We started attempting to wean after Baby E turned 13 months. The journey was a long one which was to be expected since she took 6 months to take to a bottle. We tried Aptamil, Karihome Goat’s Milk and Nan, before we took a break for 2-3 months because I felt heartbroken seeing her heave up the milk after drinking it.
After much research, we tried the following when attempting to wean:
1. Mixing formula into expressed breast milk
2. Mixing cow’s milk into expressed breast milk
3. 100% formula for one feed
The first two didn’t work and I felt a lot of pain watching my expressed milk go down the drain (Supply was already so limited!) so eventually we just went with trying with 100% formula in a feed. Eventually, what worked was Similac, I suspect because of the vanilla flavoring which I’m not so happy with. But some milk is better than no milk so we stuck with Similac. We realised that the key to getting baby E to take the milk was the following:
Ensuring that she’s in a calm and good mood before giving her the bottle with a neutral and normal face, as if we were giving her a bottle of expressed milk.
Simple as that! After the first try, we kept doing that in the days to come and eventually she was ok with formula. But have to say that after the kid starts taking formula, supply died off REALLY fast because she stays full for longer and suckles less. Hence my initial warning about not introducing formula at the beginning if you really want to nurse.
On hindsight, I regret not weaning earlier. Part of the reason Baby E took close to 6 months to take to a formula was because I did it half heartedly. I was still adament on nursing for as long as I could so I wasn’t trying hard to give her formula at all. And then when she took to Similac, I was still expressing milk and giving her expressed milk at times in infant care. I eventually stopped because it didn’t make sense to pump for so little yield and have to wash and sterilise everything. After I stopped, the sense of freedom was immense because:
1. I no longer have to worry about milk storage logistics if I need to go elsewhere and have no access to a fridge.
2. The husband no longer had to wash flanges and parts.
3. I no longer have to pack flanges, sterilise them etc
4. The kid slept longer at night so I had to wake up less to nurse her
5. Say bye bye to bulky bags and 1.5kg cooler bags!
Overall, it was less stressful for us and I finally understood why the hubs was frequently on my case to introduce formula. For me, I was a nursing fanatic and frequently got into arguments with him over total breastfeeding. I was angry with him for not supporting nursing after 1 year old. On hindsight, I understand it all now.