30 answers

Weaning from Breastmilk to Cow's Milk

I am starting to wean my 13 month old of her day-time nursings. I have been successful with the morning feeding, but not the afternoon. My doctor told me to give her whole cow's milk as a substitute, but each time I try and give it to her she gags and spits it out. has anyone else experienced this? What can I do to get her to like milk?

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It has been said that humans are the only species to continue to drink milk after the mother is finished breast feeding. Milk isn't supposed to be that good for us. Google this subject, maybe having breast milk avail is a better idea. I breast fed for 17 months with both of my boys while working at my business full time. they are hardley ever sick and when they were ready to stop breast feeding they did without any difficulty and went straight to solid foods. My oldest gagged on anything milk related when he was an infant. I was told by my doctor to give him First Start by Carnation (It has been a while that might be the wrong name), he immediately gagged and threw it up, I never tried again. L.

Try mixing it with expressed breast milk - start with mostly breast milk that she likes the taste of and start mixing more and more cow's milk in each successive feeding. It worked for my boys. Plus it used up some of the extra milk I had in storage in the freezer.

My daughter hated cows milk for a while. (no allergies) my friend suggested vanilla soy milk. She loved it and drank it for a couple months before getting used to cows milk a little at a time. She loves milk now and is almost 5.

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I wouldn't start something like quik, it's just not good for you. NEVER start a habit you don't wish to continue, it's too hard to break it later. I have three kids, none of whom drink milk and all are healthy and fine. Other dairy products will give them the fat, they don't need milk. Does it make sense that we need baby cow milk to survive? Every other creature never has milk again after weaning. Rice Dream vanilla tastes VERY similar to breast milk. It is low in fat, so you can't count on the beneficial fat you might be looking for, but if you just want her to drink fluids, it tastes just the same, quite amazing! Good Luck

I put chocolate or strawberry quik in the milk to help them start, just like a small teaspoon.

JMHO, but why give her cows milk? there are good healthy juices, and water, and food. My younger daughters learned to do without nursing till I got home, they were simply not offered anything but food, and cup of juice or water. They did not even get puddings with cows milk until well after 2yo (they did get yogurt and cheese on occasion). I M not millitant nurser, but my first weaned early, got cows milk based formula, came out fine eventualy, but she had MANY many ear and sinus infections until she was 6 or so. My second nursed for almost 3 years, but the last year or so she mostly only nursed at night or when she was sick. My youngest has some major milk fat sensitivity, and digestive problems now, they did not show up until she was 8 or 9.
Sorry for the long history, but they survived ok without Milk at such a young age. There are to many concerns about it being introduced to kids SO young

E.

Hi J.,
My daughter wasn't thrilled with the switch either, so I would pump and mix the milks, at first 4 oz. breat milk and 2 oz cow's milk and every week I would up the mix. She drinks the cow's milk now but still prefers it warm, we're currently working on that! Good luck!

It has been said that humans are the only species to continue to drink milk after the mother is finished breast feeding. Milk isn't supposed to be that good for us. Google this subject, maybe having breast milk avail is a better idea. I breast fed for 17 months with both of my boys while working at my business full time. they are hardley ever sick and when they were ready to stop breast feeding they did without any difficulty and went straight to solid foods. My oldest gagged on anything milk related when he was an infant. I was told by my doctor to give him First Start by Carnation (It has been a while that might be the wrong name), he immediately gagged and threw it up, I never tried again. L.

My daughter hated cows milk for a while. (no allergies) my friend suggested vanilla soy milk. She loved it and drank it for a couple months before getting used to cows milk a little at a time. She loves milk now and is almost 5.

I found this link that covered a lot of your concerns:

http://www.ucsfhealth.org/childrens/edu/bottleWeaning.html

However, with my own children, both were lactose intolerant when milk was introduced into their diets. So I gave them fortified soy milk and the habit stuck. They both enjoy the soy as do I AND they get more protein than cow's milk could give them. They do now eat yogurt and cheese with little issue, but have to ingest lactaid supplements when they eat ice cream. Not a real big deal though.

Also, I would NEVER add a flavored mix to milk. Milk already has natural sugars in it, all you would be adding is hollow calories and more sugar, sugar, sugar, thus major cavities down the road. Why start your daughter on a habit of getting used to drinking sweet drinks? I wouldn't want to start a habit that I would have to break later on. Just a thought.

Good luck!

She may not tolerate dairy well. try soy milk, it is fortified also.

I have a 13 month old that drinks cows milk only when she is at daycare, she refuses it at home....She will only drink breast milk or water at home. I would ask the doctor at her 15 month visit ( I plan to as well) about a vitamin D supplement until she fully accepts the cow milk both at home and daycare. Her gagging and spitting it out is probably "just her age" type of thing. My daughter spits everything out that isnt water, grapes, bananas and pasta. Needless to say the floor around her high chair can get gross (ha ha).

there's no comparison from yummy breastmilk to blah cows milk. The only thing I can suggest is to warm it and cuddle her while encouraging her to drink it.

My son did the same thing - gagging, spitting it out - only we were going from formula to milk at that point. We mixed the two, gradually increasing the milk. We increased an ounce a day. We also made sure the milk was warmer than refrigerator temp. He did the same thing when he transitioned from breast milk to formula at seven months. It worked both times.

Hi my daughter is a little over a year. She never took formula or a bottle at all and cow's milk has been the same. She's healthy, eats cheese, yogurt (esp. the drinkable kind) and drinks lots of water. Actually, she eats everything (esp. if I am eating it - this includes veggies, a real plus). I wouldn't worry to much about it. If your baby gets a varied diet with calcium from other sources and fruits and veggies, she doesn't need milk.
C.

Try mixing it with expressed breast milk - start with mostly breast milk that she likes the taste of and start mixing more and more cow's milk in each successive feeding. It worked for my boys. Plus it used up some of the extra milk I had in storage in the freezer.

You can try other things, rice milk vanilla flavored was a favorite of my son. Cows milk doesn't agree with everyone, taste and reaction in the body, people don't ever think about that, but it isn't a necessary thing to drink. Rice or soy milk are better, and your child might like those better....

what about soy milk? rice milk?

Do you pump? If so, I'd give her a cup of 75% breastmilk and 25% cow's milk, and slowly increase the amount of cow's milk. The taste is quite different and generally takes some getting used to.

B.

Hi, J.,

I had trouble (and still do) getting my son to drink cow's milk after breastfeeding him a long time. I ended up mixing a little bit of drinkable yogurt in with the milk. I use maybe an 1/8 of a cup mixed with 3/4 of a cup of milk. That's the only way my almost-2-year-old will drink it! I use the Stonyfield Farms brand (not the light) as it is organic and does not have any artificial sweeteners.

Good luck!
B.

PS I see some suggestions on soy milk - be careful of that as your child can develop allergies to soy, too. As for weaning, I nursed my son (a couple of times a day) until he was 21 months. So, you can take your time, but keep in mind that breastmilk composition does change with time and doesn't keep up with the nutritional requirements that other foods can provide. Likewise with the physiological benefits - those taper off too after about a year I understand.

Try goat's milk first, and then transition to cow's milk later. Apparently goat's milk is the closest thing to human milk, and can be easier to digest for a child transitioning from breast milk. I gave it to my son for about six months before I gave him cows milk and it went really well. You can buy it at most health food stores and some grocery stores. Hope this helps! God luck.

i weaned my son around the same age, switching him to cows milk at that time. he refused it too and most advice i found online said to just keep offering it. there was more than one mom who said it could take up to 6 weeks for him to take it and i was amazed that right at 6 weeks he finally came around and started to love it! i stressed he wasn't getting the nutrition he needed in the mean time but all was fine. good luck!

I'll probably sound like a fanatic to you but here goes anyway. There is an organization called the dairy lobby. They lobby congress by promoting dairy and saying that it is "healthy." It is healthy for cows, not humans. Cow's milk is perfect for baby cows, not people. Humans and all other mammals wean from milk. It isn't natural to continue to drink milk past early childhood. No other mammal does it. Not all human cultures use dairy. Those that don't consume dairy get along fine without it. My family now gets along fine without it too. You can look online for alternative calcium sources such as leafy green vegetables. It's hard to convince the medical professions because they have it engrained into their minds that dairy is healthy - thanks to the lobbyists.

Personally, I was unable to digest the cow's milk fat in the formula I was originally given as an infant. I would spit it back up. I was then given a different formula without the fat. Growing up I drank skim milk. Eventually I drank whole milk. As an adult, my physician suggested that I needed to put some weight on. He suggested I drink milkshakes. I did that for a while but it gave me a stomach ache. I gave that up. Many years later, when I was pregnant with my first son, I had lost my taste for whole milk. I tried to drink it by mixing Ovaltine into it to make it taste better because I thought I was doing the right thing by drinking milk to build bones for my baby. I finally gave up drinking it completely when I learned about the Paleo Diet - how humans originally ate. (I think I heard that in native cultures children wean from their mother at about age four.) I now feel a LOT better. Not all better, but a lot better. I'd like to add, if milk is so good for building bones, then why are there so many people who drink milk and have brittle bones?

strawberry quick, just enough to sweeten it. worked for both my girls.... breast milk is very sweet, i dont blame the babies for not wanting it. as she gets used to regular milk, slowly cut back on the sweetener until she gets used to the regular milk. good luck!

Is it really necessary for you to wean her? There are so many medical benefits for both you and your daughter if you continue your nursing relationship. You might want to check out this link:

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/index.html

Either way, I wish you the best of luck!

Hi J.,

I had the same problem weening my 13 month old son onto cow's milk. I ended up mixing the whole milk w/ vanilla soymilk (half & half). He loved it! Dont use the unrefrigerated cartons. The ones I've tried are pretty gross. Stop & Shop's Nature's Promise has a good vanilla soymilk. Silk's "Very" Vanilla is another good one. Tastes like a vanilla milkshake. Hope your little one likes it!

Good Luck!

M.

I had similar problems with my daughter whom ended up nursing for 18 months. My son is now 13 months and I am getting ready to start weaning. Last time around I started making smoothies so the pure taste of milk was hidden and my daughter was getting a few servings of fruit. Also, tried goat's milk which worked a little. Mostly, I just kept on pushing dairy in the form of yogurt and cheese and gave my daughter mostly water or very diluted juice. The Dr. was fine because really she was getting plenty of calcium which is the real reason for switching to cow's milk. Hope this was helpful! N.

pump and try mixing half breast and half cows milk, or a ratio that will work and slowly change the ratio to more and more cow's milk

You said she is taking the cow's milk in the morning, but not the afternoon, so she already has the flavor. It sounds more like a comfort that she just does not want to give up. Have you tried mixing the milks? Start with the afternoon feeding being breast milk in a bottle or sippy cup, rather than nursing. It may have to be someone other than you if she still refuses. Then mix a little cow's milk in the bottle or cup and gradually make it more and more cows milk.

Breastmilk doesn't taste at all like cow's milk, but if you warm it up & thin the cow's milk with a little water & honey, it's better. My kids still love to drink that mixture, and they're 8 & 11.

Cow's milk is to rough on their systems. I highly suggest goat's milk instead. It is extremely good for the digestion system and is the closet thing to breast milk. If you need a farm near you, I can locate one for you OR you can buy powdered from Amazon.com. It is the cheapest place to buy it other then a goat farm. If you need more information on it, just contact me.

My daughter has NEVER liked cow's milk plain, and she is now 4 1/2. I bought the YoBaby organic whole milk drinkable yogurt (comes in Peach and Banana). As long as she has had peaches and/or bananas without allergy, you can try what I did. I would mix a bit of the drinkable yogurt with whole milk in a sippy cup and give that to her. She took to it right away, and in fact still drinks it daily. I have expanded now to YoKids, and now I mix it with 2% milk, but in the beginning that was how I got her to drink the milk. It doesn't take much yogurt, and you'll see the flavor is very strong, but it might work for yours. You can get it at Market Basket and Whole Foods--sometimes Shaws has it, depends where you go. Good luck.

My son never started to drink milk after breast feeding for 18 mos. He is 23 mos now. I spoke to my pediatritian and she is fine with it since he eats a healthy diet. Does your daughter eat other dairy products? I make our oatmeal every morning with milk instead of water, he gets a yogurt every night before bed and he is a big cheese fan. Just try to find ways to integrate dairy in diet. :)

Good luck!

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