transitioning from formula to whole milk

At some point around your baby’s first birthday, you’ll may start thinking about making the switch from either formula or breast milk to whole – usually cow’s – milk.  It’s kind of a big deal to finally be able to move on from formula especially – at least it was for me. Formula was expensive and I just wanted to move on because of that and other reasons. Moving to regular whole milk also meant to me that my Jai was growing up.   Of course, if I was able to, I would have continued to provide my own milk but for several months Jai was exclusively on formula and it was exciting to be moving on.

In researching how to make the transition as smooth as possible, I learned a lot.  That it was easier for breastfed babies to make the switch.  That it would probably not be the best idea to introduce a sippy cup at the same time for babies that were formula fed.  That it may be best to do it in a gradual way.

Today, I wanted to share what we did whiched worked really well.  Of course, this may or may not work for your baby.  There are a lot of factors to consider such as what you feel comfortable with, your parenting styles and beliefs…the baby himself.   Some kids may not need this gradual of a wean and some may need more.  We took it really slow and had great results.  But the key with this and most things related to parenting is just to  go with works for your child and you and it will all be ok.

The key for us was to mix the formula with the milk, but systematically.  For example, Jai takes an 8 ounce bottle of formula three times a day.  So on the first day, we mixed 7 ounces of formula with 1 ounce of organic whole milk.  All three bottles for day one were mixed in this way.  And since we wanted to go really slow for the easiest, most successful transition, we mixed bottles using this ratio of formula to milk for three days.  Then on day two, we mixed 6 ounces of formula with 2 ounces of organic whole milk.  This ratio again was used for three days.  We went on this way, decreasing the formula by one ounce and increasing the milk by one ounce every three days until the final day when Jai was completely drinking 8 ounce bottles of just organic whole milk.

This worked really well.  He had one major spit up during the entire process, and we think that was because of a big burp that he needed to get out while he was drinking.  Nothing more than that.   We were really pleased at how well he did and were happy that we stuck with our slow, gradual wean.  I want to mention that this process can work for breast-fed babies but again, a lot of people say that it’s much easier of a transition and you may not need to go as slow.

Of course, if you notice anything unusual during the transition, you should contact your baby’s pediatrician right away.

I would love you know what worked for you and your experiences making the transition from either formula or breast milk to whole milk too, so please share by leaving a comment below!

– Shraddha


  • Hetal

    My daughter is a little over 10 months and I have started nibbling with the idea of starting to wean her off formula and the bottle . My pediatrician has already given us the green light to start giving her cows milk , but I wanted to wait till she was a year old , as she is a poor eater , and taking off even the milk from her would mean she would be starving 🙁 . I like this idea of slow transition vs going cold turkey . How did you add the bottle weaning in this approach ? Is it a good idea to wait for that and not do it together ? My LO uses the bottle as her sleep aid , so I was wondering how can I get her to drink from a cup and then go to sleep ? Any suggestions ?

    • Shraddha

      Hi Hetal. Thanks for writing in! I know, it’s scary when your child is a poor eater. I was lucky in that sense, Jai eats everything in sight right now. And honestly, since we started the whole milk, he’s drinking less and taking more food. I guess that’s a good thing in a way. As far as the bottle, we haven’t transitioned to sippy cup for milk yet. He takes water from the sippy cup but not that much milk. We offer him milk with every meal, hoping that he will take more each time. Sometimes he does and other times, he just throws it. Also, I have one style sippy cup just for water and then another completely different one for milk. He was getting upset when he thought he was getting water out of his sippy cup only to learn it was milk. He didn’t like the surprise. Having two separate ones works better. I’ll keep you posted with whatever else I try that works. For now, we are still with bottles and transitioning slowly to sippy cups. The operative word being of course, SLOW. Thanks again and goodluck!

  • Shraddha

    Yes…try mixing it and let me know what you think. I hope it works out for you!!

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