One of the most important ways to guarantee a child’s welfare and survival is to breastfeed them. For babies, breast milk is the best medicine and food. It is nutritious, clean, and contains antibodies that help protect children against a variety of illnesses. Breastmilk supplies all of the calories and nutrients that an infant requires during the first few months of life.

Breast milk helps to supply up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second quarter of the first year. Up to one-third of a child’s dietary needs during the second year are also served through mothers breast milk. However, the most confusing part for almost every mother is when to switch the feeding patterns for the baby. When is the best time to switch to formula feeding for their babies? Is it always confusing? 

When should you switch to formula feeding from breastfeeding?

Knowing the best time to switch to formula feeding from breastfeeding is a key to nurture your baby with increasing nutritional needs. Some toddlers maintain their breastfeeding attachment well into adulthood. While others are less interested and begin self-weaning before their first year (between 9 and 12 months typically).

You can start introducing formula feeding when, 

  1. The baby is interested in food. For example, you may observe them watch others eat, reach for food, and open their mouths when food approaches with expectation. 
  2. A simple thumb rule would be when your baby weighs double the birth weight. 
  3. When your milk is waning, your milk generation might reduce after a couple of months and might not meet the needs of your baby.
  4. If you notice your baby is fussy and still hungry after feeding or isn’t gaining as much weight. It is time for external feeding. 
  5. When your baby starts keeping his/her head up and sits up with little to no assistance.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of your baby’s life, followed by a combination of breast milk and solid food before he becomes one. And if the arrangement is going well for your routine, it’s entirely appropriate to extend it.

The decision to stop breastfeeding is a personal one, and each mother should do what is best for her and her child. Following the general precautions and most appropriate methods will help the baby, and you have a much healthier and happier time. 

*Information shared here is for general purpose. Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision. 

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