13 answers

Transitioning from Breastfeeding to Whole Milk

My daughter just turned 1 this month. We got the green light from her peds doctor to give her whole milk. The first day she drank it from a sippy cup and did pretty well. But now, when given her cup with milk she sips it, spits it out and pushes our hand away. We've tried to give it to her in a bottle, holding her etc and she's just not having it. She still wants to nurse, especially if she's fussy. I pretty sure she isn't getting that much from nursing since I only am able to nurse her when I get home from work. Do any of you Mommies have any tricks of getting through this transition period?

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my son also refused to drink cow's milk at first,I just kept offering it in a sippy cup and in 2-3 weeks he tarted drinking it and now drinks 1-2 cups/ day, so keep offering small amounts and she will learn and accept it

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I have a 15 month old who is still BFing. I started offering him whole milk a little before 12 months, and he is just at the point where he may drink a couple of ounces at a time. It also took my now 3 year old a while to warm up to cow's milk. My main advice is to just keep offering it, over and over and over. I've had fairly good luck with take and toss type straw cups that are easy to drink out of because there is no valve.

You could try offering lowfat milk instead of whole. I know that whole milk is recommended for little kids, but some babies seem to find lower fat milk an easier transition. If she's not drinking much of it anyway, it won't matter dietarily.

Milk is not an essential part of the diet, so it's OK if she isn't drinking much. If you are concerned about her getting dairy products, there are always yogurt and cheese.

-J. (another 41 year old mom :) )

A lot of kids take a little while to warm up to whole milk. My daughter drinks milk during the day at daycare and then breastfeeds at night and in the morning with me, She is 20 months.
You do not exclusively need to do one or the other. Just do what works for you, if she is eating other dairy products she is probably getting the nutrients she needs. Hang in there.

She is letting you know- no whole milk for her! I would keep pumping breast milk for a while and try again later. It's easier for you both not to get into a struggle over it. Breast milk isn't really necessary for her nutritionally at this point, but it keeps her content during the day because it's from mommy. That's why she wants to nurse when you come home, right? She won't want to nurse forever and she'll drink whole milk eventually. Try to go with the flow! Good luck!

I liked Cynthia C.'s response (the 60-yr.old mom with 34-yr-old daughter). I agree.

I just talked to my ped about this yesterday at my daughter's one year well check appt. As long as I'm b-feeding, I didn't understand why my daughter needs cow's milk. Well - she doesn't. She needs 16-18 oz of milk daily....OR a food source of calcium and a Vitamin D supplement (or just enough time in the sun). Therefore, I don't plan on introducing cow's milk any time soon as I haven't ever cared for it myself. I'd take your daughter's refusal of it as a sign. And, don't be so sure that she's not getting much while nursing just because you don't pump during the day. It's amazing to me how little we trust our bodies to provide for our children!


my son also refused to drink cow's milk at first,I just kept offering it in a sippy cup and in 2-3 weeks he tarted drinking it and now drinks 1-2 cups/ day, so keep offering small amounts and she will learn and accept it

Hi G.,
I would check with your ped and ask how much milk she is supposed to be getting. Ours was pretty flexible on this subject; saying a 15mo old can get as little as 4oz and up to 30+oz; and the avg is 24oz. People have told me our son was drinking way too much; but he was just average! It just depends on your baby. At 1, she should be eating a lot more solids and a much smaller amt of milk. It could be a combination of factors.... switching from brst to sippy, to bottle, to milk vs. brst milk, etc. Our son hasn't taken to the sippy, and we weaned off of brst fdg at 13mos. (b/c I'm pregnant). I'm taking one bottle away per week, and offering some milk in a sippy instead. Mostly he won't take it at all, but sometimes he'll notice it after 15-30min and take a couple oz. It's hard, esp if she won't eat other forms of calcium like our son. But it is just a stage-- I keep telling myself that every day when he refuses to eat so much that I prepare! Good luck and take it easy.... I'm sure she'll get it after awhile.

Hi G.,
I would keep offering it to her in a sippy cup and I'd get rid of the bottle. Makes it that much easier. She may not like milk and that is ok as long as she eats other things that have calcium in them...i.e. cheese,yogurt,cottage cheese, etc. I would not fill the cup up each time with milk because you might end up wasting it. If you don't want to nurse her anymore, I'd keep saying "all gone" every time she asks. (and soon it will be.....)You could also try using a straw and a cup. We were able to get our kids to drink out of straws by putting the straw in the cup, holding one end of the straw (making a suction) and then slowly releasing the milk (or water or whatever) in their mouth.
Good luck!
a.k.a. mom of many

I did half breast, half cow's milk for a while so my son could still smell my milk and it would be more familiar. Slowly I added more cow's milk until he got the hang of it. Eventually your daughter will want the fluids and will give in. If she never transitions to milk, just make sure she's getting enough calcium from yogurt, cheese, etc.

Hi G.,
My daughter was the same. Her ped. recommended not worrying about it! I made sure she ate 2-3 servings of dairy a day in the form of cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt, all of which she loved. She got plenty of calcium and I didn't try giving her milk again for a while. By the time she was 18 months old and weaned, she decided she enjoyed the cow's milk.
Don't worry about it. When she's ready, she'll drink it. If not, and if she doesn't like other dairy products, you could give her orange juice fortified with calcium.

try different types of milk. Breast milk is sweet and cow's milk is not. Try vanilla rice milk or mix a little breast milk with cow's milk (if you can pump still).

My daughter had constipation issues so the dr told us not to give her all 12oz of dairy in the milk form. We use to do 8oz of yogurt in a smoothie (with 1/2 cup fruit) every morning so we knew more then half of her dairy and fruit was covered in the morning. then we would give her milk at dinner. I would just keep offering her milk, but substitute with yogurt, cheese and the fruits and veggies that contain calcium.

Try half breast milk, or formula, with half regular milk.
You may also have to leave the room, if she see's you, she might want you instead. Some kids have trouble transitioning the flavor of regular milk.
W. M.

I can tell you what worked for me. I slowly transitioned my daughter from breast milk to whole milk a little at a time.I would put both breast milk and whole milk in the cup. As each week passed I cut back on the amount of breast milk in the cup.

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