How to Transition from Formula to Milk

  • By: Sandra
  • Date: March 18, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.

It can be difficult making the switch from formula or breast milk to whole milk, but don’t worry! The following 5 tips will help you transition formula-fed toddlers to drinking whole cow’s milk.

Offering cow’s milk instead of breast milk or formula is a big change for toddlers, and it can take some time to get them used to the taste and texture. Start by mixing cow’s milk with their old formula or breast milk in gradually decreasing proportions until they are drinking only cow’s milk.

Some babies only take a few weeks to transition to drinking milk, whilst others need a slower transition.

How long do babies drink formula or breast milk for?

Most babies drink formula until they are 12 months old, but some may continue to drink it until they are 18 or 24 months old. The transition to whole milk should happen gradually over a period of time. The WHO recommends that whole milk be introduced when the baby is around 12 months old. This is because cow’s milk has too much protein for young children. After a year, switch to regular cow’s milk.

Solid foods given from about 8 months should be giving your baby all of the nutrients they need by 12 months, which up to then was provided by powdered formula. If your child is suddenly refusing bottles, check our guide on tips to overcome this.

Do I give my child ‘follow on’ formula milk?  

It is not required to use follow-up infant formula milk. By the age of one year, your kid should be eating a well-balanced diet that includes iron-rich foods. Iron is essential for your child’s growth. At 12 months whole cow’s milk can be drank by your toddler either in a bottle or a sippy cup.

If your child has Whole Milk allergies, what other options do I have?

If your child has a milk allergy, you can give them soy milk or almond milk as an alternative. Almond milk is a great source of calcium and vitamin D. Soymilk also contains high levels of protein and essential nutrients for toddlers. Remember solid foods are now part of a baby’sdiet so drinking formula is no longer essential.

How do I transition my toddler from Formula to Whole cow’s milk?

The following five tips will help you make the switch from Formula to Cow’s Milk:

  • Make the transition gradually over a period of time. The WHO recommends that whole milk be introduced when the baby is around 12 months old. This is because cow’s milk has too much protein for young children. After a year, switch to regular cow’s milk.
  • If your child has milk allergies, you can give them soy milk or almond milk as an alternative. Almond milk is a great source of calcium and vitamin D. Soymilk also contains high levels of protein and essential nutrients for toddlers. Talk to your pediatrician if you are unsure which type of milk to give your child.
  • Give your toddler cow’s milk in a bottle or sippy cup.
  • Try heating the milk to ensure they like the temperature first.
  • Make the switch gradually over time and talk to your pediatrician if you have any questions.

When to transition from Formula to Milk?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends transitioning to whole milk between 12 and 24 months old, but not before their first birthday. Create a plan that is best suited for your baby’s individual needs. Some formula fed babies may only drink warm milk when they had baby formula, so you might need to just have their plain milk warm until they get used to the taste.

If they have had only breast milk, mix cow’s milk with breast milk in gradually decreasing proportions until they are drinking only cow’s milk. Transitioning from Formula to Milk is a process that should be done gradually over time, depending on your baby’s individual needs. By following these five tips, you can make the switch easier for both you and your toddler!

A baby’s diet should from 12 months on getting adequate nutrients from solid food however it is not recommended to give a baby reduced-fat milk before 24 months old.

When you introduce solid foods and other foods, toddler formula is no longer needed unless you are specifically looking for milk alternatives. All the nutrients are in the food and solid food will replace formula when you start weaning as their main source of important nutrients.

Remember if you have leftover formula, adults can drink baby formula, even if you just use to put in your coffee!

From 6 months old, what drinks can I give my baby? 

Cow’s milk should not be served as your child’s primary milk drink until he or she is one year old (or later if your child is preterm). From 6 months, little amounts of pasteurised full-fat cows’ milk can be used to produce weaning dishes.

  • Boiling water that has been cooled can be served as an additional fluid. Give your youngster a cup of cooled, boiled water at mealtimes or snack times.
  • Fruit juices aren’t required. Until your infant is one year old, try to limit your child’s intake to cooled boiling water. If you prefer to provide juices, only modest amounts of well-diluted, unsweetened fruit juice (dilute 1 measure pure fruit juice to 8-10 measures cooled hot water) should be given from a beaker only at mealtimes or with snacks, and only from the age of one year.
  • If you are planning on switching because your breastmilk smells like vomit and you are worried, don’t be, read our guide on what to do is your milk smells sour.

How much milk should a toddler drink?

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to how much milk a toddler should drink. The general recommendation is that toddlers aged one to two years should drink about two cups of cow’s milk per day. Talk to your pediatrician if you have any questions about how much milk your child should be drinking.

Can a toddler drink too much milk?

No, a toddler cannot drink too much milk. Cow’s milk is a nutrient-rich drink that provides toddlers with essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin D.

How much milk should a 1-year-old drink?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that toddlers aged one to two years should drink about two to three cups of cow’s milk per day.

How much milk should a 2-year-old drink?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that toddlers aged one to two years should drink about two to three cups of cow’s milk per day or about 20oz.

How much milk should a 3-year-old drink?

The AAP recommends 20oz or 2-3 cups of milk.

What should I do if my child doesn’t like milk?

It may be just a case of them getting used to the new taste so keep persisting whether in sippy cups or bottles.

If your child does not like milk you can supplement it with other dairy products to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need. Try yogurt, cheese, or ice cream to get your child to enjoy dairy products.

You can also try different types of milk such as almond milk or soy milk to find one that your child likes. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you have any questions about how much milk your child should be drinking.

Best calcium-rich foods for toddlers who don’t like milk

You can try other calcium-rich foods to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need. Some good options include yogurt, cheese, and broccoli. You can also try different types of milk such as almond milk or soy milk to find one that your child likes.

Can toddlers drink alternative or non-dairy milk?

Toddler milks unlike formula are not as essential and are not recommended before 12 months. Toddlers can drink other types of milk such as almond milk or soy milk, but they should still be consuming cow’s milk to get the nutrients they need.