Off the Formula???

Updated on January 13, 2008
L.M. asks from Norfolk, VA
34 answers

I have an 11-month old who is already past his stage 3 baby food and is onto eatng what we eat, (with some exceptions). He is almost completely off the bottle and onto the sippy cup but I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to when I can take him off formula. He does not often get juice and when he does its diluted. He will give him a sippy cup with just water and he drinks it just like it were the formula. I do put a bottle of just water in his crib at night in case he wakes up and hes thirsty or if he wakes up before us (as he so often does) and every morning I wake up and the bottle is empty. I just don't know if its beneficial for him to be taken off of the formula completely. I would like to start him on some 2% milk soon also. Any suggestions???

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A.C.

answers from Norfolk on

I would wait until he is a year old to stop formula, and then I would switch him to whole milk, not 2%, until he is two or older.

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E.B.

answers from Dover on

My daughter (who is now almost two) was taken off the formula at 12 months of age. Her pediatrician recommended that to me and basically throughout her life, I have done everything he has recommended (being I am a first time mother, myself) and everything has worked out fine for her. So, at twelve months of age should be sufficient enough to be taken off the bottle. I also raised the question to him about my daughter drinking the same milk we do (which was 2%) because I didn't see buying two different kinds of milk. He said that 2% milk does not have the sufficient amount of fat that a child needs to grow and develop and so he said whole milk is the best thing for my daughter and so, we just buy a little jug of whole milk when we need to for her and she loves it. I hope this helps you out a bit and good luck with everything.

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H.D.

answers from Washington DC on

Most doctors and books say to wait until one year before introducing cow milk. They also strongly suggest starting with whole milk until at least 2 years of age, because they need that extra fat for brain development. Hope this helps.

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J.M.

answers from Washington DC on

Lauren,
Babies need to drink breast milk or formula until they are a year old. Breast feeding can continue for longer, but there is no need to continue with formula. "Follow-on milks" and other supplemented processed drinks marketed for children are neither necessary nor desirable for children with a healthy digestive system.
It is important, however, to maintain a reasonably HIGH fat diet for children until the age of at least three years. Small children's brains are growing fast during this period and the brain is made largely of fat. Low fat and high fiber diets are good for us adults with our cellulite and hardening arteries, but kids need good quality fats in their diet. I'm not talking here about filling the little guy with donuts, but you should move your baby onto WHOLE MILK, not 2%. Here in the USA, this is also fortified with some useful vitamins. Similarly you should look for regular (i.e. not reduced-fat) butter, cheese and yogurt for him. Yo-baby yogurts are great, and you can add a little full-fat cream cheese or butter to his mashed potatoes.
A great author I always recommend to Moms with weaning queries is Annabel Karmel, she has written a ton of books about feeding babies and toddlers. My whole family loved her recipes and my four year olds are now good eaters and love vegetables.
Good luck.
J..

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A.H.

answers from Richmond on

I took my son off formula at 11 months when he refused to drink formula from a bottle or a sippy cup. Since our ped had told us that at 12 months we could switch to WHOLE milk, I decided to try milk in a sippy cup instead of the formula (since he wasn't drinking the formula anymore). He took the milk just fine. I would say that if you want to go ahead and transition your son over to milk, it's probably fine. However, I would switch to WHOLE milk, not 2%. Our ped said that kids need the fat in whole until they are 2 at which time it's okay to go to 2%.

Good Luck, Mama!

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J.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi Lauren,
My name is J. & my son, Sawyer, is now 16 months old. I am also expecting my second child in July. Congrats!
Sawyer was off his formula at about 10 months and couldn't be better. He has a sippy cup of milk every morning with breakfast & a half cup with lunch. I do give him whole milk as my doctor suggested. If you son will take a sippy cup I would cut the bottle out completely & start giving him milk, juice & water solely in his sippy.
Good luck,
J.

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R.B.

answers from Washington DC on

you can put him on the milk when fill he is ready but you need to use whole milk until he is at lest 3 years of age for his bones to grow. when he is 3 then put him on the 2%. I have 3 boys and I took all of mine off the formula when they was about 6 months old because the formula cost so much and they are all health and growing fine. and at night try and give him the cup that don't leak (it will take awhile to get him to sleep with it and not his bottle). But only you know your kid and if he would be ready or not.

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A.C.

answers from Washington DC on

From everything I have read and have learned from our pediatrician, around one year you can transition him to milk. I would not go to 2% milk, but rather whole milk. They really need the Vit D from whole milk. Also, make sure he is receiving about 24 oz of formula or milk per day, not juice or water. Juice and water do not provide any nutritional value. Last thing, talk to the pediatrician. Ours has always been good about laying out exactly what should be going on, what you might be experiencing, and nutrition guidelines for every age. Good luck.

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T.G.

answers from Washington DC on

When your son goes to the doctor for his one year old checkup your doc will, if he is at a healthy weight, have him switch to 1% or skim milk. I would probably forgo putting water in his crib at night. You don't want him to fill up on water and not take milk, also I may be conserned about germs from the bottle being out all night. good luck!

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G.B.

answers from Washington DC on

If he is not getting sick from the formula and it is setting well in his stomach. Then he should be fine on milk now or you can wait until he is a year old. My doctor said at the age of one to take away the bottle and do whole milk because it has more vitamin then any of the milk and they need that as they grow. As for drink in bed, I do Nuby Spill Proof Cups from Wal-Mart. I hope that this helps.

G. Bashford
30 years old mom of a 3-year old girl and 2-year old boy.

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S.L.

answers from Washington DC on

Just to reiterate...The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that cow milk not be started until 12 months old. Early introduction can cause different problems (anemia and digestive issues to name a few). You only have one more month to go, so I'd say wait to eliminate the potential for problems that can be avoided. The AAP also recommends whole milk for the fat content that's needed for brain development (2% has adequate Vitamin D and Calcium for bone health-otherwise it wouldn't be recommended for older kids). It's fine to get him off the bottle completely now to have less to transition after his birthday, but I'd wait for WHOLE COW MILK until 12 months and 2% at 2 years. When you do switch it you want to make sure he's not taking more than 16-24 ounces a day since more than that can cause anemia.

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A.C.

answers from Norfolk on

When we were children, the Pediatrician took us off formula at 6 months. I split the difference with my three children and took them off at 9 months. It would be a good idea for you to talk to the baby's doctor. He knows more about what your baby needs. The 2percent milk is not good for babies. They need that milk fat for growth and development. Whole milk for babies even if you drink lower fat. Again your doctor should be able to guide you in making the right choices. Early years are very important for brain development.

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K.K.

answers from Washington DC on

I was always told to start on whole milk, but I went cold turkey with not formula and all milk. If that is not working you can mix milk and formula, but do that gradually. If he drinks 6 ounces, for the first couple of days do 4 oz formula and 2 milk then get it until it all milk.

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A.R.

answers from Washington DC on

Sounds like he is doing great! You should check with your doctor, but what I have always heard is that you should start getting kids to drink cow's milk starting at age 1 year. You should also let him drink whole milk until he's age 2 years, then you can move him to 2%. He is still growing and needs the fat in whole milk at this point, unless you have issues that would make your doctor say differently. Good luck! -A.

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E.B.

answers from Washington DC on

I suggest giving him half milk and half formula (such as formula for breakfast, milk for lunch, formula for dinner...) And then you can eventually give him just milk. That's what we did and it worked great for my daughter--totally off of bottles and formula by her 1st birthday. I did notice that 2% tasted better to her; whole milk seemed too rich. My pediatrician said as long as she has 1 baby yogurt a day that will give her enough milk fat to make up for not having whole milk. Plus, she's been 90th for weight and didn't need to stay on formula being that it's higher in fat/calories... She's now 17 months and is on 1% milk in sippy cups. Congrats on baby #2!

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J.V.

answers from Norfolk on

Lauren

I suggest you consult with your pediatrician about this. I kept both my girls on formula until 15 + 16mos as I believe they needed the extra nutrients formula provided even though they were eating table food. Both transitioned to whole milk after formula vice 2%. I believe the accepted "norm" is off formula about a year, then whole milk for a year, then 2% until somewhere between 3-5yo. My youngest, now 3 1/2, is still on whole milk as she is very tiny while my other daughter is 5 1/2 and drinks fat free milk.

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A.S.

answers from Washington DC on

That's great that he drinks so well from a sippy cup! Babies do need formula up until they are 1 year of age... he should be drinking about 16 ounces of it a day because up until 1 year formula is the #1 source for all their nutrients. After a year, you can switch him over to whole milk... it isn't safe to put him on 2% because he needs all the extra fat and calories from the whole milk. I believe around 2 is when they say you can switch to 2% milk. I would really talk to your doctor before you make any changes in regards to his food.

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C.A.

answers from Dover on

PEOPLE Please !!! Forumula is essential for BRAIN DEVELOPMENT for at the very least 12 months !!! DO Not take your child off Forumula until you have spoken with your pediatrician. Even then read....read...read all you can about Formula and babies. There are many websites from professionals that you can google. Or go to the Library and search for books on the subject. I have three children - 24, 21 and 10 and believe me it has been a known fact that formula is essential for brain development in children for YEARS !!

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K.C.

answers from Richmond on

My son is 11 1/2 months and we are just starting to get him off the formula. What we have been doing is make 4 oz of formula and add in 2 oz of whole milk. We are going to do this for a bit and then go half and half, and eventually end up with just whole milk in the sippy cup. So far we haev not had any problem so long as the milk is a little warm or room temperature. I heard that a slow transition like this keeps the child from realizing there is a change. we are upping the amount of regular milk every few days and then seeing how it goes. So far so good. As far as teh kind of milk to use, i read somewhere that babies should only have whole milk, becuase their brain needs the extra fat and nutrients to develop properly. Currently my husband and I only drink skim, but we have a 1/2 gallon of whole milk just for Xavier. Its not that bad really, and even though we will buy 2 different kinds of milk, its still cheaper than the formula :)

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S.W.

answers from Washington DC on

Sounds familiar. When my son was 10 mo. I was nursing and formula feeding him then he suddenly weened himself. I found out I was pregnant and due in May 07'. I thought it was a girl but we had another beautiful boy. Anyway, we started our son on whole milk(they still need the fat content) when he was 10 mo. from a sippie cup. When you start the transition it is good to do 1/4 milk 3/4 formula, then 1/2 and 1/2 and finally just milk. He responded great and now he is 2 and our ped. just recently suggested switching to 2% or even skim because he gets his fats from other foods. Also a great "good fat" food to try when they are young is avacado. Good luck and having them 18 mo. apart has its challenges but many many rewards too. Also, I don't know if you have thought about it but we got a great double stroller from a website called www.tinyrides.com. It is made by babytrend, super liht and it transitions from a double stroller to a sit&stand very easy. Your welcome to e-mail me if you have ?'s [email protected]____.com care.

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A.S.

answers from Charlottesville on

Our pediatrician suggested at a year you can move to milk and it should be whole milk because it has the most nutrients. I thought 2% was better but because this is the main source of calcium and they need the fat, whole milk is better our pediatrician said. I also took a nutrition class and was told that organic milk is really good for kids, no hormones etc. Hope this is helpful.
I have 3 kids, 3 year old, 2 year old and a 3 month old.

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T.M.

answers from Washington DC on

I have known many children who drank formula (usually soy formula) from cups until they were teenagers with no ill effects. Soy formula works very well for infants and toddlers who don't tolerate milk-based formula. I've not read anything about needing to stop formula at any particular age. Another point to consider is that cow's milk is for baby cows. I have five children who have had varying degrees of milk allergy/intolerance and they've all grown and developed very well without cow's milk. I'm not an extremist; I've done lots of reading and research to provide my children with healthy lifestyles. You'll make up your mind with your child's best interests at heart, just as I have. If he's happy and healthy with formula, why try to fix something that ain't broken? Give him water at night, give him formula in a cup, give him a little diluted juice occasionally. Think about the cows' milk issue, though.

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P.P.

answers from Norfolk on

We decided to switch my daughter at 10 months, with no problems, just makes sure to use whole milk, i also started my daughter on soy milk when she was young I wish i had stuck with cause now at 8 she wants no part of soy milk.

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S.K.

answers from Cumberland on

Hi Lauren,

Wow - Aidan sure is on top of the eating tasks! My eight month old is just getting used to a faster nipple. I've read that babies are not supposed to get cow's milk until they are over 1 year old. I would double check with your pediatrician about how to transition to milk when he is one or if this can be done earlier since he seems ready.

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C.W.

answers from Washington DC on

We started moving our son off the formula when he was 11 months old and had it accomplished by the time he was a year. With my daughter we waited too long and she ended up hating milk. When you move him off, move to whole milk (I learned this the hard way, using 2% and I set him up for major constipation issues--one year olds need the fat in whole milk). You can start by gradually mixing it in with the formula or just go cold turkey depending on how particular your little man is. Good luck, a few weeks until he is a year is not going to make a difference one way or the other. (by the way-I am impressed that he doesn't wake up soaked or spill the sippy cup of water all over his crib--what brand do you use?)

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A.K.

answers from Washington DC on

I agree with Julie... I'd check with your ped. I think he may still need to remain on the formula for atleast another month - til he reaches one but could be longer. Transitioning to milk should start with whole milk first and I think it was at the 2nd birthday we switched to 2% for both my kids. Kind of a pain having two different milks in the house and keeping it all straight but you do what you do for your kids! :)

Hope this helps
A.

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F.B.

answers from Charlottesville on

Couple of things...you should not stop formula until after their first birthday at the absolute earliest!! Also, when you do, you child needs to be on WHOLE milk until 2, many pediatricians recommend three. The fat in the whole milk is essential for proper brain development!! I would keep the formula for longer, but when you do switch, please only whole milk. Also, tell your doctor at your 1 yr check up you want to drop the formula, they'll tell you if your child may need longer, but ask about the whole milk, your dr. will tell you how important it is and if they don't, ask why not because the American Pediatric Association holds this recommendation stronger. Good Luck!!

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H.L.

answers from Richmond on

It's recommended that babies stay on formula or breast milk until at least one year of age. They should also go from formula to whole milk until two. There are certain fats and such that are vital to brain development that they get from the formula and milk. You can see what your pediatrician recommends, but that's what I've always heard.
Good luck

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J.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Based on what I've read, I would switch him to whole milk in a sippy cup with meals at 1 year... gradually, by mixing more and more with formula. Be sure to check your books to see how many ounces he should have each day so that you don't over-do it and have the milk replace calories he should be getting from food. Keep up with the water when he is thirsty. The milk is not so much to quench his thirst, but to give him fat, calories and nutrients he needs.

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J.D.

answers from Cumberland on

My children are grown! But I had all of my three babies off formula by age one. I would ask if he drinks any 2% milk presently, if not start the process of tapering him off of formula and on to 2% milk. (actually I started all of my babies on breast milk supplementing with formula from the beginning, and then switching to formula only, and by 10 months was training to milk (whole back then watered down) ! It is worth a try.

Good luck with Aidan, and Congratulations and many blessings for all of your family and the addition!

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A.E.

answers from Richmond on

My doctor is a little "old school" so he said I could start whole or 2% milk around 10 months. My son is almost a year and has tolerated it fine (we don't have alot of food allergies in our family). My doctor also takes away bottles at 1 year, so we are down to just a bottle of warm milk after bath time--but that too will be gone in a few weeks! He also drinks water in his sippy cup--some milk and diluted juice. I change it with every meal--but he usually just takes water (I want him to get used to drinking alot of water over juice!) The milk formula issues seems to be a big one--so I am sure you will get alot of responses. This is what worked for us--oh and we give him organic milk--a little more expensive--but healthier. Good luck!

A.
29 year old mother of Ryland who is almost 1

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T.B.

answers from Norfolk on

My little girl was about 10 and 1/2 months old when she started refusing to drink her formula. The doctor just told me to go ahead and switch her over to whole milk. It was about the same time that she started to refuse the bottle all together too. My opinion is if you think your little man is ready for the switch, do it. Just make sure you are giving him whole milk since he still needs the milk fat that is not in the 2%.

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S.A.

answers from Norfolk on

Hi! I switched my daughter at 12 months old to whole milk and she was off the bottle by then also. Doctors usually suggest formula till 12 months, because babies do not eat enough variety in their foods yet to receive the proper amount of vitamins and nutrients. If your little guy is eating that well already, it might not hurt to start giving him some milk in place of a couple bottles of formula. My suggestion is to use whole milk, since they need the fat for physical development and brain development. At 2 years doctors say it is safe to switch to 2% milk. Good Luck!!

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J.B.

answers from Washington DC on

your baby is not suppose to go off formula till the age of one due to the fact that the formula provides extra nutrients that they may not get otherwise through your food. Also when you do end up giving milk it needs to be whole milk because they need all of the fat to help aid in their development.

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