When a baby is born, it is handed over to the mother after birth and is fed with milk from her breasts. This is the first meal for every infant.
Careful research has shown that, apart from the health benefits of breast milk, breastfeeding also creates a bond between the infant and the mother.
The smell of the mother’s breast milk calms the baby, the physical contact soothes and puts the baby at ease, and it also releases oxytocin which strengthens the love bond that exists between a mother and her infant.
When Do Babies Stop Drinking Formula Milk?
Advantages of breast milk and breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding is an effective way of lowering your baby’s risk of getting allergies.
- Breast milk contains antibodies to protect and strengthen the infant’s immune system.
- Important for babies six months and under, it helps to fight infections.
- It prevents obesity and promotes healthy weight gain.
- The chances of your baby growing up smarter are increased if breastfed.
Although it is ideal for babies to be breastfed right from birth, there are some exceptions.
Mothers with diseases that can be transmitted from mother to child during breastfeeding, like the Hepatitis B virus, West Nile virus, and HIV, are advised to find a lactating substitute to feed their infants.
If they do not have the means to breastfeed their baby, milk-based Iron-fortified baby formula would be advised.
When do babies start drinking less milk?
At the age of eight to nine months, babies become less interested in staying close to the mother’s breasts and being breastfed. Studies show that some of the reasons why this happens include;
- As babies get older, their schedule becomes more predictable, and they no longer need to be breastfed to be put to bed.
- The baby starts self-weaning.
- The world becomes more exciting, and the baby’s attention is drawn to things around it.
- The introduction of solid foods can put your baby’s mindset on a more grown-up diet.
When to introduce your baby to formula?
Studies suggest that the baby should be exclusively breastfed for four months before introducing formula as a supplement feeding.
Try feeding your baby a bottle of formula when he eats less and incorporating it into the main schedule until you can completely switch from breast milk to formula, except if you only want to keep formula feeding as a substitute.
It takes three to six weeks for the baby to get used to formula feeding.
Do babies still need formula after 12 months?
At the age of twelve (12) to thirteen months (13) months, your toddler should have been completely gotten off formula and breastfeeding and should have made the switch to full or whole cow milk.
At this point, your baby’s digestive system is mature enough to handle dairy milk.
To introduce your baby to dairy milk and wean him off formula, instead of giving formula or breast milk all time, introduce milk in bottles at certain feeding periods until your baby is adjusted to dairy milk feeding.
You can also add solid foods that are easy to chew and digest.
At what age do you stop feeding your child breast milk
World Health Organization (WHO) recommended exclusive breastfeeding of your baby for six months to get all health benefits and continued breastfeeding with other supplements for two years at most.
Although various health organizations have recommendations and opinions on how long a baby should be breastfed, the choice mostly lies in the mother’s hands. It is, after all, her body and her baby.