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What is weaning ?

Updated: May 24, 2022

Weaning is the process of switching an infant's diet from breast milk/formula to other foods/solids. In most cases, choosing when to wean is a personal decision, weaning an infant is a gradual process. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends feeding infants only breast milk for the first 6 months after birth. After 6 months, the AAP recommends a combination of solid foods and breast milk until the infant is at least 1 years old. The Academy advises against giving cow's milk to children younger than 1 year old.

You may have difficulty determining how much to feed your child and when to start introducing solid foods. The general guidance below, as reported by the National Library of Medicine, demonstrates the process of weaning for infants up to 6 months of age. You should speak with your baby's doctor before attempting weaning to make sure that they are ready.

  • Birth to 4 months of age

    • During the first 4 to 6 months, infants need only breast milk or formula to meet their nutritional needs.

    • If breastfeeding, a newborn may need to nurse 8 to 12 times per day. By 4 months of age, an infant may need to nurse only 4 to 6 times per day.

    • By comparison, formula-fed infants may need to be fed about 6 to 8 times per day, with newborns consuming about 2 to 3 ounces per feeding. The number of feedings will decrease as the infant gets older, similar to breastfeeding.


  • 4 to 6 months of age

    • At 4 to 6 months of age, an infant needs to consume 28 to 45 ounces of breast milk or formula per day and often is ready to start being introduced to solid food.

    • Starting solid foods too soon can be hazardous, so an infant should not be fed solid food until he or she is physically ready.

For more information on weaning your infant, visit MedLinePlus: Feeding Patterns and Diet—Children 6 Months to 2 Years.

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