeling overly concerned about your baby’s weight, then talk to your paediatrician.

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