42 answers

11 Months Too Early for Cow's Milk?

My baby is turning 11 months old in a few days and I was wondering if anyone out there has switched their baby from formula to cow's milk at this age. The Pediatrician did suggest we should wait until he is 12 months old but he drinks so much formula (9oz five times a day)it has gotten to be quite expensive. He is a very good eater and eats a variety of foods and he also drinks nursery water on occassion. Can I start with the cow's milk a month early, or should I wait it out?

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I know you got enough responses. Just for fun though . When I was born my mom gave me formula . Tried every kind they had then (i am 42 now) and I threw ALL of them up and doctor said to give me whole cows milk and I was fine!!! Funny huh I only drank that.

I switched both of my daughters at 11 months and they were fine :) I would go for it. Formula is SO expensive. We started by using 1/4 bottle cows milk and 3/4 formula, then moved to 1/2 cows milk and 1/2 formula, and so on, until they were fine with a full bottle of cows milk. Hope this helps!

I started to transition my daughter to cow's milk at 11 months. She was on cow's milk only by 12 months but it does take them awhile to adjust to the taste so I would start now and wean you little one off the formula.

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I actually started my daughter (who is now almost 13 months old) on cow's milk at 11 months old. Everytime she played with one of her friends, who is about six weeks older, she would always try to drink the milk from his cup. Since she was showing such interest I just went ahead and switched her to milk and at the same time took her completely off the bottle as well-previously she had been using a cup and bottle. Anyway she tolerated the switch to cow's milk just fine and my pedatrician did not seem concerned when I told her at my daughter's one year check up that she had been on cow's milk for the past month. She just said my daughter should not be drinking more than 16 ounces (I believe she said 16 oz but check with your pediatrician) per day. My daughter does drink whole milk and not the reduced percent milks. Hope this helps!

Unless there is a medical or dietary reason that you didn't mention, you should be good to give him a feeding or two of cows milk now. I wouldn't suggest switching all at once though...maybe one feeding for a few days, then two, then three etc. That way, if it is too much for him he doesn't have a lot in his system too quickly.

When my son was 11 months old, my pediatrician had told me to start mixing the bottles but he didn't like it that way. I had to give a bottle of one or the other at a time...he would take either one by itself but not mixed together. With my daughter, he said wait until she was 1 year. I started giving her some milk here and there just before that. Both had no problems.

I waited the full 12 months to switch my oldest over but my youngest I started at about 11 1/2 months. Both times though I started by doing 1/4 milk 3/4 formula for a few days, then increased to 1/2 and 1/2, then 3/4 and 1/4 and finally straight milk. It took probably about a week and a half to two weeks to switch completely over. That way it's easier on baby's tummy and hopefully he won't have any problems with digestion.

My youngest picked up my older son's sippy cup and slurped it down at about 10 months, so I switched him too.

Hello, J., I suggest you switch him to Almond milk, and Rice milk. Do a little research on cows milk before you use it. Humans dont need cows milk, it may actually contribute to allergies and calcium loss. Good luck!

hi! 45 ounces of fomula a day is more than he needs! i bet it is expensive! have you tried giving him watered down juice for meals or just water? maybe he is just thirsty? I don't hink it would hurt to start transitioning to milk slowly a few weeks before his first bday, though. I really think juice or water a few times a day would be better though. Does he take a sippy cup? that may help too...

J., mom of 2 6 and 2

I started around 11 1/2 months, I don't know what a few more weeks would magically do. supposidely it is for digestion issues, but if he can digest it at 11 mo, then go for it (they eat yogurt way before a year and that is cows milk). Start slow and see how he tolerates it.

we started our son on cow's milk before he was 12 months, we just did a bottle a day at first, then upped it a little each week. we wanted to make sure he wouldn't have any issues or allergies before making the complete switch and it made sense to us. do what you feel is right.

Hi J.,

The answer is to keep the baby on formula until he is a year old.

Cow's milk has a protein in it that may cause an allergic reaction in babies.

That is why the Doctor recommended you to keep the baby on formula.

Hope this helps. D.

I know you got enough responses. Just for fun though . When I was born my mom gave me formula . Tried every kind they had then (i am 42 now) and I threw ALL of them up and doctor said to give me whole cows milk and I was fine!!! Funny huh I only drank that.

I personally would say, no.
Only because I have learned that the pasteurising process makes it very hard for our bodies to use the calcium in the milk. If you can get raw cow or goat milk from a good and knowledgeable source that is the very best next to mommy's milk!!!
God Bless


You should not be giving your baby nursery water. Water with added flouride is not appropriate for babies. It's also an unecessary expense. Many groups are trying to ban the sale of nursery water. See this link or google it: http://www.ewg.org/node/25951

I did breastfeed my daughter till she was almost 13 months, but around 10 or 11 months I didn't have a big supply, so I supplemented with cow's milk, and it worked perfectly.
I just used her usual bottle, and she didn't have any problem with the transition.
I also was a little concerned that it was too soon after reading advices online and on books, but I had a friend that actually started giving cow's milk to her daughter when she was 8 months, and she is now a wonderful, healthy 7 years old.
She is now 17 months and drinks exclusively cow's milk.
So my personal experience is that it would be ok to start at 11 months.

My grandmother fed her children cow's milk, goat's milk and buttermilk, all 5 of her children grew up strong and healthy! I would suggest starting him off on organic whole milk, that way the baby isn't getting all of the additives and horomones and unnecessary antibiotics, but is still getting the vitamins and nutrition that he needs. I would do some sort of transition, just to make sure his little belly will handle it ok. I'd just give him a little at time over a week or two. I deffinitely wouldn't do it all at once. hope this helps!

my son had cows milk at 6 months. Vit D of course, then at a year we switched to 2%. He had no issues at all.

I suggest to wait it out as the pediatrician says. They say 12 months because allergies. If he was a couple day from being 12 months I would say that should be fine. But it's best to wait.

Hi J.,

With my first child my pediatrician told us at her 9 month check up that we could start weening her to cow's milk! I was so surprised and not quite sure so we waited another month and then started putting an ounce of cow's milk in with her formula and so on and I believe she was completely on cow's milk by the time she was 11 months, so go ahead! My son is almost 8 months old and we'll be starting the weening process in another 2 months. Good luck!

Hi! My pediatrician put my son on cow's milk at 9 months. We waited to 10 months. It worked out great for him. We buy organinc whole milk. Good Luck!

Cow's milk is one of the major allergens. In my childbirth ed. class, I encourage my moms both nursing and formula feeding to transition to goat's milk if they are planning to have their child eat dairy.
There are plenty of natural food stores in the area that sell goat's milk.
Try My Organic Market.

No! Don't! It has to do with the development of allergies. Also, Organic is the way to go.

Try doing milk half the time...and slowly introduce it. He may not take it right away anyway, so if you start off with just a few feedings a day (like lunch and dinner) then he'll be ready in 4 weeks for full time milk.

I was looking on Beechnut.com this morning and read this...Although you may wonder if it's okay to make the switch to cow's milk now, you should wait until your baby is one year old. Cow's milk contains too much sodium and protein for little ones, and may interfere with your baby's iron absorption. Wait until your baby's health-care provider tells you it's okay to start cow's milk.

Some information for this article was provided by "Solid Advice: A Handy Feeding Guide." published by Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp.

Hope this helps!

I switched both of my daughters at 11 months and they were fine :) I would go for it. Formula is SO expensive. We started by using 1/4 bottle cows milk and 3/4 formula, then moved to 1/2 cows milk and 1/2 formula, and so on, until they were fine with a full bottle of cows milk. Hope this helps!

I am a SAH mother and nurse. I switched by son (now 3) a bit earlier than the 12 months also. What is 4 weeks?? 12 months is just the guideline, it is not a hard fast rule. My son is very bright and sociable (even with 4 weeks less of formula).

45 oz. of formula is quite a bit of fluid intake. Is he drinking so much b/c he does not like, or you are not offering much in the way of solids??? Sounds like maybe if you increases his solids...he would drink less. If he is not "eating" much...he will probably try to drink his calories with the whole milk too!

If there no history of allergies... go ahead with whole cow's milk. But, make sure he is getting solids/table food as well. You know your child better than anyone else.

It's never too early to take your baby off of (man-made) formula. When formula replaced breastmilk, it was all about the dollar. Corporations could make money off of what God gave free. If your baby is eating solids, as you described, don't even replace the formula with cow's milk, especially if it is not organic. If it is organic, then use it as a drink with meals and make sure that real juice is also one of his drinks. Give your baby vitamins as a supplement. Often-times doctors have stock in the very thing they are prescribing or advocating.

Our son was breastfed until he was almost two but he started getting cow's milk when he was home with my husband at 9 months. He was eating things like cottage cheese and other cow dairy products by then anyway. He didn't have any problem digesting it. we did buy the organic stuff since there are no hormones or antibiotics used with those and the organic stuff is ultra-pasteurized so maybe that made a difference. Pediatricians love to throw around exact dates as if every kid is the same but they are dealing in averages, not absolutes. I wouldn't beat yourself up about it, especially considering the cost of groceries these days.

We were living in Germany when my daughter was 6 months old. We couldn't afford to buy formula so I put her on whole milk. It did NOT hurt her at all. In fact, she has NEVER been sick, perfect health and has always been an A/B student throught school. Thanks for listening.

Hi J.,

When my son (now 14 months) was 11 months old I started mixing formula with 1 oz of milk, and see how he reacted... About a week or so later I added an ounce more.. Then kept on adding it every week to see how he reacted. So by the time he turned one he was on cows milk totally. He has adapted really good to the cows milk. Pediatricians always suggests waiting until they are 1 year old then go cold turkey, but I learned with my daughter when she was younger (now 9 years old) the hard way and we did the cold turkey thing! It didn't go very well with her and she didn't like it much! But as long as he is actively eatting other foods you should be good. Yogurt is also another thing you can try if you haven't already. They are wonderful and my son loves it! Shredded cheese is another fun way of eatting and has a source of milk in it as well :)

Good luck!

Hi J., this is N.. I'm a SAHM of 3 boys 12,7 & 2 yrs old. We went from breast milk to regular milk at 11mths old with our second son. He is fine as can be now. I am not a big advocate of cows milk; however, mine drank it until they were 2yrs old. Since cow's milk is so full of fat, I asked our doctor if they could have 2% instead of whole milk. He approved. Watch for ear infections and other signs of food allergies once you switch. Nothing too alarming but some kids can have more ear infections when drinking cow's milk.
Good Luck, N. =)

I switched at 11 monthes and my guy loved it. He liked the taste so much better. It is only a couple weeks and I didn't see the big deal. My guy also wouldn't take real milk out of the bottle so it took care of that problem too! I had an easy transition. Hope that helps!!

I switched my daughter at that age and she's done fine. I think you should do what you're comfortable with. I think if you do it gradually as many others have suggested, your little one will be just fine. 12 months is not some magic age that, poof, all of a sudden your baby is ok to have cow's milk. I know so many people who have started a little earlier, doing the half and half thing and gradually weaning them off formula. And just like when you try new foods at 4-6 months, always watch for allergic reactions. Hope this helps and good luck!

I would wait, but if you do switch, do as the other poster recommended and transition gradually - it can take a couple of weeks, so start it when he's 11 1/2 months and he'll be completely transitioned by 12 1/2 months.

I think its important to keep up with the formula until at least 12 months because while they look the same, formula has a ton of stuff in it that you don't find in milk. His little body and brain needs that stuff to keep on growing & developing correctly and four weeks isn't much to us, but it's a long time to little ones. While he's eating well and a variety for you, there are some things in formula that you're not going to find in regular food - like the DHA and ARA found in breast milk that most major formula brands have in it now.

Good luck!

Both my kids started drinking cows milk at about 10 months. We started slow, the first 2 weeks we mixed 6 oz formula with 2 oz milk, then the next 2 weeks we mixed half and half then the last 2 weeks we mixed 2 oz of formula and 6 oz of milk and on their 1 year b-days we gave them whole milk, strait up. I never had a problem with either of them, as long as you use whole milk so they can still get the vitamins and fat. Good luck!

When my daughter was born, she could not tolerate ANY type of formula, and believe me, I tried them all. After a "old wives tale" (my mother in law used for my husband who was also intolerant of formula), I had my daughter on milk early (10 or 11 months old). The same goes for each of my 4 grandkids. Each child is different, but try it and see. I would suggest using whole milk for them for awhile though, because the doctor did tell my daughter that the vitamins in whole milk plus the fat was good for babies' growth.

Hey J.,

If I were you, I'd wait 1 more month. If your pediatrician recommended waiting for 12 months, I think you'd be better off following that advice. It's just one more month...and then you won't have to worry if you've done the right thing or not.
J. W.


No, it's NOT too early! Go ahead a switch him!


I agree with previous posters who said that your son probably doesn't need 45 oz of formula a day. At that age my son was probably eating about 24 oz a day. The rest of his fluids was water. Try a bottle or 2 of water a day to replace some of the formula. And it probably won't hurt to give him some cow's milk too but if he isn't drinking a good amount of water already try to start getting him used to this. My son drank more water than milk after he was a year old anyway and it is good to get him used to drinking it. That should save you some money as well.

We started our son on milk at 11months. What we did was not just completly but started introducing to him. At first he wasn't to sure of the taste butstarted getting used to it so within the month I had him switched. First we mixed formula & milk, then after a week we started giving him 1 or 2 bottles a day. Now I still give him 1 bottle of formula a few times a week just because of the nutrients. Our pediatrician said it wouldn't hurt to get him started on milk, they all seem to have a different opinion. 1 told us to add rice to his bottle to get him to sleep through the night where as another said never do that.
There is no harm to start him on the milk, just try to give him formula at least a few times a week.

I started to transition my daughter to cow's milk at 11 months. She was on cow's milk only by 12 months but it does take them awhile to adjust to the taste so I would start now and wean you little one off the formula.

I started my oldest at 11 months on regular milk, but she ahd been drinking similac. If they drink similac wiht no problem they should be ready for regular milk. I don't know about other formulas

Why not substitute water for a formula once a day? Or give him half the amount of formula then give him water for the other half one time a day? It's good for your son to choose water as a drink and this will get him more accustomed to it. It will also save on the amount of formula you give him, which should get you through the next few weeks until he's one.


I did the same thing. You might find that if you go cold turkey to milk, he might not like the taste. I did 1/2 and 1/2, then went to 3/4 milk and 1/4 formula, then straight milk. The colplete conversion took about 3 weeks, make sure you are using whole milk though so he can get the fat and vitamins that he will need.

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