Breastfeeding to Cows milk...but how?

Christina - posted on 08/13/2009 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My daughter just turned 9 months old. I have been breastfeeding for the entire 9 months. I feel like my milk supply is diminishing, so I am ready to make the switch to Cow's milk. She has done fine with yogurt and cottage cheese, so I assume dairy isn't an issue and I know I should test it out before I just take her completely off the breast, but I am a tad bit confused on how to do it...I need some help or a push of some sort. Any suggestions?

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Jennifer - posted on 08/17/2009

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I started to introduce my daughter to dairy products after she was 9 months as well. Tried some cheese, and some yogurt. Which she absolutely LOVED. From there, I gradually introduced cow's milk. This was at 10 months old. She had already been drinking some water out of a sippy cup, so I put the homo milk in it for her mid-morning snack (with some fruit or mum mum or whatever) in place of a breastfeeding session. She had already started to wean anyway, so my concern wasn't that was going to go hungry. Her morning nap would run fairly close to lunch so it wasn't a problem knowing she'd be getting her lunch an hour to an hour and a half later! After she took to the mid-morning, I added a late afternoon cow's milk...and then dropped the right before bedtime breastmilk at around 11 months. And then finally after she turned a year -- well about a week or so later, dropped the morning wake up breastfeed and instead she gets a cup of milk and her baby cereal or toast and fruit. She's always been a really good eater, so I have not been concerned about the lack of iron. She still most mornings gets the iron-fortified baby cereal. But even that now, I'm starting to replace with other breakfast items. Good luck!

Karena - posted on 08/16/2009

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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waitingf untill after 12 months. The following is from the Kellymom site.

"Cow's milk is more specific to a baby cow than a baby human. Cow's milk formula is based on cow's milk but has been engineered to be closer to human milk (still a ways off, but closer). Many infants still have problems with cow's milk formula (allergies, GI problems, etc.). Babies who are exposed to cow's milk before their first birthday are more likely to be anemic, have diarrhea or vomiting, and/or experience an allergic reaction (the proteins in milk are more numerous than those in other milk products, such as the yogurt). The excessive protein load in cow's milk can also overload a baby's kidneys. It is deficient in vitamins C, E, and copper. It is harder to digest as well, often causing intestinal blood loss. A number of studies have also indicated that early introduction of cow's milk may contribute to the development of Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus."

Angie - posted on 08/14/2009

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Hi Christina,

I had the same problem...We started my daughter on cows milk a little before her 9th month. Everything is fine. Talk to your doctor though before you do. I was told by her doctor that it is fine to start them at 9 months on milk and eggs. I still breastfed a little bit, you don't want to stop cold turkey, but within a week she was drinking whole and sleeping SO MUCH BETTE! :) Watch her...and if you can tell there are signs of her having an allergy to it...ask your doctor about other options. But I doubt if she is doing well on those things there is going to be a problem. Another thing, my husband had to most of the bottle stuff...she wouldn't eat from the bottle when I was around because she knew where the food was.



Honestly I wouldn't listen to others about not giving her cows milk...but that is just my opinion

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Amanda - posted on 08/14/2009

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My son is 9 1/2 months old, and I just saw our doctor 3 weeks ago and he said it was fine to start introducing Homo milk, but do it slow. He even suggest mixing it with some water when you first start introducing it because cow's milk can be very hard on a baby's digestion(especially breastfed), so it allows the baby's body to learn how to digest it better. But, I would encourage you to keep breastfeeding until at least 1 yr old. The baby needs all the extra nutrients that you can provide from you milk. As for the milk supply diminishing, I also feel that mine is dwindling because my son is eating so much solid food now, that he simply isn't needing as much from me....on the days where I feel that my supply is not meeting his demand I take Fenugreek capsules(an herb) and it helps build up my milk supply, you can also get a Nursing tea with a bunch of hers to help you as well. Good luck with the transition....do it slow and I'm sure you'll both do fine.

btw your daughter is gorgeous. :)

Alicia - posted on 08/14/2009

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I did it by starting to give just an ounce at a time, every other day, for a few weeks to make sure my son could handle it. Once he seemed ok with it, I slowly dropped one feeding at a time and added in milk instead, during a snack or before bed. I did the day time feedings first b/c I figured those would be easier than early morning and nighttime.

Keep in mind that milk is MUCH tougher on baby's system than breastmilk/formula. It is harder to digest, even more so that cheeses/yogurts which have the tough proteins already broken down and sugars more digested. That is one of the reasons most docs say to wait till 1 year. I wonder if it isn't so much that your supply has decreased and is resulting in less nourishment for your baby so much as it has decreased because he doesn't take in/need as much if he is eating more solids.
I'd say give the doc a call before started milk at 9 months, but I am sure he/she'd say to wait b/c that is the "standard response!"

Lorilynne - posted on 08/14/2009

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"One of the main reasons you should wait until after baby is 1 year old to introduce milk as a formula/breast milk replacement is that milk/dairy hinders the absorption of iron in the body. Milk is also much harder for baby to digest than breast milk or infant formula.

Milk by itself does not contain all the nutrients of breast milk or formula and should never be used as a substitute until after 1 year of age. The cooking of the food that contains the milk will aid in breaking down the milk proteins so that many babies who are 8 months+ are able to have baked goods that contain milk.

Cow milk hinders the absorption of Iron and can cause anemia. Iron is crucial for baby's healthy development. Besides the risk of iron deficient anemia, if your baby drinks cow milk to replace breast milk and/or formula, baby will not receive enough Vitamin E or enough EFAs (essential fatty acids). These nutrients are also crucial to healthy growth and development.

Your baby would also receive levels of protein and sodium that would be too high for baby's fragile system to handle. Cow milk protein is very difficult for an infant to digest and absorb. While formula may be cow milk based, the proteins are "pre-digested" and cultured in a way that make baby's tummy better able to tolerate them. Believe it or not, the levels of sodium (and potassium) in cow milk are very high. Too much sodium might cause an infant's kidneys to fail and as we know, high levels of sodium can lead to high blood pressure.

These are a few of the reasons why the AAP and other pediatric authorities do not want babies to drink milk as a replacement until 12 months of age. As you know, breast milk is the most perfect food for infants and babies could survive on breast milk alone for the first 12 months. Formula, while not the perfect food like breast milk, has been created with the crucial and essential nutrients that an infant needs to grow healthy and maintain a proper nutritional status."



Your milk supply may not be diminishing. If baby eats lots of different solid type foods, she isn't going to want or need as much breastmilk. At nine months, my son was only nursing about 3 times a day. He's about 2 weeks from turning 1 and he only wants to nurse once or twice a day now. Start giving your daughter sippy cups now if she hasn't been using them already. That way you can wean directly from the breast to the cup. I would do a gradual wean, start cutting out one feeding at a time so you don't have to deal with engorgement. Go a couple days or a week before you cut out the next feeding. We're down to only the night feeding right now and I suspect that is going to be the hardest for us to cut out.

Michelle - posted on 08/14/2009

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i wouldn't do it having a child with milk allergies you are causing your self a lot of pain and suffering on both of your parts if she has a reaction everything from internal bleeding to horrible diaherra liver damage etc

Jennifer - posted on 08/14/2009

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It's my understanding that doctors don't want children to drink whole milk until they are at LEAST 12 months old. SO...if you want to wean from breastfeeding, I suggest you go to formula or try to stick out the breastfeeding for the full 12 months. Are you weaning because you feel like your milk supply is diminishing or because you're ready (or both?). I weaned my first son around 9 months and my second at 12 months. Now, I wish I had stuck with the breast feeding longer for my first son.



When I weaned, I switched out one feeding a week until we were only doing bedtime and mornings. Because he was at daycare, he was used to taking a bottle and had some formula from probably 11 months on. I gradually changed out the day time bottles to day time cups of milk (but would only switch out one feeding at a time).



I think the key is doing it gradually. You don't want to shock the little one by suddenly stopping all nursing and offering only a sippy cup of milk! I hope all goes well for you and your little one!!!

Micaela - posted on 08/13/2009

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My understanding is that cow's milk is fine after nine months, and homogenized milk is recommended (no 2%, 1%, or skim milk for baby). There is a risk of iron deficiency as cow's milk does not provide the same iron as breast milk so it is important to ensure she is getting iron from other foods she is eating, i.e., spinach, beans, meats, fish, iron fortified cereals, etc. Also, my suggestion would be to introduce milk as you have introduced other foods: gradually, in small amounts, increasing as she accepts more. My son is only 7 1/2 months but I plan to allow him to guide the weaning process so that it happens as naturally and as stress free as possible. As I assume is happening in your situation, I expect that as he eats more and more solid foods he will require less and less breast milk and so my supply will decrease according to his decreasing needs to the point where I can easily wean him when breastfeeding will not be such a major routine and comfort for him as it is now. That is my plan anyway:) Hope this helps. Good luck!

Sara - posted on 08/13/2009

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Has she started on bottles or sippies yet? I started the transition by adding 1 oz of cow's milk to my daughter's bottles of pumped milk for daycare. Gradually over a series of weeks, I increased the cow's milk, and decreased the pumped milk. She now gets sippies of milk during the day, and I nurse her first thing in the morning and before bed.

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