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How to Start Your 1-Year-Old on Cow's Milk

By Hillary Marshall ; Updated April 18, 2017
Give your baby milk in a cup or bottle.

Until your baby is a year old, the best thing for him is breast milk or formula, because infants under 1 year of age need nutrients that are not found in cow’s milk. As long as your pediatrician gives you the OK, you can introduce cow’s milk into your little one's diet right after her first birthday. It's best to start your baby on whole milk (rather than low-fat) because it contains fat that is essential to her growth and brain development. KidsHealth.org recommends feeding your 1-year-old between 2 and 3 cups of whole milk daily.

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Consult your child’s pediatrician as to whether or not he is ready for cow’s milk. Babies who drink milk-based formulas shouldn’t have any trouble transitioning. Babies who are breastfed, or drink soy-based formula, might need to transition to soy milk or rice milk instead of cow’s milk.

Mix 1/3 cup of cow’s milk with 2/3 cup formula or breast milk. Cow’s milk has a different taste and texture than both breast milk and formula. Feeding cow’s milk to your baby without transitioning could cause her to develop an aversion to it.

Change the ratio of cow’s milk to breast milk or formula slowly. This enables your little one to develop a taste for cow’s milk. A slower transition is suggested for breastfed babies and babies who consume soy-based formula. This makes it easier for your baby’s digestive system to tolerate the cow’s milk.

Sneak milk into your child’s diet if he is resistant to drinking it. WhatToExpect.com recommends giving your baby milk in his cereal. You can also try giving him flavored milk like chocolate or strawberry.

Resist allowing your child to cart a sippy cup (or bottle) of milk around. Instead, only offer milk in a cup at time of day you know he is hungry. For instance, give your baby his milk an hour before a meal.

Things You Will Need

  • Formula or breast milk
  • Cup or bottle
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About the Author

Hillary Marshall has been writing professionally since 2006. Before writing instructional articles online, she worked as a copywriter and has been published in "Ideal Living" "Sass" "Science Edge" and "Shopping Cents" magazines along with countless websites including Gadling a blog by the Huffington post. Marshall studied early childhood education at the Stratford Career Institute.

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