43 answers

Giving a Baby Whole Milk Before 1 Year

I've been doing some research on this topic and was wondering if anyone else heard of this?

I read that you can start to introduce whole milk once your baby turned 10 months old. You can start by putting a little in his cereal in the morning and then if no allergic reaction give him some in a cup when he is thirsty. Of course you dont stop formula at all, just get them used to the taste of whole milk.

I have also read that you can add some whole milk into a formula bottle at 10 months then at 11 months start with more whole milk and less formula then by 1 year completely go to whole milk.

Has anyone heard of this? Or has anyone done this? What were the side effects?

What can I do next?

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Hi J.!
I have heard of this and I do agree with it personally. I feel it gets the little ones stomachs used to it at a gradual pace instead of all of a sudden at 1 year going from formula to milk. That would be tough I think!

Also, I see that you are a stay at home mom. I was wondering if you were interested in starting an at home business? I work from home and want to help other moms that are interested do the same! Visit my website at www.workingathomemomma.com if you are and request more info and I will call you!

Take care!

My daughter had an allery to formula and the Whole milk to to fatty so I gave her Goats Milk until she was 18 Months it less harder on the tummy. That was given to me by her doctor.

I gave my daughter whole milk at 11 months just to get her started and it went great and helped her make the transition to milk from a cup (as opposed to breast-feeding.) Cow's milk is considered nutritionally inadequate so babies still need breast milk or formula until one year but I wouldn't worry about adding a little bit at 10 months.

(My mom said I was drinking cow's milk at 3 months or something ridiculous like that. I'm smart and in good health. :-))

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Neither of my boys had cows milk until they were closer to 18 months old. THey had breastmilk only before that. no need to rush.... cows milk isn't necessary.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J., The concern with allergies and whole milk is not that they would have an immediate reaction if given before 12 months but there is an increased risk for allergies, diabetes and other conditions later in childhood or into the teen years. So there may be no intial reaction but pave the way for future problems.
I have heard of people doing this. 12 months is not a magical age for the baby's system to be able to handle cow's milk but there is a reason they recommend to wait.
A reputable resource is www.mercola.com

It's an honest question! I personally have waited with my kids past the one year point. My son drinks a small amount of organic milk and my daughter drinks goat's milk because it's easier to digest than cow's milk. My son is 5 and grossed out by the thought of goat's milk. My daughter loves it!
Good luck in your research and congratulations on your growing family!

I've actually read that the reason they tell us to wait until one year for milk is not because of milk allergies, it's so we don't replace breastmilk or formula with whole milk before they're ready. If you think about it, it makes sense. I imagine you've given your child cheese and yogurt (or the like) before, and there's nothing to say that's not okay before one year. If you've given your child these things with no reaction, you'll know there's no allergies or intolerance to milk. Either way, ask your doctor in order to feel really safe and okay with it. My doc gave me the go ahead around 11 months, and I still breastfed until 12 months. The doc will know what's best for your baby, based on how he's grown and where he is on the charts.

My children are grown, but, all three of them were on whole milk at 2 months. "Back then" we got liquid vitamins from the doctor to put into the milk.

You need to make sure they are getting the vitamins they need and if you live in the country, floride. That was the way it was back then. Formula includes all of that, right?

I would consult a nutritionist or doctor and listen to what they have to say about this.

Hi, My 10 month old would simply not take formula and I wasn't up to pumping. As I cut down her daily breast feeds, I gave her organic whole milk in place. Our doctor said as long as she wasn't reacting to it in any way with intestinal discomfort/ change in stools, then it was fine. She is doing great with it- we tried a little at a time- she is still nursing at night and really likes milk. She never took a bottle, went straight to a sippy cup.

When my daughter was 6 1/2 months old I became pregnant again. My OB doctor wanted me to start to wean her when she was about 8 months old because I was pregnant (on 20/20 hindsight I would have just continued to nurse, the pediatrian said I would not have to have weaned, past history)
anyway I tried to start substituting with formula and she refused everything I tried. My pediatrian who was an excellant doctor said she was very healthy and to just start her on milk as I worked on weaning her from breast milk. This she excepted and by about 10 months or so she was doing great. She is now 13, and very healthy.

Our pedi told us last Friday to start giving my 9 month old daughter whole milk and cheeses. I didn't think you could before a year, but she said it's a good thing to start doing now. So far my daughter is doing fine with it...she doesn't really like the milk all that much, but she hasn't had any side effects.

Both my present husband and I started our children out on whole milk by the age of 6 months, as did most of the people we know. My daughter has now started giving her 10-month-old whole milk at least once a day and when I daycare she receives a little whole milk in a glass or sippy cup for lunch. None of these children have had any problems. I told one woman this and got a return answer to totally rip me a new one. The funny part of it is, everyone I have told about the episode has made the statement that she does not know what she is talking about and that she apparently does not talk to her children's doctor. This has come from young couples also. Good luck with your little one.

I gave my daughter whole milk at 11 months just to get her started and it went great and helped her make the transition to milk from a cup (as opposed to breast-feeding.) Cow's milk is considered nutritionally inadequate so babies still need breast milk or formula until one year but I wouldn't worry about adding a little bit at 10 months.

(My mom said I was drinking cow's milk at 3 months or something ridiculous like that. I'm smart and in good health. :-))

I started giving my kids 2 percent milk at that age and they seemed to digest it well with no effects at all and who are the doctors to tell you when you can put them on this and that when you are the ones who have to get up in the middle of the night to feed them i started my kids on cereal at that age also they were well satisfied and they always slept through the night that is my opinion

I have heard of this as well. It is best to introduce this earlier to them rather than taking it all at once when they turn 1. Some even go as far as introducing it when they are 2 months old, kinda early but hey, they had no complaints from it, they just gave them vitamins along with their milk.

I never put milk in a bottle. I always gave my kids a sippy cup with milk in it during meal times. I started this around the time they were 8 months. Since I never put the milk in a bottle, two of my kids gave up the bottle at 10 months because they preferred the taste of the whole milk and they somehow figured out they would only get it in a sippy cup. My kids didn't suffer healthwise by stopping the formula before they were a year.

I wouldn't suggest it....the babies tummy isn't ready until they are closer to 1 yr to digest cow's milk.

I also ended up allergic to cow's milk when I was young and that totally sucked! If you have ANY allergic tendencies in your or your husband's family, I strongly suggest not to introduce whole milk quite yet. You've waited this long, whats a few more weeks?

I have heard that if you give a baby milk before they are one it can increase their chance of allergic reaction. Also, their little digestive system is not ready for that and could cause some major discomfort for the baby.

Both our boys were big and strong by 10 months, so our pediatrician told us we could begin to gradually introduce whole milk, and we didn't have any problems. We began by mixing in 1-2 oz w/ their bottles and every week or so we increased by an ounce or two. Both did fine with it. Our ped. said if they began to have more spit up than normal just to hold off for a week or two and start the process again, but that wasn't necessary. I introduced the boys to yogurt around 7-8 months as well, and they loved it!

Hi J.!
I have heard of this and I do agree with it personally. I feel it gets the little ones stomachs used to it at a gradual pace instead of all of a sudden at 1 year going from formula to milk. That would be tough I think!

Also, I see that you are a stay at home mom. I was wondering if you were interested in starting an at home business? I work from home and want to help other moms that are interested do the same! Visit my website at www.workingathomemomma.com if you are and request more info and I will call you!

Take care!

We opted to switch to whole milk about 1 month early because my DD was refusing to breastfeed anymore. We went to the Dr. for her 12 month apt early and the Doc checked the iron in her blood for a specific level. Once that came back good, she was all clear for the transition to milk, and she took to it well.

Go for it, my only suggestion would be to water it down some, as they do tend to get constipated when you switch. Or try 2% to start (since it's already watered down) Switch to whole. Formula hasn't been around forever I give my 9mth old milk rather than juice, she's breastfed and won't take formula and she takes vitamins with flouride, because we don't have it in our water.

I started 2% at 11-12 months. I never used whole milk.

certianly give your baby whole milk before a year. whole milk is great for you're babies brain development. use it in his cereal and give it to him in a bottle. don't use any other milk than whole. the baby needs the fat content that's in it. i guess the only drawback would be if he's lactose intolerant. go for it

Babies change a lot in 2 months. The reason to wait until the child is at least one-years-old before starting cow's milk is because of the following:

Cow's Milk will reduce the bodies ability to absorb iron. This isn't something that you will be able to see visually. The end result is an anemic toddler. Iron deficiency in babies/toddlers can harm brain and nerve development.

Milk allergy. The one-year-mark is to allow your child to develop their immune system enough to not cause a serious allergic reaction.

Dr. Sears writes:
The protein in cow's milk is what provokes the allergies. Because milk is a species-specific protein, cow's milk is suited to bovine intestines. Exposure of human intestines to bovine protein may cause irritation and damage to the intestinal lining, allowing these allergenic proteins to be absorbed into the circulatory system. The immune system recognizes these proteins as foreign and attacks them, causing the usual allergy symptoms of wheezing, runny nose, or a red, rough, sandpaper-like rash, especially on the cheeks. Milk allergies are often the underlying cause of repeated colds and ear infections, due to fluid building up in the respiratory passages, sinuses, and eustachian tubes of the ears. Milk allergy has been implicated in subtle behavioral changes, such as irritability and nightwaking. Research has even shown that the allergic proteins in milk (beta lactalglobulin) can pass through a breastfeeding mother's milk into her baby and cause some babies to react with colicky symptoms. The colic- cow's milk connection should be suspected as a possible cause of fussy behavior in an otherwise, normal breastfed baby. The allergic reaction between the milk protein and the intestinal lining can cause minute gastrointestinal bleeding.

My pediatrician has let me introduce milk after 9 months with both my children. I guess since there's no family history of milk allergies and I brestfed both (they had no reaction when I had milk, through the breast milk) she thought it was perfectly fine to give some in a sippy cup and little ammounts in food like cereal etc. And of course my generation of babies were introduced to milk a lot earlier and I think we turned out OK, my husband was given milk at 4 or 5 months and he has NO food allergies at all. I think it is fine, but for peace of mind you could just make sure by asking your pediatrician.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting till a year because most kids can handle it by that age. Many kids can handle whole milk prior to the first birthday but you never know if your kid is one of those.

If you are doing a very small amount mixed with food, it is probably fine. The main thing is not replacing breastmilk/formula. Milk at a young age could cause food allergies and annemia (low iron).

I used the method of 3/4 formula to 1/4 milk and gradually switched it to 1/4 formula nd 3/4 milk eventually to 100% milk. You will find if they react to it then you just back off. My daughter was totally off formula by 11 months and was on whole for the next year. My son took longer. He had roto virus at 4 months and they put him on a lactose free formula so it was a little bit longer before we could switch him. Anyway, my daughter turned out just fine!! I would just do it slowly! Good Luck!

I had my first son on whole milk at the end of 9 months (doctor approved) because he refused to take a bottle or formula anymore. I nursed him until he was 6 months and he took a bottle of formula fine after that, but around 8 months he would take less and less each time, coming to the point where he would only drink a couple ounces at a time. But, this boy loved to eat. He wanted table food, not baby food, the real deal. There were no weight issues since he was eating so much and the doc said go ahead and take him off the formula and give him while milk. I did it the same way I weened him from nursing. 3/4 formula, 1/4 whole milk for a week, then 50/50 for a week, 3/4 milk and 1/4 formula for a week, and then all milk. He loved the milk and is still a really good milk drinker. Some kids are ready earlier than ohters, and mine happened to be. My daughter wasn't like this at all, but my first boy has thrived from it. As far as side effects go, there weren't any. He loved his milk and there were no stomach issues or anything like that. Good luck.

milk is a complicated topic, just like starting solids... heres my big question: whats the hurry?

with the price of milk these days, why hurry to get your kid on milk? and if you want to know the truth, milk is NOT as good for us as the milk industry would have us believe.

think of it this way. the inuit has the highest calcium intake in the world, mostly from animal sources. however, they have the hightest rate of osteoperosis in the world. goes to show you that the amount of calcium has nothing to do with helping stop osteoperosis.

i may sound like some vegetarian freak, but im not, i still drink milk and i still eat meat now and then. what im telling you is more about awareness and slightly changing eating habits than becoming a vegetarian.

specifically animal proteins turn into an acid in our bodies. that acid eats away at our bones and makes us in general more unhealthy. comparing vegans and vegetarians and those of us who eat a "normal" american diet, the vegans and vegetarians have a VERY VERY SMALL chance of diseases like osteoperosis, diabetes, heart disease, constipations, etc.... the list goes on.

what i would recommend, is not worrying about giving your child any kind of milk until after one year of age, and only giving it to him as milk in a cup, not a bottle. its going to take some getting used to. however, since your son wont know the difference, i highly recommend almond milk, or soy milk if you want. my son likes either of these milks, and hates rice milk, but that is an option as well.

they may seem expensive, but theres no reason to drink a whole lot of milk, go for more water, and when i give my son juice, i give him it halved with water. lasts longer that way. the point is to drop the dependence on milk.

however, at the same time, they do need the fats between 1-2 for brain development, make sure he gets fats from other foods, healthy foods not bad fats LOL. my son breastfed until 20 months, and as long as he was nursing, he didnt need whole milk at all. you could check the soy almond or rice milks to see what their fat level is.
it would be nice if your doctor was open to this type of diet, but not every doctor is. think of it, if everyone knew how bad meats and dairy were for us, and doctors actually taught us properly, the respective industries would go broke! so its all about money.

i encourage you to check out a study done on diet, the china study. i believe the website is www.thechinastudy.com

another source i trust is www.askdrsears.com

good luck. remember, no matter what advice you are given by anyone; doctors, family, friends, this website, you do whats best for you and your family. we all know that organic may be better for us, but who can afford it right!?! so do whats best for you.

Hi J.. I don't know what the "experts" have to say on this topic, but I think you will be pleased to hear my experience: I breastfed my son until he was 10 months old. I did not supplement with formula except to make his cereal. He was almost 10 pounds when he was born and was walking proficently by 9 months. I would have breastfed longer, but it was getting to the point where he would walk over and lift up my shirt to eat! Anyway, after being a textbook breastfeeder for 10 months, he was very receptive to a sippy cup. The boy has never even held a bottle! We went straight to whole milk in a sippy at about 10 and a half months and switched, of course, to skim when he was older. We never added it to formula or anything else. In my experience, most babies like the taste of whole milk and don't need to get used to the taste...it's sweeter, I think. I am happy to report that there was never a single side effect and he is now a strapping 8 year old young man! The tallest in his class and has always been very healthy...no allergies, 2 ear infections in the entire 8 years and he is a strong kid! There was never a doubt in my mind that this is how we should do things. It seemed to happen naturally and I was simply following my instinct...more powerful than any "how to book" in my opinion. When we're talking only a couple months- at the end of the 1st year- if you think he's ready....he's ready! Best of luck!


When my sibilings and I were babys 30 years ago, we were on whole milk by the time we were 4 and 5 months old and turned out just fine. I know that medical science has come a long way with regard to proper nutrients, allergies etc, but I would agree that it is fine to introduce cows milk to your baby any time now.

Most products containing milk made for babies (yo baby yogurt, mac/cheese processed baby food, etc.) derive their milk products from cows milk, so the introduction at this age is natural even if unintentional.

I actually made a complete switch to cows milk by 11 months because my daughter was eating such a good variety of foods (not a picky eater at that time) and was getting a great amount of her nutrients from the food that I thought the added expense and content of formula was not as necessary.

I think that introducing dairy products in the form of yogurt, string cheese, cottage cheese, whole milk etc is just fine at this age.

Good luck with your decision!

Yes, i've heard this advise & used it! It worked! I have a 2 year old, I was asked to mix it in with formula, gradually increase the whole milk, and he handled it very well! He loved the taste of whole milk by the time he was 11 months and refused his formula, he gagged on it! The taste! :D Also my 1 year old couldn't stand the taste of formula too, once he got a taste of his brother's sippy cup! So I guess for me it went quite well, no allergic reactions of any sort & they both love milk! :D Good Luck!

Hey, J.! As many others have stated, the reasons for waiting to introduce whole milk are more complex than just allergies, etc. Your child's immune system is still developing and introducing whole milk before a year can cause a higher incidence of allergies, diabetes, etc. My mother introduced whole milk to my siblings and I around 9-10 months. Three of us have type I diabetes. I don't think it's solely because of the milk, but I do know there is a connection between the two. I think in this case, you're better safe than sorry. It's only a couple more months until that first birthday and then you can gradually start introducing milk.


I did daycare for 5 years and almost ALL my parents started their babies before they turned 1. Some were even completely off formula and only on milk by 11 months. None ever experienced a reaction. The babies seemed to prefer regular milk to formula once they got used to it.

For my daughter, she was drinking formula and regular milk at around 10 1/2 months and was off formula completely by 11 1/2 months. My son was and still is only breastfed (for milk) and refuses any milk (regular or breast) out of a cup. He will only drink water from a cup. He is 14 months old.

Hope this helps. Good luck!!!

I was on 2% milk and vitamins when I was 2 months old...I'm 28 now and have no food allergies at all :) Its amazing how we all survived before the internet and information overload isn't it? My mom always laughs at me when I'm questioning things like this (i.e. starting solids) for my 6 month old.

We did it when we started weaning from breastmilk, and there were no side effects. Your child should be fine unless he has a milk or dairy allergy.

Your pediatrician can help you decide if your child is ready. If you are concerned about nutrition, you can use liquid vitamin drops to ensure he's getting all the vitamins and iron he needs in safe amounts for his age and size.

You might want to check out these websites:

(This is just another site for FYI: http://www.safeminds.org/mercury/ )

The above are just two of MANY sites with this information. One option is to find products that are hormone-free.
Best wishes!

Yes, It has been common in the past to give a baby some whole milk before they turn one year. Any of those ways work-and it is good to find out how little systems will tolerate milk before they have to drink it. Many parents do half and half in bottles or cups before the first birthday. Some do one bottle or cup formula, one bottle or cup milk and alternate that way. Some put milk in the cup and formula in the bottle. There are several ways to transition. Usually if babies are eating table food, they can tolerate the milk well.

I learned the hard way and gave my daughter whole milk because I ran out of formula and it was the most disgusting puke I've ever had to clean up and I will never forget the smell or how much discomfort my baby was in. She was roughly 10mos.

I then learned to just add a bit of whole milk into her formula and every few days or so add a little more until her bottle was all whole milk and she was sucessfully switched over by 11.5-12mos. or so.

J. - First you are the mom, you need to decide what you feel is best for you child. My doctor is a little relaxed compared to some on the milk issue, she let me start giving milk to my infants at 9 months vs alot of doc's prefer you wait until a year. Whole milk is better than 2% or 1% as infants need the extra fat in whole milk until they are about 2 yrs old.

With all my kids, I switched them over from formula/breast milk over the course of a week or so. I first started with 1/2 formula (or breast milk) and 1/2 whole milk for a few days. Then when the formula (frozen breast milk) was all gone, we were on milk. I had issues with my 2nd son, but that was more of a lactose issue. He was on lactose free formula and then lacotse free milk. I tried to switch him to 'regular' milk too fast and he had constipation/gas pains. Waited a month (about 13 months old) and tried VERY slowly 1 oz 'regular' milk to 7 oz lactose free milk. Did that for 2-3 days then slowly increased the amount of 'regular' milk.

Good Luck!
P. G, Shakopee
mother to 3
Gestational Surrogate due Jan 09!

I love this question! I'm debating the same thing... my daugther turns 1 on the 12th :) My doctor said it was up to us when to introduce cow's milk. My wonderful husband, being the "cheap" man he is, has insisted on a couple ounces in a sippy cup (mixed with 4oz of formula/breastmilk) for each meal. She loves it! I haven't been brave enough to try any more than that per cup...I'll wait for the doctor to tell me to go ahead.
I think slowly introducing milk at his age is just fine! (and a little cheaper :D) Congrats on the new baby :)

When my 1st son was 10 mo old i started weaning him to whole milk by first replacing 1 oz of his formula with the milk for a week then two oz for a week etc and he tolerated this well. I continued to do this until he was drinking all whole milk and he did great. Hope that helps ya. Of course i had the ok from his doc to do this to be sure his iron and wts were ok first. But he was a normal healthy little boy and did great with the switch. Good luck and congrats on the 2nd on the way! C.

My daughter had an allery to formula and the Whole milk to to fatty so I gave her Goats Milk until she was 18 Months it less harder on the tummy. That was given to me by her doctor.


With my first I waited until after her birthday. I was one of those first time moms who took all the doctor's advice a little too seriously and kind of thought she would go through this magical transformation to be able to take milk at one year and not a day sooner.

With the next three, I introduced whole milk somewhere between 10 1/2-11 1/2 months. They all did great with no side effects. But all of my kids had been eating dairy products since age 9 months with no allergy issues, so I just started off slow with the milk and their wasn't a problem.

Doctors give that 1 year mark because there has to be a line somewhere. If they say 1 year or a little before, there will be moms out there who interpret that to mean 6 months old, and then there will be digestive problems and possible allergies for the baby.

If your son has had a couple of months of dairy product exposure with no effects, you could start with the milk the way you described. Watch him closely and he will be fine.

Good luck,

I started my kids out around 9-10 months. I didn't give it to them over formula at first, but a cup with lunch or something. One child I did start milk at 9 months, though. He was having a ton of trouble with formula while traveling, and we experimented. Turned out to be the water while traveling. At any rate, he is fine, and most kids will be.
I had gut feelings with my kids. Some kids I started things early, and others I just "knew" not to. Later I found some issues that showed my dd would likely have had food allergies if I had not been as careful with her. Trust your gut. If you feel comfortable with it, give it a try, if you feel iffy, wait.

I think it's like feeding cats food. You are not to change brands of food cold turkey as it will cause stomach upset and they tend to huck up. You gradually change over food.

I gradually gave our child whole milk at around 11 months or so and like a week before a year old she was on whole milk.

I was told that they can switch to 2% at two years old and she was been gradually switching for a few months and has been on 2% since 3-4 months before her second birthday.

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