When Is the Right Time to Stop Breastfeeding (or Using Formula)?

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Having a baby is a wonderful, yet rather frightening experience, especially for first-time parents. The first couple of months are the hardest, which is not a surprise as the parents are getting used to the new member of their family.

Apart from being a thrilling experience for the parents, the first few months in a baby’s life are important for the baby as well. In fact, that period is crucial for the newborn’s development, both physical and emotional.

In the first few weeks, your baby will be calm and happy if you manage to satisfy its basic needs. The most important of those needs is food, or in this case milk, which you can provide by either breastfeeding or using a formula.

For How Long Should You Breastfeed Your Baby?

There’s an ongoing argument between pediatricians across the globe on whether it’s better to breastfeed or use a formula to feed your baby. We’re not going to go into details, as the final decision is completely up to you, the parent. So, whatever your choice might be, breastfeeding or a bottle, know that done for the first half a year, your baby needs to get the food in the liquid form!

In fact, this is something that all pediatricians agree on. Even the World Health Organization recommends that you should feed your infant with liquid food for about 6 months. Still, the exact time when you should start introducing solid food into your baby’s diet is not specified. Why? Because it all depends on the baby!

How to Know When Is The Right Time to Introduce Solid Food?

Each baby is born with the sucking reflex, which they use during the first couple of months of their lives when mother’s milk (or formula) is their only source of food. But, the sucking reflex is not the only reflex your baby is born with. The other one is the extrusion reflex!

Basically, the extrusion reflex is a mechanism that enables the babies to push away the food that they cannot swallow. If you try to put solid food into your baby’s mouth, the baby will thrust the tongue out to prevent that from happening. This is a certain sign that your baby is not ready for solids!

You will know that the time has come to stop breastfeeding when this reflex disappears. Once your baby stops spitting out everything other than liquid food, it is a sign that it needs solid foods in the diet!

Introducing Solid Foods

Why is it important to start feeding your baby with solid food at the right moment? Because milk (or formula) is not enough to provide everything your baby needs! This is especially true for certain nutrients, like iron, for example. Your baby is born with enough iron for a couple of months. However, as the baby grows bigger, the iron supplies go down. Eventually, the iron supply might run out, which could harm your baby’s development. This can happen if you don’t introduce the solids at the right time!

The transition from liquid to solid foods should not be extreme. Instead, you should start introducing solids by feeding your baby with foods like rice cereal. Rice might be the very best option, as it is very unlikely to cause allergic reactions.

A few weeks after you started feeding your baby with rice cereal, you can start adding other foods in the diet. A good choice would be to introduce other types of grains, but also to start slowly introducing veggies and fruits. Our advice is to add one food at a time, so that you would be able to easily spot which food is to blame if an allergic reaction happens.