There are many milestones your baby will meet by their first birthday, including trying new foods and drinks. Around this time, many parents decide to wean their baby from breastfeeding to whole milk. But how do you do it exactly? Knowing how to safely transition your baby from breast milk to whole milk can make the milestone feel a little less daunting.
The first thing you should gauge is whether or not your baby is ready for whole milk. Romper spoke with Anita Mirchandani, M.S. R.D. C.D.N, a clinical nutritionist and registered dietician at Yummy Spoonfuls, who says that while babies are traditionally transitioned to whole milk at 12 months, it really depends on the baby’s readiness for solids and exposure to food.
“The best way to transition babies is by slowing increasing the cow’s milk quantity," suggests Mirchandani. She says, for example, you can start with 1 ounce of cow’s milk for the first week, then 4 ounces for the second week, 6 ounces for the third week, and then 8 ounces for the fourth week. If they are drinking milk about 3 times a day, says Mirchandani, this would translate to 24 ounces by the fourth week.
Before hopping wholeheartedly on the moo moo train, however, there are a few things to consider. If your baby didn't respond well to formula, which is usually made of cow’s milk, says Mirchandani, then your baby may not be able to tolerate whole milk. If this is the case, she recommends addressing the issue with a dietician. “Children require calcium for their bone growth development,” she explains, “so if milk isn’t the primary source, a dietitian could address additional calcium sources to ensure adequate dietary intake.”
The best thing to do is to take it slow, and keep your pediatrician or dietitian in the loop so they can offer you the best advice and methods individually tailored for your baby’s needs. Eventually, your child will get to enjoy what a cold glass of milk is really meant for — a plate of warm, homemade, cookies.