Weaning BF 11Mo Old to Whole Milk

Updated on August 03, 2008
K.A. asks from Centreville, VA
6 answers

I am a teacher currently off for the summer. However, four weeks from today I report back to school. My son is currently exclusively breastfeed; however, I have no desire to pump when I return back to work. I would like to keep breastfeeding for the morning and nighttime feedings only. My question is twofold - first, what type of schedule should I use to wean him so I avoid as much discomfort for myself as possible. Second, I realize that pediatricians recommend not starting cow's milk until after the first birthday - but I would rather wean straight to milk than start formula only to switch again in a month. Has anyone started cows milk earlier than 1 year of age? If so, were there any problems? Thank you for any and all help.

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answers from Washington DC on

Hi, K..

I breastfed my son until he was about 16 months. From 7 months on, I used small amounts un-cooked cold cow's milk in cereal, purees and soups. By 11 months, I would let him have a frothy steamed (but not too hot) milk from a sippy cup when I enjoy a coffee when we were out. We had no problems.

Similar to your other respondent, I researched it and found out that allergies are usually the key concern. No one in either side of our family has allergies and my son had no problems with the many foods we we were giving him by 7 months.

Another piece of context, we live abroad and are part of a strong international community. Friends/babies from all the over. It is very interesting to hear the different practices of other developed countries. Many Europeans go straight to cow's milk by month 9 or 10 in addition to breastfeeding or in replacement of.

I would just start slow, if I were you... assuming your baby has not shown signs of other allergies.

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answers from Norfolk on

Hi! I have two boys I bf'd for over a year, I think I can actually help with this one! :)

First, the reason for waiting until your child is over a year old is all about allergies, kids are more prone to having an allergic reaction earlier. If you have no history of allergies it should be okay, he is awfully close to his first birthday.
I personally give my kids soy milk. We have no allergies, but soy is good for them, it comes in a kid fortified formula (that's quite sugary, so you might want to use it or not), it tastes delicious, and it has less chance of an allergic reaction.

The second part is the harder part. How often does your child nurse throughout the day? If he still nurses frequently, I would keep the morning and night nursing the same, as it won't be changing, and then cut the number of feedings in half. If he's on a relative schedule, like you know around what times he usually eats, it will be easy. Just skip to every other one. Also, since you're trying to wean through those times, offer to nurse him after he's had the milk, rather than before as many bf'ers will recommend.
Is he eating solids? A lot? I would also offer to nurse after he eats.
As long as he's getting to comfort nurse some throughout the day and you're getting the edge taken off throughout the day, you should be okay. If you feel yourself getting engorged, you really should pump, or nurse. Don't get yourself too engorged or it can lead to much more discomfort.
My sons both just naturally nursed a lot less once they started drinking from something other than me, and it was around 11 or 12 months that they did. My supply dropped quickly when the need for it wasn't there, and by the time they fully weaned, we were both ready. I guess really, there may be a few hard days when he asks to nurse and you give him something else, but I wouldn't expect those hard days to be too many. While they miss it terribly, they have relatively short memory spans, and they understand much more than for what we give them credit!!

Good luck!
If you have any more questions, email me! I might be helpful with those, too! :)

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answers from Washington DC on

Doctors recommend waiting until 12 months because of food allergies. The earlier your child is introduced to certain foods (milk, eggs, PB) the greater the risk of allergy. HOWEVER - if you and your husband have no food allergies I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Good luck to you!

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answers from Washington DC on

We gave our boys organic whole milk at 11 months just because we ran out of formula:) Never had any problems. They say goats milk is easier on the tummies, if he has problem with cow's milk.It is not reccomended to give too much milk though(we only do 2 cups a day other times water/watered down juice)

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answers from Washington DC on

I stopped pumping at 16 months and never weaned. My daughter breastfeeds when she is with me and I simply don't send breastmilk to daycare. I might have done it earlier, but cow's milk upset her tummy when I tried at 12 months.

You are not supposed to introduce cow's milk before 12 months, because it doesn't have sufficient fat for baby brain development.

I would give baby some milk before I went back to work to make sure that baby could digest the milk. As my child couldn't take the cow's milk initially, I let the daycare give her juice.

As long as your baby is nursing several times a day, I don't believe you will have any significant discomfort from not pumping.

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answers from Roanoke on

You're right, that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Many babies, especially at this age, will nurse only in the evenings and/or mornings. You can continue to give him the wonderful benefits of your milk well past one year. He will be sick less (which means you will be sick less too) and you can be sure he is getting a balance of vitamins, protien, etc as he enters into picky toddler stage.

And, it will be fine to introduce after 11 months, the cow's milk (it's close enough to 12 months, which isn't a magical number for allergies,.... it's an average!) Be sure the majority of his food intake before (around) one year is breast milk or formula, since that is meeting his nutritional needs the best

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