Weaning Your Baby or Toddler

It is recommended that babies be fed only breast milk for the first six months of life, with the addition of nutrient-rich solid foods at six months with continued breastfeeding for two years of age and older.

Exclusive breastfeeding means no food or liquid other than breast milk, not even water, is given to the baby. Vitamins and medication are appropriate when advised by the health care provider.

Weaning Your Breastfed Child
- Fact Sheet

How do I wean my baby?

If you choose to wean your baby from breast milk when your baby is younger than nine months of age, you will need to feed your baby a commercial iron fortified artificial baby milk (formula). Call Region of Waterloo Public Health 519-575-4400, for information about what type of artificial baby milk (formula) to give your baby.

You may also consider expressing your breast milk while weaning your baby. Read more information on expressing breast milk.

Weaning is the gradual process of giving your baby other foods while continuing to breastfeed. There is not a best time or way to stop breastfeeding. It is different for every mother and child.

At about six months of age, your baby will be ready and will need other foods to meet their nutrient needs. As you introduce new foods, you can continue to breastfeed.

If your baby is between 9-12 months of age, you may wean her to an iron fortified artificial baby milk (formula) or whole cow's milk if she is eating a variety of iron-rich foods. You also may want to think about weaning directly from the breast to a cup.

Weaning from the breast to a cup

Most babies are ready to start drinking from a cup between 6-8 months of age. When you decide to wean your baby, do it gradually to give her and yourself both time to adjust. With breastfeeding, you need to give yourself time to let your milk supply decrease slowly, without discomfort.

You can help wean your baby by:

  • Start giving small amounts of breast milk in a cup. Your baby may also have artificial baby milk (formula) or whole cow's milk if baby is over nine months.
  • Gradually replace one feeding at a time with a cup until all the feedings have been replaced and she drinking only from a cup. The same steps should also be taken when using artificial baby milk (formula).
  • Wait a few days before stopping another feeding, to let your milk supply go down slowly.
  • At the time of the missed feeding, express only the amount of milk needed to relieve any discomfort.
  • When feeding your baby from a cup, follow your baby's cues. She will let you know when she has had enough to eat.

Take as long as you want to wean your baby. Do what is right for you and your baby. Some mothers choose to wean over a longer period of time, keeping an evening and/or morning feed well past their child's second birthday.

For more information about weaning your baby, call Region of Waterloo Public Health 519-575-4400.