When you should stop giving your child formula and move onto cows milk

Kate - posted on 12/10/2010 ( 50 moms have responded )

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my son is now 14 months and still has 3 bottles a day 1 in the morning, 1 at nap time and 1 to go to sleep with. Is it ok that he is still drinking formula, or should he be on cows milk now? he eats plenty of food throughout the day and drinks water and juice during the day. so should I leave him with his formula or change it?

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Firebird - posted on 12/10/2010

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My daughter had several different pediatricians because keeping with one was damn near impossible where we were living, and not one of them told me that a baby should be on cow's milk and sippy cups exclusively at 12 months. The recommendation is that they can start on milk at 12 months, like Jodi said, not that they must. And my daughter's 5 different pediatricians all told me that the bottles should go when Rhiannon was ready for it. As it was, she was off the bottle at 13 months simply because I got tired of washing them, and her cups. She didn't need them anymore, and she had no trouble giving up her bottles, so out they went.
I personally wouldn't have let her stay on bottles past 2 years, but if she refused to give them up before then, I see no harm in 2-3 bottles a day, if they aren't interfering with trying new foods. Rhiannon got her first sippy cup at 10 months and had no real trouble adapting. It just took her a few tries to get used to them. My daughter was also on the underweight side, she's tall and skinny. I wish I'd been a little more learned when she was a baby, I would have kept her on formula a little longer too. But like an idiot, I took the advice of someone who I didn't really trust to begin with. Do what you feel is best for your child, recommendations are just that.... recommendations. Guidelines, if you will. There is no 'exception to the rule' because they're not 'rules' and they aren't right for every single baby.

Sherri - posted on 12/10/2010

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Almost every single pediatrician Jodi.



My pediatrician also told me to take all my children off formula at 12mo's however, my children had no other health issues and were not underweight. They just didn't need the extra calories any longer past 12mo's.

Jodi - posted on 12/13/2010

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"Jodi~ breastmilk changes as a child's needs change. Tradition formula is designed for the needs of babies up to 1 year but they now have toddler formula. And nursing from a breast is completely different from drinking from a bottle. The design of bottle nipples can cause orthodontic problems which should be taken into consideration."

Callie, I am fully aware of all that. I was actually referring to the comfort factor. And research has shown that breastfeeding can ALSO cause tooth decay. With regard to the orthodontic problems, it is only an issue if your child is drinking from a bottle more than a few times a day. It really isn't going to have ANY negative orthodontic effect if they drink a bottle for about 15 minutes a few times a day. In fact, I have prrof of that in my children :) Same with the tooth decay thing. Living proof right here.

So basically, as long as you manage it appropriately, there is absolutely nothing wrong with continuing with bottles AND continuing with formula.

Laura - posted on 12/11/2010

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As others have pointed out, pediatricians generally RECOMMEND (key word here) that babies wean from bottles and formula at 12 months. There is nothing wrong with removing the bottle/formula at a later time. Kate, your son is well past that recommendation age, so if you choose to switch from a bottle and formula you should be fine.



Be aware that there are other options to cow's milk: goat's milk is often better tolerated and digested than cow's milk. For kids that have any allergies (not just food allergies) soy, rice and almond milks are good choices. These milks are all fortified so they are nutritionally the same as whole milk. Dairy products create mucus in the body, so these plant-based milks can reduce the yucky stuff in little noses and throats. I used soy and rice milks when my daughter was little, instead of dairy, because she was prone to stuffy noses. It really helps! Good luck!

Sherri - posted on 12/11/2010

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I didn't need to Jodi my kids were all off the bottle and exclusively on a sippy cup by 11mo's. I never wanted them attached to such things.

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Desiree - posted on 12/16/2010

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My daughter was alergic to cows milk and regular formula so she was on a soy based formula. I was told to keep her on this formula till she was 2. so it varies for every child.

Stef - posted on 12/16/2010

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he said since neither of my children were underweight by any means(both in the 90th to 100th percentile, Even though my daughter was a premie), that they didnt need the calories and that it could promote weight gain that they should have.. He also said that formula has alot of vitiam d in it, as do alot of the foods we feed them and it might be too much.. He said by 1 children should be learning to eat mostly solids insted of falling back on the bottle.. The bottle he said can cause tooth decay( I had a pediatric dentist tell me the same) no matter how clean their teeth.. Unless you brush after every bottle.. and there were more... I gave in and let my son have his bottle back when he had to have two surguries, and then it took me til he was almost 3 to get it away again

Sherri - posted on 12/16/2010

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So Stef what were his reasons? I agree with you 100% just curious what he said.

Stef - posted on 12/16/2010

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I was also told by my doctor to take away the bottle and formula at 12 months.. And I did not just blindly follow what he said.. I asked him tons of questions.. COnsidering he is the head of pediatrics for one of the #1 childrens hospitals in the us.. I think he might just know what he is talking about.. But hell, he just has MD behind his name and deals with tons of kids...

Sherri - posted on 12/15/2010

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Wow Faten where are you from? Here in the US you are told not to introduce until 1 yr of age.

User - posted on 12/15/2010

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hey ya i think he should be on homo milk my son and daughter both had homo milk at the age of 8 months and my son is now 14 months and he loves homo u should try it u need to stick with the homo if u put him on it dont change try it out

Jodi - posted on 12/14/2010

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Emma, I used to give Taylah a spoon while I fed her with a spoon, and she eventually did it herself. In fact, she wouldn't LET me do it, LOL.

Callie - posted on 12/14/2010

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I think it all depends on the child. They all develop at different rates. Just offer silverware when you give him his meal. He will eventually give it a try and start using it. I started giving my daughter toddler silverware at about 10-11 months. She actually started using them at approx. 12 months. Sometimes she still decides to use her hands instead of her silverware. It can get messy especially when she's eating yogurt.

Stifler's - posted on 12/14/2010

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I have no idea what I'm going to do. I wish I came with child raising software. Logan is 10 1/2 months and always seemed to hate bottles so he has those sippy cups with no handles and just holds them and drinks the milk. But he WILL NOT feed himself with a spoon. When do they start getting interested in feeding themselves with a spoon?

Sherri - posted on 12/14/2010

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Good for you Brandee we threw all sippy cups in the trash by two years. We started them on regular cups at 16mo's and we had no need for sippy cups once they reached 2 yrs.

[deleted account]

No more formula...he's not benefiting from it anymore because he is eating a variety of foods that are providing all the nutrients he needs. Also take the bottle away...he's too old for it...the longer you wait, the harder it will be later on. Homogenized (whole) milk out of a sippy cup is what he needs now

Brandee - posted on 12/14/2010

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We did some toddler formula for a little while, but gradually changed to whole milk.. We took away his bottles completely at 12 months and changed to sippy cups.. around 18 months we started to introduce a no lid cup with some water in it.

[deleted account]

i started switching my daughter at atound 11 months (with mixed formula/cows milk) but the milk upset her stomach, so we stopped giving her cows milk and gave her goats milk instead, which she did great with but its super expensive. at her 1 yr checkup, i talked to her ped about it and he said she wasnt allergic to cows milk as her formula was milk based and she was growing amazingly well. when she was 13 months we tried cows milk again and she did fine with 2%, i guess it was the fat in the whole milk upsetting her tummy. she was completely weaned off formula and bottles by 14 months, as i am a "formula in bottles, milk in cups" mom... she had a few tears, but it was an ok transition. my niece still has 2-3 bottles a day though, but shes been on cows milk since she was 10 months. so its really up to you, its not like hes going to be graduating with a bottle hanging out of his mouth right? you could try a 12+ month formula if you havent already though good luck :)

Jodi - posted on 12/14/2010

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"I have never seen toddlers with formula all day but I have certainly seen milk, juice, kool aid in a bottle etc. as much as they want out of a bottle all day long."

Yes, and that is a different discussion altogether :)

Sara - posted on 12/13/2010

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My son's pediatrician suggested putting him on whole milk (he has no known food allergies) at 12 months, so that's what I did. He took to it just fine, and actually preferred milk over formula.

Sherri - posted on 12/13/2010

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I have never seen toddlers with formula all day but I have certainly seen milk, juice, kool aid in a bottle etc. as much as they want out of a bottle all day long.

Stifler's - posted on 12/13/2010

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I'd like to know exactly who lets their kid run around with a bottle of milk all day. Formula is supposed to be discarded after an hour.

Stifler's - posted on 12/13/2010

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They make formula for up to 3 years here I think? I'm not one to go that far really they say it's okay to change to whole milk at 12 months but I've never heard anything about that it's recommended to stop formula.

Bethan - posted on 12/13/2010

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Hiya, i switched to whole milk about a month ago, my daughter is 15 months old and she still has her morning and evening bottle.

Callie - posted on 12/13/2010

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The main reason they suggest you take away bottles at 1 is because the nipple on the bottle can disrupt/damage the teeth as they grow in. Tooth decay caused by bottles (bottle rot) happens when little ones are allowed to carry a bottle with milk (even worse juice) around all day and when they take it to bed at night. They do have toddler formula now with has more nutritional value than cows milk. I have decided (with the support/encouragement from my pedi) not to start my daughter (13months) on cows milk but to wait till she decides to wean herself from nursing. Like with everything else you're the mom you have to decide whats best for your child. They're recommendations and should be taken with a grain of salt just like the opinions you get from all the well meaning moms (myself included).
Jodi~ breastmilk changes as a child's needs change. Tradition formula is designed for the needs of babies up to 1 year but they now have toddler formula. And nursing from a breast is completely different from drinking from a bottle. The design of bottle nipples can cause orthodontic problems which should be taken into consideration.

Bonnie - posted on 12/13/2010

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Children can be on formula until 2 years. There isn't anything wrong with it persay. Most doctors will say switch at 12 months because that is when it is safe to switch to cow's milk. Both my boys were drinking cow's milk by 11/12 months and fully drinking from a sippy cup only by 11 months.

Steph - posted on 12/13/2010

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i also took my sons bottles away and he only gets sippy cups and has since he was about 13 months.

Steph - posted on 12/13/2010

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I took my sons Formula away at 11 months. if not earlier.. he got sick from it, and doctors said i could try giving him VD milk. i would change it, start giving him whole milk..:)

Mia - posted on 12/11/2010

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12months we were told to change to cows milk in bottles but can be adding cows milk from 9months to their cereal etc and giving them yoghurt and cheese also.

Iysha - posted on 12/11/2010

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My daughter's pediatrician said it was okay to give formula since we (hubby and i) hardly drink milk and dont usually buy it. We have tons of formula still left and she said it was perfectly fine to continue giving her that if she will take it and it isnt expired. That was at her 15 month check up. Whole Milk is cheaper for us to buy instead of buying cans of formula so when all the formula is used up, she will be only drinking cows milk. Bottles should not be used all the time, start to wean off them, it's bad for teeth and babies need to learn to use the different muscles in their mouth and understand how to use the cup.

Sharon - posted on 12/11/2010

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At 12mths I tried switching our little man to a 'toddler formula' (meant to have different nutritional value to the younger ones), but it didn't agree with his tummy, so we switched him over to cows milk then.

Theresa - posted on 12/11/2010

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Docs recommend 12 months. I would try switching if I were you. Milk is MUCH cheaper than formula. Try mixing half milk, half formula for a few days, then go down to 1/4 formula, than all milk. You should use whole milk. They need the extra fat for brain development.

[deleted account]

My nephew is 23 months old and still has a bottle at bedtime. Occasionally one during the day as well. It's half formula/half whole milk. Doctor's have reccomendations, but that's what they are... reccomendations, NOT laws that will permanently damage your child to go against (some things ARE that way, but most aren't). :)

Tabby - posted on 12/11/2010

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Kate, when you put your child on cow's milk all depends on the child. Someone I knew switched their daughter at 11 months because they were eating plenty of other foods and had a healthy weight. Another person I knew kept their daughter on it until she was 3 because she was small and had a hard time gaining weight. Ask your doctor when you should swtich your son. He should be able to tell you if he's getting enough nutrients from the food he eats or if he continues to need formula. They do make formula for up to 24 months so obviously there are still parents out there that keep their child on it for that long. I plan to keep my daughter on at least 8 oz of formula a night until she's 2 just so I can make sure she's getting enough nutrients. As for bottles, the reason they recommend to take your child off bottles at 12 months is because drinking the formula so slowly can cause tooth decay. A sippy allows the child to drink faster, therefore not letting the formula just sit in their mouth. If your son has teeth you should be either wiping them with gauze in the morning and at night or using some kind of baby tooth brush. I'm sure your doctor will be able to tell you when you should start weaning your son off bottles. Good Luck!

Sherri - posted on 12/11/2010

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My youngest has never drank cow's milk ever but was still off formula at a year. He still to this day doesn't drink milk but it isn't needed anyways. As long as they get their Vitamin D and calcium from other sources.

Louise - posted on 12/11/2010

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My daughter did not like cows milk and refused point blank to drink it, so she had a toddler milk until she was 20 months old, and then I finally weaned her off it by gradually mixing the formula with cows milk an ounce at a time until she was drinking more cows milk than formula. There is nothing wrong with keeping your child on formula as it has everything in it that he needs and has three times the amount of iron than cows milk. It is up to you really.

Kate - posted on 12/10/2010

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thank you ladies, this has helped I think ill take him into see the GP just to make sure he is the right wieght and all that and go from there. Thanks

Jodi - posted on 12/10/2010

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I'm curious, if your pediatricion recommended it, did you question why? Or did you just blindly follow his recommendations?

Sherri - posted on 12/10/2010

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Well then yours is the exception to the rule. My oldest two's pediatrician (as we switched offices when my oldest was 5) made absolutely no qualms about it off the bottle by 12mo's and so did my 2nd pediatricians office with my youngest. They were in two completely different towns and not affiliated with each other. Actually at my youngest son's 4mo visit they told me to start sippy cups at that point so they would be adept at it so that we could be assured they would be off by a year.

Jodi - posted on 12/10/2010

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In general, the only recommendation is because of possible damage to the teeth. However, as long as you are regularly cleaning your child's teeth, and do not put them to bed with the bottle, there is no issue with it. That is the only reason anyone recommends it. It has nothing to do with nutrition or any other issue.

Jodi - posted on 12/10/2010

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" Also they should be off bottles at 12mo's and be on sippy cups exclusively."



According to who Sherri? There is no rule about that. If it is ok to breastfeed until age 2, then it is ok to have bottles and formula too as far as I'm concerned.



Also, there is no recommendation that you must switch to cow's milk at 12 months. The recommendation is that you MAY switch to cow's milk at 12 months and not before.



I kept my daughter on formula until she was 18 months simply because she was always quite an underweight baby (and is now still an underweight child, so it is just her build), so I wanted to make sure she maintained her nutrients while she was experimenting with solid foods in her early toddler years.

Medic - posted on 12/10/2010

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Most recomendations are for formula and bottles to go at 12 months. If he is eating a balanced diet there is no need for the formula.

[deleted account]

Formula has more nutrients than cow's milk, so I don't see a problem w/ him only having 3 bottles of formula a day right now. If he's eating a balanced diet though, there is nothing wrong w/ gradually starting the switch.

Sherri - posted on 12/10/2010

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Pediatricians recommend stopping infant formula at 12mo's and switch to cow's milk. Also they should be off bottles at 12mo's and be on sippy cups exclusively.

Sarah - posted on 12/10/2010

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I would talk to your son's doctor & see what he/she recommends. When I took my son in for his 12 month checkup, his doctor told me to put him on whole milk. My son (also 14 months old) is still drinking from a bottle as well, because I just can't get him to drink enough milk from a sippy cup during the day. He gets two bottles of whole milk a day (1 at nap & 1 before bed). He probably gets on average about 16oz of whole milk a day.

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