Switching from breast milk to cow’s milk is a big transition for your little one and for you. The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds moms that timing is crucial, recommending breast milk only for the first 6 months. Your baby will continue to need the nutrients found in breast milk until she is at least 1 year old. Making the switch is easier for some babies than others, so consider some tips to smooth the transition.
Your breast milk has a different taste, consistency and temperature than cow’s milk, and your little milk connoisseur may object to the changes. Permit your baby to gradually get used to the differences by mixing your breast milk with cow’s milk. Start slowly by mixing one part cow’s milk with four parts breast milk. Modify the ratio to half and half after a few days, and continue to gradually increase the proportion of cow's milk.
Moms Can Improvise
Your baby doesn’t have to slurp down cow’s milk with gusto. As long as the cow’s milk reaches your baby’s tummy, you can improvise how it arrives there. Once she's on solid foods, pour milk on her cereal, and include it in other favorite foods, such as soups, oatmeal, smoothies, macaroni and cheese and casseroles. Offer flavored milks in limited quantities.
Little Copy Cats
If your baby fills her tummy from her plate, offer a cup of milk an hour before the meal or during snack time. During meal and snack time, don’t underestimate your influence as a positive role model. Let your baby see you drink and enjoy milk, and praise her when she does the same. Enlist the help of older siblings who can model that big boys and girls drink cow’s milk.
Offer Milk Without a Cup
Offer other milk products, such as yogurt and cheese, that can provide the calcium your baby needs if she remains reluctant to drink cow’s milk. Look for items fortified with vitamin D that enable her growing body to absorb the calcium.
Boost the persuasion factor by using an attractive presentation. Moms are more likely to enjoy a meal presented on lovely dinnerware. Use the same principle with your baby. Offer milk to your little one in a brightly colored sippy cup that she can’t resist.