Sevrage : Comment passer de l’allaitement au biberon ? - Élhée

Weaning: How to switch from breastfeeding to bottle feeding?

Weaning is one of the first major stages in a baby's life. First breastfed, fed on demand and desire, baby will soon move from the breast to the bottle . Not always in agreement, sometimes confused or on the contrary completely cooperative, he may react in different ways and so can you. You may even be surprised by ambivalent feelings . We told you about it some time ago, the milk blues sometimes hide behind the nostalgia of breastfeeding . But, because the vast majority of weaning goes wonderfully, let's see together how to put all the chances on your side to get your baby to accept the bottle .

First thing: put the end of breastfeeding into perspective

Baby bottle sucking from its mother's breast
Nothing is more normal than feeling a pang in the heart and even sadness at the thought of weaning your baby. It's the end of an era, one where you were absolutely everything for your infant; the protective, loving and nurturing mother. By choice or by obligation, you are one of the mothers who stop exclusive breastfeeding to switch to mixed breastfeeding then bottle feeding, in their child's very first months.

But the end of one period fortunately always heralds the beginning of another! Your baby is no longer an infant, he wakes up and carries out some small actions on his own. For both of you, it is the advent of a another form of sharing .

Breast milk or infant formula from a bottle, the main thing is the love transmitted through the gesture of feeding .

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusively breastfeeding newborns until 6 months of age. However, in 2013 the Epifane study showed that at 3 months, 39% of children were breastfed. At 6 months, there are only one in four. Four years later in 2017, the proportion of children still breastfed at 6 months increased to 22.8% according to the national average.

Then: focus on softness and support towards the bottle

For your breastfed baby from the first day of life, nothing is more natural and instinctive than drinking from your breast . This is why the presentation and then installation of the bottle as a new daily nurturing object should be as progressive, gentle and attentive as possible. Temperature, texture, shape, handling... almost everything is different between breast and bottle, so you have to be patient and kind to switch from one to the other without suspicion .

Give time and discover new sensations

It takes about a full month to wean baby and move from exclusive breastfeeding to bottle feeding at all meals. However, depending on your emotions, your child, but also your possibilities, this time can be reduced or extended . Also, give yourself as much time as possible to give you both the right to refuse, to not want to, to not be able to do it and to start again the next day .

By giving the bottle rather than the breast, you benefit from your baby's face. Because it is no longer buried against your breast but turned towards you, you perceive new emotions , new expressions every day. If breastfeeding offered you a carnal and almost primal exchange , giving the bottle offers a different interaction , but just as rich, like an introductory discussion between you .

Choose a graduated approach without deadline

If weaning your infant is a choice, then it is you and you alone who determine how well it goes. If it's related to returning to work, or if you feel like your milk is starting to dry up, you have a deadline. However, you can always choose to wean baby gently by offering him to start drinking from a bottle earlier . You may feel like you're missing out on a few weeks of feedings, but you'll also enjoy a smoother transition that won't leave you worried about your child's ability to feed without you.

Still with the idea of ​​helping him towards more autonomy (an idea that will never leave you), why not start by replacing a daily feeding ? Between 3 and 5 months, babies eat on average 4 meals per day. For example, save the precious morning and evening feedings – especially as they are necessary to avoid breast engorgement – ​​and start by giving a bottle during the day. As with breastfeeding, don't focus on quantities, especially the first few times. Once this bottle is well accepted, in a few days or weeks, you can add a second one . The mixed breastfeeding period begins!

Baby accepts it? Maintain the rhythm of two feedings and two bottles for another week and continue like this until finally switching to meals given exclusively by bottle. To make things easier, first offer him bottles of your milk if you want to express it, before moving on to infant formula.

Baby in the arms of his mother who drinks his physiological bottle Elhee
Weaning is not an exact science! Its success depends on many factors, the moment, but also particular emotional conditions. If baby agrees to take one bottle per day, but not two, it doesn't matter! You will try again later. That’s the whole point of starting weaning early enough. And rest assured, the end of breastfeeding does not necessarily mean the disappearance of feedings. Sick or tired, your little one may come back to ask for it from time to time, until he stops completely on his own.

Something else: create a new ritual for bottle feeding

Start and end the bottle with a hug, talk, explain, hum to reassure your baby, introduce meals with dad ... Time is your best support to avoid the little fears and frustrations linked to this major change that is the end of breastfeeding. And creating rituals makes things a lot easier.

The force of habit is a powerful driver of acceptance that can help you ease the transition from breast to bottle. Also, if you haven't already done so, introduce a reassuring ritual that baby will associate with mealtime . Also, if you can, choose quiet time where you are alone.

Practice skin to skin! Since contact with the bottle will soon replace contact with your breast, offer baby the best compensation by taking the time for a skin-to-skin cuddle during his meal. Comfortably seated in an armchair or rocking chair, slip your baby into a sling or simply place him against your chest. Lulled by the beating of your heart and relaxed by your warmth, he should indulge more easily in his new snack.

Find THE bottle that baby likes

Anticipation sometimes overcomes the most difficult problems by giving you time to think about everything (or almost). Before giving your child his first bottles, take the time to review your different choices in terms of containers. Not all bottles are suitable for your baby and this is even more the case when it comes to successfully transitioning from breastfeeding.

Choosing the appropriate size
Find healthy material
Focus on a physiological pacifier
This is perhaps the most impactful element for baby. The bottle teat gradually replaces your nipple. Its shape is different, its texture too as well as the flow of milk sucked by the infant. Also, it is possible that your child will simply reject it. It's no ! The physiological pacifier promotes the breast - bottle transition thanks to its asymmetrical shape designed to adapt to the mouth and palate of children. Very flexible, it does not bother baby and requires no effort to drink. If it is also made of medical silicone as is the case for Elhée bibRond pacifiers, it does not emit any odor. Everything you need to quickly adopt it!

Give him the perfect bibRond

Taking all of these considerations into account, Elhée, one day, set herself the task of imagining the perfect bottle, for healthy and peaceful nutrition for babies . It would be healthy, gentle, and practical for mothers too. Plus it would be beautiful. Some time later and with the contribution of a fantastic team and production line , the bibRond Elhée was born.


Today, Elhée's little pink heart accompanies the round bottle all over the world. The words of mothers who have tried and adopted it are there to testify.

Don't forget: choosing the right infant milk

Baby in his mother's arms pulling on the physiological teat of his Élhée anti-colic bottle
But weaning isn't just about technique or equipment. This first dietary transition is above all a matter of taste. From breast milk to infant formula, a whole world of preparations opens up before you when it comes time to choose.

From classic powdered milk made from cow's milk, to preparations designed for the digestive comfort of little ones with allergies and thickened milks, all you have to do is make your choice... and follow that of your baby. As it is possible that the first milk chosen is the right one, you may have to change brands several times before finding the one for your child.

From a practical point of view, only use infant formulas recommended for your child's age group : first-age milk before six months and second-age milk after. The quantities and method of preparation are always indicated on the box.

As a bonus: our mom’s secrets for dealing with the difficulties of weaning

But that's all theory. In practice, you may have to wean your baby faster than expected. You may not want to or on the contrary, you will take the initiative to take advantage of the bottles earlier. Maybe the baby will cry a lot and you will feel helpless. Perhaps the baby will be the first to refuse to breastfeed and there too, you will feel helpless. It is also possible that baby easily takes his first bottles and suddenly refuses to continue drinking them...

In short, you will have understood and if you already have a child you know, theory and practice in maternity matters are not always linked . So, here are some mom secrets to share to help each other:

  • Change places between breastfeeding phases and meals taken from a bottle . The idea is to create a new moment, a new space between you, in which baby will no longer automatically seek feeding. Were you breastfeeding in the bedroom? Prefer the sofa in the living room or the bench on the terrace if the weather is suitable.
  • Tilt the bottle when giving it and/or use a slow-flow nipple so baby doesn't feel overwhelmed. With a bottle, the milk flows faster than during feeding!
  • Let another person give the first bottles . Even if it's a little hard, letting dad give the first bottles to your child can facilitate the emotional transition by drawing baby's attention away from his meal.
  • Gently heat the milk . Since breast milk is naturally lukewarm, warming the milk from the bottle before giving it can help!
Back to blog
1 of 3