One pudgy finger in the air means thumbs-up for milk.
It's breast milk or formula, or a combination of both, for babies until they hit their landmark first birthday. With one wondrous year of life under their belts, or, elastic waistbands, it is now officially okay to add whole milk to your child's dietary repertoire. The wait-until- age-one advisory is in place because the onset of food allergies and anemia are less common occurrences after a child's first birthday.
Generally, after age 1, your child should be drinking between 16 and 24 ounces of whole milk a day and getting lots of nourishment from a good variety of solid foods. And don't worry about the fat! Babies need it. You may be surprised to learn the amount of fat in whole milk. If we called whole milk by its fat percentage, we would be running to the store for a gallon of 4%. It is really important not to switch your child to low-fat milk before the age of 2, as that little central nervous system is still forming nerve pathways that eventually will result in fine motor skills! Some doctors even recommend waiting to give lower fat dairy products until after your baby has turned 3 years old. (Note: Recommendations vary among pediatricians, and your doctor will base hers on your baby's individual circumstances. Dietary advice is medical advice, and it is always best to make these decisions with the support of your baby's pediatrician at her one-year visit.)
Pulling off the old switcheroo...
Hello, Big Boy cup!
Pediatricians typically recommend that weaning from a baby bottle occurs between the ages of 12 and 15 months, but it is all right if it has not happened by then. Recommendations are just that, and you are absolutely NOT the only parent with a child older than one year still drinking from a baby bottle. Think of it this way, if your wee one is using a cup to drink some of the time, you have already accomplished one of the most difficult parts of weaning. If your toddler is still taking a bottle to bed, just make sure it contains only water, so those new pearly whites stay healthy.
Cold Turkey is for sandwiches... To stop the bottle, a gradual, tapering weaning schedule is best. Any sudden or drastic change is extremely difficult for babies of this age. That is not to say that this will necessarily be easy. So, over several weeks, decrease the bottles you offer, replacing them with a combination of cups of milk and snacks, until the bottle is phased out entirely.
When the moment arrives that the bottle has gone "bye-bye," a little compassion and gentle understanding go a long way. This is a trying time for your youngster and you. For sanity's sake, it is certainly okay to temporarily keep expectations for behavior in the moderate-to-low range! All the cuddling and special quiet time that has gone hand in hand with bottle-feeding should continue. Your baby will still associate one with the other for a time, which will probably cause some temporary confusion and frustration. But that all-important snuggly closeness shouldn't stop merely because bottle-feeding has. Plan a few outings during this transitional period to take his mind off things, like a trip to the store to pick out a brand
Chances are, your baby will not roll into the new regimen without at least some protest. So, don't be surprised if he refuses to drink milk from a cup for several days; there is no need to get discouraged. Your baby will adapt. In a wink, he'll be drinking exclusively from a cup like a pro.
A word on transitions...
There is no one like your baby. Every child is a unique and wonderfully complex little individual, and so develops in his or her own custom-designed way. All topics discussed here should be considered as opinion only. Always seek help directly from your own doctor, for any health concerns or questions.