When your baby turns one, it’s time to start thinking about transitioning them to whole milk and weaning them off of formula. Generally, if you are breast feeding and it is working for you and your toddler then it is not necessary to transition to whole milk. This can be an exciting time, as it marks a new phase in your baby’s development, but it can also be a bit daunting. Here are some tips to help make the switch from formula or breast milk to whole milk as smooth as possible:
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies can start drinking whole milk at 12 months of age. Before then, their digestive systems are not ready to handle the proteins and minerals in cow’s milk. The AAP also recommends that babies continue to drink breast milk or formula until their first birthday, as these provide the necessary nutrients for optimal growth and development.
When introducing whole milk to your baby, it’s important to do it slowly. Start by mixing whole milk with formula or breast milk, gradually increasing the amount of whole milk each day until your baby is drinking it exclusively. This can take up to two weeks or more, so be patient and take your time.
Choose the right kind:
When choosing whole milk for your baby, opt for pasteurized and homogenized milk that is fortified with vitamin D. This helps to ensure that your baby is getting the necessary nutrients for growth and development.
Offer in a cup or Sippy Cup:
Around the time that you start introducing whole milk, you can also start transitioning your baby from a bottle to a cup. Offer whole milk in a cup with meals and snacks, and reserve bottles for water or other fluids. This helps to prevent tooth decay and promote healthy dental habits. Often times toddlers struggle with an open cup and can spill the milk everywhere. When we transitioned both our kids we started with a sippy cup or a cup with a straw.
Pay attention to your baby’s cues:
As with any new food, pay attention to your baby’s cues and reactions when introducing whole milk. Some babies may not tolerate whole milk well, and may experience digestive issues such as gas, bloating, or diarrhea. If this happens, speak with your pediatrician, who may recommend switching to lactose-free milk or an alternative milk source.
In conclusion, transitioning your 12-month-old from formula to whole milk is an important milestone in your baby’s development. Remember to do it slowly, choose the right kind of milk, offer it in a cup, and pay attention to your baby’s cues. By following these tips, you can help ensure a smooth and successful transition to whole milk.