Ped Said to "Starve" My 1Yo of Formula So She Eats More Solids?

Updated on November 08, 2010
K.E. asks from Monmouth Beach, NJ
25 answers

My daughter just turned one and I am trying to switch her 1) from formula to milk and 2) less formula/milk and more solids. The problem is she LOVES her soy formula and prefers it over any solid food I try to give her. Her pediatrician told me I need to deny her or "starve" her of the formula so she will be hungry enough to eat the solids. He said if she continues having too much formula and not enough solids she can become anemic. Have any of you heard this before? How can I transition her to more solids while reducing her formula intake without an issue? Also, since she's been on soy for so long should I be giving her soy milk or try for the regular whole milk and will it have an ill effect? Thanks for any suggestions / comments!

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answers from Augusta on

Don't give her soy milk.
Soy has estrogen in it , extra estrogen can bring on puberty early. The only people that should be eating anything with soy in it are menopausal women
I'd give her table food instead of just baby food. My oldest liked table food much better than baby food. Give her , her milk in a sippy cup instead of a bottle with her food.
Most store brand milks ( walmart, Kroger, etc) don't have the hormones there's no need to go "organic".

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

If she has an allergy to cows milk, then go ahead with the soy/almond/coconut milk. No need to wean from formula--she can go straight to milk at one year of age. She can keep hydrated from water and should be getting her nutrients from food. There is no need to give her formula at all anymore.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hi K.:

Start to incorporate small amounts of solids, plus formula at meal time. With each meal, gradually reduce amount of formula and increase solids. In my professional opinion, I recommend researching other types of milk to give her. I believe that it is a challenge for the body to successfully process whole milk; I have witnessed all of my clients develop allergies over time.

All the best,
Founder/Organic Mommy and Baby Healthcare Solutions

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answers from Dallas on

unless she has a cow's milk allergy/intolerance, i'd get her off the soy asap. there can be hormonal issues, especially for females, with high amounts of soy products. if she can't have cow's milk, go with rice milk rather than soy. i'd agree with your pedi, don't give her the option to "fill up" on her formula OR milk, if she is severely underweight or had other medical problems, i wouldn't say that, but assuming she's healthy and a decent weight, i'd really work with offering a wide variety of real food, and give her only the amount of formula/milk that you want her to have. i'd also no longer offer it to her in a bottle if that's how she's getting it now, switch to a sippy cup.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I never heard of the anemia, but I've also never been in your situation.

I hardly think your daughter will "starve". I would offer her up some simple solids first, before you even show her a sippy cup. Start with things like applesauce, warm carrots, etc.

I do agree that ANY child can "fill up" on milk/formula and have a harder time taking solids.

Our little guy loves nursing (never took to formula). I am in the process of weaning him and he isn't happy. The OB said, "You just have to be tougher than him."

Think of it this way. No matter what, you KNOW as a Mommy that your daughter can't stay on formula until she's 5 right? So start transitioning. Don't "give in" because you know in your mind she needs to move on.

It sounds like this "will be an issue" since she likes her formula so much. So keep the bottles/sippy cups out of sight and offer her FOOD. You can also try adding a small amount of chocolate/strawberry powder to her milk or go for soy milk. It is a different taste, so she will have to get used to the "new" milk. You might try mixing her soy formula powder with her milk so that it tastes like her soy and slowly "wean" her off the powder added.

Milk can be constipating, so I'd hold off on bananas and other foods that may bind her up while you are transitioning. Stick with apple sauce, yogurts, pureed veggies and simple finger foods.

Best wishes

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Provo on

My doctor said the same exact thing about the "starving" thing. I was apposed at the though also. I gave my son enough milk to get through the day, and he then decided to start liking food. So I wouldn't exactly starve your child, but give just a little less than normal. But I'm not a big fan of pushing and just because they are 1 then you HAVE to start eating solids all the time. Babies will do things on their own times. Just like walking and talking.

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answers from Rochester on

I don't know that I have good suggestions for the switch, but children can develop anemia if they drink too much milk and do not get enough solids. Too much milk can inhibit iron absorption. Between 1 and 2 is when I asked my pediatrician how much milk my toddler should be drinking since he was filling up on it, too. He suggested we pre-measure about 20 ounces each day and use that to refill the cups at the table. Usually 16 to 20 ounces is ideal for milk. It might help to just have a set amount so you can monitor and spread that out for her.

Try offering water with all snacks and in between meals and milk only with meals for a while. It might be bumpy, but eventually she'll learn. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hi Kim,

I haven't seen your other answers yet, so this may be redundant.
But ONE year is quite young to be making this change. For one, since she is on soy, why not keep her on soy? Cow's milk is for calves. Don't you ever wonder why so many people can't tolerate cow's milk? If she LIKES the soy, then why change? You can add supplemental iron to her diet to ward off anemia, and make sure the foods she eats are high in iron, etc. Please don't "starve" your baby to train her. Let your baby's wants and needs guide you, not the pediatrician's. I'm sure you'll find solid food that your baby enjoys. Just be patient, try different stuff, and she'll be fine.

Good luck!
from the Pocono Mts. of PA

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pocatello on

Well my sister had a similar situation with her first son. He was breastfed but her milk was drying up (he was about 11 or 12 months) and he needed to start drinking cows milk and eating more solids. But he hated milk and my sister cried and cried cause she felt so bad that he wasn't drinking or eating but the her doctor said that it was the best thing for him. He also said your son will not really "starve" himself. I mean yes he may protest for a day or two and only take a little food but his hunger will get the better of him and as long as she was constantly offering him milk and food he would not really go hungry. And it was true. After a day or two he did start to eat a lot more table food but it still took a good two weeks before he really liked the cows milk. Her doc also told her to add chocolate to the milk to help sweeten it up so he would like it. That helped too. So I know it sounds kinda mean but your aren't really starving your child you are offering different foods and it may take some time before she really likes it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Providence on

Not sure about weather you should be on soy milk or not . My son was drinking Nutramigen which is a very broken down formula when I tried switching him to milk he was not interested what so ever. So gave say 4 oz formula with 2 oz milk and gradually weened him into the milk alone .

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answers from New York on

At a year, it's time for her nutrition to come from food, her milk becomes a beverage and not a feeding, as it no longer provides all that she needs. At a year, she shouldn't be having bottle feeds. She should have some of her milk in a cup with 3 regular meals a day, and some healthy "snacks" (which don't have to be snack food, they can be regular foods served between meals) if needed. As for cows vs soy milk, the question is why are you using soy formula? If your baby is allergic to dairy, then you can't feed her cows milk. If she's not allergic/intolerant, then there's no need to pump up the estrogens in her system with soy.


answers from Topeka on

The key word is transition. That does not mean to take her off cold turkey. I would start by decreasing her milk intake. Give her juice in a cup when she eats her meals. Have a set schedule of when she eats her solids. And you only need to give her one cup of milk a day. Too much milk can constipate a child. Not enough protein can cause anyone to become anemic.
I suggest keeping her on soy milk. Although it is expensive, it does help aid in digestion better than whole milk.



answers from Dallas on

She is getting her calories from formula. Honestly, she doesn't need milk either. (unless she won't eat and isn't getting nutrients.) It's true, you must cut back on formula, to encourage her to eat more solids. Just do it. Take all bottles except one or two out her routine. Offer food and don't let her see the bottles. After a week or two, take them all away. With my son, I just took them away. I stopped offering bottles and he did great. He can't have dairy, so he has never had milk. She can eat anything you're eating, if it's not too sodium heavy.
A 1 year old, instinctively will not let themselves starve! They self regulate when it comes to food.



answers from Honolulu on

Formula... HAS Iron in it.
She will not get Anemic.

No matter what kind of milk.... until a child is about 2 years old... the "milk fats" are a crucial nutrient for toddlers, because it is important for brain development.
I would try and switch her out. There is also Almond Milk, Goat's Milk, or Rice Milk etc., if you do not like 'cows' milk.
And go for "Organic" milks... without added hormones.

As an aside: a woman I know... gave her daughters soy milk. They loved soy milk. They drank it a lot. The Mom did not like cow's milk. BUT... when they were about 6-7 years old... they started to menstruate. Early onset of puberty. After an exhaustive time with a Pediatric Endocrinologist... he told her to STOP the Soy Milk.... so she did. It took several months... for their bodies to normalize, and to stop menstruating. Soy milk... contains naturally occurring Estrogen. Anyway, this Mom told me this... and what happened with her Daughters. Yes, twins.
Again, this is per Soy "milk" that she gave them. This was not the Formula.


answers from San Antonio on

Feed her first, THEN give her milk. I don't remember exactly how much kiddos at that age understand, but when I introduced solids, I STARTED it by giving the solid then the milk, so my son was less hungry for milk since he was full from the food.

But I'd be more willing to wean her of it than cut her off cold turkey. Put food on her plate. When she screams for milk, tell her she has to eat her bites first. If that doesn't work, give her one bite, then one sip of milk, one bite, one sip of milk......



answers from New York on

Dear K., We know that many cultures nurse for longer than 1 year. The poor may not have solids to give their babies. But as for your question: I would first mix half and half milk and soy to see if there is any reaction. Why was she on soy to begin with? Was there an allergy? Morning bottle Ok. Then I would offer solids before any more milk. A bottle for nap time and offer solids again for dinner. Evening another bottle before bed. Hope this helps. My best, Grandma Mary



answers from Anchorage on

If you try regular milk, start out very slow. By giving a child nothing by soy you can actually create a lactose intolerance even if one did not exist before.



answers from Dallas on

I went to regular whole milk slowly with a 6 ounces to 2 ounces formula to milk ratio and than gradually decreasing the formula until we went to all milk. I also stopped giving milk at meals. My daughter has water will all her meals and only has milk in the morning and in the evening.



answers from New York on

If by 'ill effect' you mean you don't want her to be hungry and fuss and cry and be angry, then there is no way. But that is motherhood. We have to be the adult and keep the end in mind. The end right now is her eating a balanced diet. It doesn't matter that she will arch her back, push it away, etc. She is a child - they are born ego-centric - literally self-centered. Our job as parents is to slowly but surely move them from selfish egomaniacs in to other centered, thoughtful adults who can care for themselves and care about others (and not be ruled by their passions - whether it is soy formula now or pizza and burgers at 18). It doesn't happen without a lot of thought and determination on the parents' part. It's pay now or pay later. You set boundaries, she fights them, settles in to them, there is peace. Then she gets a few months older, later a few years older, and pushes on the boundaries again. You set them again.

I highly recommend reading "Preparing for Peer Pressure" by James Stenson ($2.95).



answers from Detroit on

for the first year .. all of the babies nutrition comes from milk or formula.. once they turn 1 they are supposed to eat solid food for nutitioin.. and no more than 16 oz of milk give her less milk in each cup or bottle. instead of 8 go down to 6 oz.. so she has room in her tummy for food..

just because seh couldnt have milk based formula as a newborn.. doesnt mean she wont do fine on cows milk.. try her on cows milk to see how she does..



answers from New York on

Hi, I do know that if a child has too much milk, and not enough solids, they do become anemic. This happened to my friend's son, so it is important. Try to find solids that your child likes, such as fruit, and try to give more of that. I don't know about 'starving' a child, that I haven't heard before. And, I think a diet change should be gradual, so play around and figure out what solids she likes best. Good luck.



answers from Las Vegas on

If her iron becomes low she will become anemic. She would be getting this iron from her food. If there is iron in her formula, perhaps it is only baby level iron???? DK. Maybe it flushes out too easily.

I would try adding water to the formula until she is no longer on it.



answers from New York on

I remember going through that. The difference is that our ped. did not say to starve our son of formula and our son used regular formula instead of soy. He was under weight and still is at 12 years old. Our ped. told us the exact amount of formula to allow our son to have to get him to eat solids, because they can't gain weight on a liquid diet at that age. It worked and was no problem.



answers from Harrisburg on

Transition by introducing them both. Formula is whole milk substituted anyway...check the labels. Give formula with solids until she gets used to the idea. Most peds prescribe iron in addition to the milk/formula. The only way to know if she cannot tolerate whole milk is to try it.


answers from New York on

I nursed but still had to work at making sure DD was hungry for solids. All I did was start changing around nursing and solid feeds so they were not close together. I would also offer the cup of milk (first soy then cows) with any meal so she was used to that option. Eventually it worked.

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