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How to Transition From Formula to Cow’s Milk

How to Transition From Formula to Cow’s Milk

This article will guide you through the process of introducing your child to pasteurized cow’s milk, offering tips for a smooth transition for your baby.

At 12 months of age, babies are ready to start transitioning from infant formula to cow's milk. This can be an exciting time, but it's also important to make the switch gradually to help avoid upsetting their tummies. Let’s dive into some tips for transitioning from infant formula to milk!

Tips for Transitioning From Infant Formula to Cow’s Milk

Here are some helpful tips to make the transition from formula to milk a success:

  • Start with a taste test around 12 months old:

    Introduce your baby to a small amount of whole milk in a sippy cup around 12 months to familiarize them with the taste and practice using a cup.

  • Serve milk at lukewarm temperature:

    Some babies may prefer warm milk, similar to their formula. Try offering lukewarm (slightly warmed) milk to see if they take to it better.

  • Take It Slow When Transitioning to Milk from Formula:

    A gradual approach is key. Here's a sample schedule to follow:

    • Days 1 & 2:

      Mix 75% formula with 25% whole milk in their bottles or sippy cups.

    • Days 3 & 4:

      Increase the milk to 50%, offering a 50/50 mix of formula and milk.

    • Days 5 & 6:

      Continue increasing the milk, offering a 75/25 mix (75% milk, 25% formula).

    • Day 7:

      If your baby tolerates the changes well, offer 100% whole milk.

When Do Babies Stop Drinking Infant Formula?

Most babies are ready to transition from formula to milk between 12 and 18 months old. However, every baby develops at their own pace. It’s always important to have an open dialogue with your pediatrician about your child’s diet to ensure you’re following the best guidance possible.

How to Tell When Your Baby is Ready to Stop Drinking Formula

Here are some indicators your baby might be ready to transition away from formula:

  • Your baby is eating a variety of solid foods: Solid foods should become their primary source of nutrition by their first birthday.
  • Your baby is gaining weight and meeting developmental milestones: Consistent weight gain and meeting developmental milestones are good indicators your baby is getting the nutrients they need.
  • Your baby likes the taste of milk: Chances are, your baby will start to prefer milk and other food to formula or breastmilk as they mature. Keep in mind it is recommended to limit cow's milk up to 16 oz per day (two cups).1

It’s also worth noting that some people simply don’t like the taste of milk–and that’s okay! You can continue the transition away from formula with other foods and beverages suitable for children, as recommended by your doctor.

Indicators Your Baby Isn’t Ready to Transition From Infant Formula

There are some situations where you might want to delay switching from formula:

  • Your baby isn’t gaining weight or meeting milestones: If your baby isn't gaining weight or meeting developmental milestones, consult your pediatrician. They may recommend continuing with infant formula and/or breastfeeding for a while longer.
  • Your baby hasn’t established a relationship with solid foods: If your baby isn't yet a fan of solid foods, it might be best to wait before completely switching from formula.
  • Your baby was born prematurely: Premature babies may have additional nutritional needs. Discuss your options with your pediatrician, and be prepared to give them more time to transition.
  • Your doctor recommends staying on formula due to digestion or absorption issues: If your baby has any digestion or absorption issues, your doctor might advise continuing formula.

Does My Baby Still Need Formula During Night Feedings?

Once your baby is established on whole milk and eating solids well, you can gradually wean them from nighttime formula feedings. Talk to your pediatrician for personalized advice on nighttime weaning.

Can I Give My Baby Plant-based or Non-Dairy Milk?

While plant-based milk alternatives are becoming increasingly popular, whole milk is the recommended choice for toddlers due to its essential nutrients like protein, fat, vitamin D, and calcium. Consult your pediatrician before introducing plant-based milk to your baby's diet, and be sure to read the ingredients of any plant-based milks carefully to monitor for any potential allergens.

Transition to More Savings With Enfamil Family Beginnings

We’re happy to see you transition your child away from infant formula, but that doesn’t mean you have to transition away from great savings and support in your parenting journey! Whether you’re expecting another baby or ready to continue giving your child the best start in life through toddlerhood, Enfamil Family Beginnings® is with you every step of the way. We can’t wait to welcome you to our family!


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All information on Enfamil, including but not limited to information about health, medical conditions, and nutrition, is intended for your general knowledge and is not a substitute for a healthcare professional's medical identification, advice, or management for specific medical conditions. You should seek medical care and consult your doctor or pediatrician for any specific health or nutrition issues. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment, care, or help because of information you have read on Enfamil.