Transitioning to Whole Milk

Updated on February 26, 2008
J.S. asks from Eagar, AZ
47 answers

My son just turned a year old and I am trying to transition him to whole milk. However he won't touch the stuff. He has never taken a bottle and only breastfed, but he is great with sippy cups. But no matter how I have given him the milk (warm, cold, in cup, in bottle), he spits it out as soon as he tastes it. I am not much of a milk drinker and so I wonder if my not drinking milk is making it harder for him to get used to the taste. My problem is that I have mostly weaned him (only nursing at night and morning) and I want to fully wean him, but I can tell he still wants something right when he wakes up and before bed. I was hoping that getting him on whole milk would fill that need. So is there a better way to transition him to milk or do I just need to accept that he doesn't like milk?

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So What Happened?

Wow I had so many responses! It was wonderful reading all the advice and knowing that this is a common thing. I am trying just offering milk to my son consistently and if that doesn't work in another week or two, I will try pumping and mixing the milk with breast milk. If that still doesn't take, well then I suppose he will just get dairy through cheese and yogurt (which he loves)! Thanks again, for all the support!

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W.W.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi J.!

I was reading the responses so far and I didn't see anyone who suggested using the stage 2 formulas instead of milk. My cousin had a lot of issues with her first child and milk and her pediatrician suggested it. She gave him that until he was 2. My son had issues with milk, too, and I used the stage 2 powder for about 4 - 6 months, but we watered the whole milk down 50-50 and he gobbled it up! My pediatrician said whole milk can be harsh on babies and watering it down even to 75% - 25% milk is good. Good luck! I know how frustrating it can be. Just hang in there!

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C.F.

answers from Phoenix on

My son was the same way! He would spit the milk out the instant we gave it to him. I continued to try and eventually he liked the taste of the milk. Organic milk has the best test honestly. Also the Nuby sippie cups were the only ones my son would drink from. I bought some of the hard plastic top cups and he hated those! I would just give it time!! Eventually he will drink the milk, after all he does need the fat intake from it.

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C.A.

answers from Santa Fe on

J.,

Have you tried goat milk? Even at 10 years, my youngest son still has a problem with cow milk but does fine with goat. If possible, get it from a goat dairy or farmer as the nutrition (and sometimes taste) could be superior. Good luck!

C.

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C.S.

answers from Phoenix on

If you do a search on the net for "milk+adverse effects", you will be grateful he doesn't want to drink it.

Cow's milk is good for baby cows (calves). Humans are the only species who drinks the milk of another species. Cows are designed to grow to adulthood in one year...and their milk helps them to do that. Humans take many years to reach adulthood.

If you are ok with providing him your milk, it is the best he can get. He will wean when he doesnt need it anymore.

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K.K.

answers from Phoenix on

J.,
You might try organic goat milk, it is very biochemically close to mother's milk. As you are aware, he is not compatible with
the extreme processing and toxic nature of cow's milk.
You might also try Almond or Rice milk, diluted, unsweetened to start. Either is high in calcium and protein and not creating the lactic intolerance dairy creates along with bowel problems, runny noses, asthmatic symptoms, etc. Read up on the dangers of dairy and let your child start a very healthy life holistic.

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D.J.

answers from Phoenix on

Our 20-month old is very attached to nursing and I have just decided to let him wean himself whenever he is ready rather than forcing the issue. I know it's super-good for him (and for me too), so I have given up trying to make him drink cow's milk and am just letting him nurse. Good luck!

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K.J.

answers from Phoenix on

Try doing it gradually like 1 oz of milk and the rest breast milk and then each week increase the reg. milk until it is all reg. milk it helps them get used to the taste of reg. milk. I would also warm it just a little because of the breast milk being warm and gradually take that down to. Hope this helps K.

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C.V.

answers from Flagstaff on

Hi J.,
I feel the same as Kelly. I had this same exact scenario with my son at age 1. I ended up mixing breast milk with a little whole milk and over the course of a week or so, I decreased the concentration of breast milk and increased the whole milk until he was taking 100% whole milk. I hope this helps.
C. V

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T.D.

answers from Phoenix on

I had this problem with 2 of my children. For the first one (who has a very high metabolism) we were told to mix in a little bit of strawberry nexquik (it has less sugar and more vitamins than the others). I hated doing that as I didn't want to give her anything with preservatives in it at the time, but it worked. But I recently heard a better choice with my other child that didn't like whole milk... Start off with 2% which is "watered down" whole milk. Mix up formula like you would with water except do it with milk. Then slowly lessen the amount of formula you put in and slowly add in whole milk until you have it all whole milk. For breastfeeding I would assume you could express it so it is 50/50, but again start with the 2% (or even skim for breastmilk) and slowly transition to whole.

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E.C.

answers from Santa Fe on

Keep trying to give him the whole milk. It takes several times for a child to develop a "taste" for a new food or beverage.
When I weaned my oldest son, I was also down to twice a day feedings. I cut out the bedtime nursing first and instead of nursing him, I handed him a cup of milk. He was so angry the first time I did it, he swatted my hand and stood in a corner and cried. But he did eventually go to sleep that night. And each day it got easier. He was resistant for about 5 days, but after that he drank his cup of milk and went to bed without complaints. After a couple of weeks, I did the same thing with the morning nursing and it only took him 2 days of resistance and then he was totally weaned.
So, good luck and if you still can't get him to drink regular whole milk, you might try putting a little hershey's chocolate in it (all you need is a tiny drop to alter the taste) or switching to soy milk.

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B.H.

answers from Las Cruces on

Have you tried adding Ovaltine to his milk. Since your breastmilk is sweet he is use to that sweet taste. By adding Ovaltine you"ll help make the milk sweeter plus it has vitamins so its no just chocolate milk. This has worked for me with my 2 girls. Give it a shot

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L.W.

answers from Santa Fe on

Make sure you want to give him milk! We're the only animals on the planet that still drink milk after weaning. Could you imagine actually nursing from a cow? Or drinking horse milk? Kinda weird. The dairy industry is very powerful...has us all believing that milk is needed for healthy bodies. It's the perfect food for baby cows, but not necessarily for us.

We put rice milk on cereal, and give it to the kids to drink. It has calcium and vitamin D. We eat cheese and have the occasional hot chocolate or ice cream cone still, but just don't chug the cow's milk.

Don't force him ... he probably doesn't like it for a reason. There are so many dairy allergies. Maybe he knows something...

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Z.P.

answers from Phoenix on

I would express some breastmilk into a cup or bottle for him and mix a little bit of whole milk in it. Then a little more, then half and half, and so on.

Breastmilk is a whole lot sweeter than cow milk. Rice milk is also sweet like that. You can try rice milk. I wouldn't really do soy. I have heard bad things about it. Especially for boys.

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S.B.

answers from Tucson on

Try Soy milk. My oldest Daughter is allergic to milk. She has always been on soy. When my other two were born my pediatrician recommended that they also drink soy milk, it has as much protein, vitamins, and calcium and even contains good fat.... best of all No hormones that whole milk has.
My 3 Kids are all extremely healthy and athletic.

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N.F.

answers from Phoenix on

hi J.,
what I did in your case was mix a litttle of the whole milk with the breast milk, and then, started adding it on more and more as my little girl got used to the taste of whole milk. Hope this works for you.

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M.H.

answers from Las Cruces on

My son didn't like whole milk either when I tried to wean him, but he loved ice cream. Breast milk is naturally sweet, so I would put a tiny bit of sugar and vanilla in his whole milk and very slowly cut the amount down until there was none. I know people like to limit sugar, but I didn't use a lot and the milk was important, so I limited his sugar intake more in other areas. After a few months he would take his milk with nothing in it. He was and is very healthy and now, at 13, he loves milk but he still likes to drink his vanilla milk occasionally as a treat.

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P.G.

answers from Tucson on

I wish I had the answer for you. At least your son will take a sippy cup and use it. Ours doesn't get the sippy cup yet and only wants to nurse on me for comfort during the day...to take his naps and in the mornings for his first feeding and for bedtime to fall asleep. My first son gave up nursing around 7 months, then went to a bottle pretty easily since we'd supplement on occasion with formula. I have EBF with our second son as he would never take/like the bottle. So now am not sure how we are going to get him to use the sippy cup, but we keep trying and hoping. He turns one in April.
I wish you luck, but all I can say is to keep trying, that's what we are doing and hoping he will eventually get the sippy cup and will then hopefully like whole milk!

P., http://mamastimeout.com host

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K.S.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi J.,
We are transitioning our son right now too. I put a small amount of whole milk in with a full bottle of formula. We are using formula, but you could mix it with your breast milk. Transition the milk slowly by increasing the amount a little bit every day. It worked great for my daughter a few years ago too.

Good Luck.
K.

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J.S.

answers from Phoenix on

You just need to accept that you need to keep trying! Milk is a very important part of any childs diet. My kids were breastfed all the way too and we just had to keep trying. Try putting a little bit of chocolate milk or strawberry milk in with the whole and see if this helps. You may only need to do it until the taste becomes acquired. Or you may keep doing it for life. But either way chocolate milk has alot more vitamins than no milk at all!

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G.V.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi J.,

I say GOOD FOR HIM!!! Hi innately understands what his is NOT supposed to consume.

Despite what the TV tells you about milk being "good" to drink; it is actually more detrimental than good for the following reasons:

1. Diary contributes to Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, and Diabetes
2. Many people are lactose intolerant and don't even know it.
3. You can actually get Vitamin D toxicity from it because the Vitamin D levels vary so much between samplings.
4. Dairy contains many contaminants, like synthetic hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides.
5. Dairy consumption can lead to constipation and other food allergies in children

Dairy does NOT prevent osteoporosis, contrary to popular belief. In fact, because of homogenization and pasteurization, dairy consumption can actually leach calcium and other vital nutrients from your bones. There have been many studies show to support this information. There is an assumption that because calcium is good for the bones and milk has calcium that milk is good for the bones. This is an incorrect assumption! Besides, the pasteurization process KILLS all the nutrients in the milk. It then has to be fortified with calcium and Vitamin D.

Finally, I don't believe we were meant to consume another species milk -- pretty gross if you think about it.

Instead, try giving him rice milk or almond milk. You can even make your own. :)

Best wishes to you and your son!

Warm Regards,
G.

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L.R.

answers from Phoenix on

I would just keep trying. Maybe stop nursing him at the morning and at night, and just keep giving him a sippy cup of milk. Eventually he will get the idea that there is no turning back.

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L.S.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi J.,

When I transitioned my daughter she did the same thing. Whole milk tastes very different from breast milk or formula. I mixed a small amount of whole milk with formula which let her get used to it. I then mixed 1/2 whole milk and 1/2 formula then 3/4 whole milk 1/4 formula etc. It took about 4 weeks but she became and still is a great milk drinker -she is now 3 1/2.

Good luck.

L.

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M.M.

answers from Albuquerque on

To transition my kids to whole milk I had to mix the two together and slowly phase out the formula. Or in your case breast milk. The first week I mixed 3/4 formula with 1/4 whole milk. The next week I did half formula and half whole milk. The week after that I mixed 1/4 formula and 3/4 whole milk and finally in the fourth week i gave them straight whole milk. I did this with both my kids and it worked beautifully. The key is to slowly get them used to the taste of whole milk. Try this technique with your breat milk. It should work. Good luck.

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H.D.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi J.! I had the same exact problem with my daughter in the same scenario (strictly breastfed) She wouldnt touch milk just like your son. We eventually gave up and just made sure she got enough cheese and yogurt. She is now 21 months and just from one day to the next decided she wanted milk. She will only drink it with Nesquick in it but she drinks it!
Hang in there and just let it take its course. The more you try to get him to take it now the more he will refuse it.

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D.D.

answers from Phoenix on

Try goats milk, it is good for you'r kids, and not that expencive i find it the cheepest at trader joes. But you can request your food store to get it in stock if they dont already carry it. Good luck dena

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A.S.

answers from Phoenix on

Hey J.,

I've been there with both of my kids. My daughter, almost 4, didn't really like milk until she was 3. My son, 20 months, won't touch the stuff. He is still nursing. If your son likes yogurt, cheese, and other dairy derived products, he will be getting his calcium needs met. Tofu is also a great source of calcium, and soy milk and rice milk are delicious and healthy alternatives, too. I wouldn't give him formula. You've made it this far without it, right? My pediatrician always suggested flavoring the milk, but it never worked for my kids, at least not until my daughter got a little older. They both like Horizon vanilla milk, though my son doesn't drink a lot of it all at once, he drinks a container of it throughout the day. It is organic, but it has sugar added. Better than Quik, though. My daughter also loves Ovaltine-also loaded with sugar, but maybe you can cut out sugar somewhere else. Bottom line, if your boy doesn't like milk, don't sweat it. There are plenty of alternatives for now, and he might be turned onto milk later in his childhood. Offer it every now and again in different incarnations. As far as the weaning in relation to milk ingestion, well, you can tell from the above that I can't help you there!

Good luck!

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J.O.

answers from Flagstaff on

Dear J.,

Many breastfed infants and children do not transition well to whole milk. As long as your son can get adequate calcium from other sources, there is no reason to focus on milk.

I gave my children a drink made from yogurt (whole milk yogurt until approx 2 years of age because of the need for adequate fat intake for central nervous system development in a child who does not suffer from obesity) mixed with a small amount of juice and water to give free water. We called it "juicey" and we were famous for the drink. I used whole milk plain yogurt. If you are interested, you can experiment with flavors. You could also experiment with supplemented soy milks--look for soy that has 20-30 % RDA for calcium per serving and Vitamin D.

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D.W.

answers from Tucson on

Hi J.,

I too, am not much of a milk drinker, and my daughter did not care for whole milk either after breastfeeding exclusively. I was worried that she would not develop properly and took her to the pediatrician. He let me know that kids don't really need milk, especially after age 2 (she breastfed until almost 2 yrs old) and she could get her nutrients from other sources. I did not force her to drink it and eventually she was fine with water in a sippy cup, or juice for that early morning thirst quencher.

It turned out that she was allergic to dairy. She is 11 now, takes her vitamins and gets her calcium, iron, and fat from other nutrients. Now, you can find calcium fortified orange juice, and other foods with the same nutrients as whole milk. I have found several articles that do not promote cow's milk, particularly whole milk for children. There are other means for children to get the fat needed for brain development, muscles, and bones. Current research indicates that breastfeeding longer is beneficial to both mother and child.

But keep in mind, each child is different. Unlike my daughter, my 2 younger children drank milk when they were little. Since then, we've switched to a limited dairy diet because more and more research indicates little need for it. I just did a quick google search and pulled up these articles. I claim no expertise here, but I thought I'd share my experience with you. Hope this helps. Peace, Dee

http://www.gotohealth.com/articles/read.cfm?article_id=30

http://www.healthboards.com/boards/archive/index.php/t-13...

http://www.theherbsplace.com/Is_Milk_Good_For_Children_sp...

http://www.askdoctorsears.com/html/3/T032100.asp

http://www.keepkidshealthy.com/welcome/commonproblems/foo...

http://www.helium.com/tm/106580/expectant-mother-persiste...

http://parenting.families.com/blog/breastfeeding-how-long...

http://pediatrics.about.com/cs/breastfeeding/a/bf_toddler...

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9901E1D711...

http://repositories.cdlib.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article...

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K.A.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi J.,
I wouldn't worry too much about whole milk...it is actually associated with an increase in food allergies and digestive problems. Have you tried goat milk? It has fewer allergies associated with it. I have a 14 y/o daughter whom I nursed exclusively for one year who never had milk in a bottle or sippie cup. She went straight to water and diluted juice. Never has been a milk drinker. I am also exclusively nursing my 11 week old son and I do not intend to give him cow's milk.

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M.E.

answers from Anchorage on

You might try Rice Milk instead of whole milk. Many kids do not like the taste of cow's milk. I know we have all be taught to drink milk because of the calcium but the truth is -the amount of calcium in whole milk is so minute because of the pasturization process. You also have to consider the hormone and vaccination shots that are being given to cows (to increase milk production and prevent things like "mad cow disease"). Just like the things that you eat go into your breast milk, the things the cows eat, drink and are given to in injections go into the milk we drink. Maybe your son is trying to tell you something??? (Literally..out of the mouth of babes ya know...lol) You didn't say whether your son likes yogurt or cheese - these may be options - also natural sources of calcium, like Spirulina, Alfalfa, Oat tops are much easier for the body to digest.

Hope this helps.

M. M. Ernsberger
Certified Herbalist

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K.S.

answers from Phoenix on

Hello J. you might want to try using half and half and see if that works. I would maybe put in more breast milk the first few bottles and the slowly add more and more whole milk. Good luck

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D.L.

answers from Phoenix on

He just may not like the way it tastes. Breastmilk is much sweeter than whole milk, and many experts say that cow's milk isn't good for us, anyway, so don't stress. Try soymilk or rice milk instead, maybe. Many health food stores have other alternatives, too. They may be more costly than milk, but if he'll drink it and it's good for him, it would probably be worth it!

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J.D.

answers from Tucson on

My son is 11 months, and I recently started to give him cow's milk. He started to self-wean and only really wanted to nurse in the morning and before bed. This caused him to wake up at night, so I figured that he needed the extra calories. He wouldn't take it in a bottle or in a sippy cup either. I found that if I didn't associate it with nursing, he started to drink it. I bought a new sippy cup (different from the ones that he drinks water in) and just started to offer it to him with lunch and dinner instead of water. I found that he liked it cold. After about 1 week, he started to drink more and more. Yesterday, he had 12 ounces! Oh yeah, I also put it in his cereal to get him use to the taste.

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D.B.

answers from Tucson on

Well, to be honest my son didn't really like whole milk either. I think it was a texture thing as it is much thicker than breast milk. What I did was add a little bit of strawberry or chocolate Nesquick to it and it made it a little sweet, like breast milk, and the transition went well. If you can find a way to do this and get him to drink it without flavoring eventually that would be best, but let me know how you do it because mine still prefers the flavored milk.:) But the way I figure it, since it has less sugar than it could have, it's better than his not drinking milk at all. Hope this helps.

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S.D.

answers from Philadelphia on

Try to pump and save your breast milk in the refrigerator and mix it with the whole milk in a sippy cup. This may get him used to drinking it. As time goes on mix it with less and less breast milk until you have him drinking just whole milk.

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M.A.

answers from Phoenix on

I am not much of a milk drinker either, and on my dh's side there is a history of lactose intolerance. My third son would not drink it either and he is actually healthier than my other three milk drinkers! He used to be almost too skinny as a baby and started to chunk up when I cut out he milk.He also used to have allergies when he was little, to the point where he would have asthma symptoms-until I stopped trying to wean him to milk and just let him drink water and juice.:) He takes a multi and to this day loves water. I make sure he gets his calcium- and it isn't hard because they add calcium to so many things now. Hope that helps.:)

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S.B.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi J.,
When I transitioned my son from breastmilk to whole milk, I mixed the two together and slowly took out the breastmilk. Good luck.

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A.M.

answers from Phoenix on

Have you tried organic milk? It tastes so much better than those hormone/antibiotic filled regular milks.I drink 1% and the taste is so much more rich because of it been organic.So much better for you too. Shamrock makes it too and it is available at fry`s too. : ) . A.

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D.C.

answers from Phoenix on

I would try giving him 2% milk first since it isn't as thick. Breatmilk is very thin and going straight to whole milk is a big step. If he still doesn't like it try Almond milk or Soy milk. If he still is resistant then there is nothing wrong with him getting all the calcium he needs from foods like veggies (broccoli) and cheese and yogurt.

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D.O.

answers from Tucson on

Since cow's milk is not that good for children anyway, you might try goats milk and maybe he will take it. Cow's milk has lots of fat in it which is necessary for cows but not for humans. You can get calcium in lots of other foods. Maybe he would eat yogurt (goat's milk yogurt again is best) and then you wouldn't have to fight with him about drinking whole milk. He may be telling you something very important.
If you want more info about cows vs. other milk I'd be happy to provide more info. I can be reached at [email protected]____.com.

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E.L.

answers from Phoenix on

J.,
Try soy milk. It is sweeter, and tastes much better than whole milk. See if the fat content makes a difference. You can also try lactose-free milk - perhaps our son will like it better.
E.

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C.B.

answers from Albuquerque on

I am the same way, I don't drink milk a whole lot. Boy two boys like milk and are happy to drink it, but my daughter would have nothing to do with it either, I weaned her when she was 13 months old because I was pregnant with my second and nursing and being pregnant were way too exhausting for my body to deal with, so I was worried for a while since she wouldn't touch the milk at all (for her part of the problem was that she was lactose intolarant until she turned 2 so it really upset her stomach and gave her a horrible diaper rash, as soon as we realized we switched to the lactose free milk, but she couldn't tell the difference and so she wouldn't drink it because she knew milk hurt her). Anyway she was always good at eating cheese and yogurt, and our doctor said that was fine that she didn't drink milk if she was getting the same nutrients in the other items (which also didn't affect her like milk because the lactose is broken down when it mixes with the other ingrenients in things like cheese, ice cream, yogurt, etc, appearantly milk has straight lactose).

She is now 5 1/2 and still won't touch milk unless it's chocolate or strawberry flavored, and she is growning up very healthy and well. So don't worry, feed him some other dairy form he'll eat, and give him a warm bowl of oatmeal.

One other thing you may try, if you haven't already, is to heat the milk up a little. Breast milk is warm, maybe it's the cold milk he's rebuking. My baby won't drink his whole milk unless it's warm, and he's been on a bottle since he was about 7 mo old (I had a kidney stone and couldn't nurse him for a few days because I was in too much pain to do anything!).

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K.V.

answers from Phoenix on

I had the same issue when my daughter turned 1. She never took a bottle but took a sippy w/ water fine. I just kept offering it to her and eventually she gave in, now she loves it and is 15 months old. It only took about 2 weeks and during that time I made sure I gave her yogurt and cheese so she would still get the fats that she needed. Just stop offering water and only milk in the sippy and eventually the will give in. Now she gets milk at dinner and drinks a whole sippy of it. Good luck :)

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L.A.

answers from Phoenix on

Do you have a pump? Try pumping some milk so that you can give him glasses of 3/4 breastmilk, 1/4 whole milk, then move him to 1/2 and 1/2, and then 1/4 and 3/4 and then all whole milk. This is how we transitioned our now 2.5 year old. Good luck!

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A.V.

answers from Phoenix on

My daughter was the same way. Absolutely refused. Eventually, we got her to take small quantities of Chocolate or Strawberry milk. Now, she drinks "vanilla" milk regularly. Vanilla milk is just regular milk but since it is white, we called it Vanilla.

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C.S.

answers from Phoenix on

I would not worry about the milk intake. There are other sources of calcium than just a glass of milk. I know a lot of the nutritionist say the kids need so much milk. I'm a mother of nine and I gave my kids juice and encouraged lots of water.

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N.R.

answers from Tucson on

It's so frustrating when your child won't do something that you want him to do and know is good for them. I had to get my son to drink formula early because I was really pregnant with my second child by the time my son was 9 months. He wouldn't touch the stuff, so I know the frustration. The doctor eventually told me to put him on whole milk instead and he just took it cold; he wouldn't drink it warm. Anyways, have you tried formula? Maybe you could go from breastmilk, to formula, then to milk. He does still need to nutrients so it wouldn't hurt for a few months to get him use to not nursing. Good luck!!

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