Breastmilk to Whole Milk: Help Baby Make the Transition!

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Switching my son from breastmilk to whole milk WAS HARD, but it didn’t have to be! I breastfed him until he was 15 months old. At this point I was only nursing him first thing in the morning and before he went to bed because he was eating table foods and drinking water.

My initial plan was to stop breastfeeding once he was a year old. He even seemed uninterested in breastfeeding months before I quit. The reason I continued was because I COULDN’T GET HIM TO DRINK WHOLE MILK. He acted so disgusted when I would give him a sippy cup full of whole milk.

I talked to several mamas, his pediatrician, and used trial and error to try to figure out how I could get him to stop refusing, and to start drinking whole milk! After compiling all of their suggestions, I made a list that I hope is also helpful for you and your baby! 

*Please ask your pediatrician if your child is at an appropriate age to transition to whole milk. Babies usually start around 1 year old. 

This Transitioning to Whole Milk blog post includes:

How to Make the Whole Milk Transition!

Mix Breast Milk with Whole Milk:

Use whatever your child usually drinks out of, whether that is a sippy cup or a bottle. Start with a mixture of breastmilk and just one ounce of whole milk. If that goes well, gradually start adding more whole milk and less breastmilk over time. 

Mix Water with Whole Milk:

Using the same format as above, give your child water with just a little bit of whole milk. Start with just a splash of milk so it’s very watered down. Then, slowly add whole milk to the water in the days following, decreasing the amount of water each time.

Try Different Brands of Whole Milk:

Did you start with off-brand milk or something organic? Try a name brand like Mayfield! This is what worked best for one of my friends! She bought this expensive Organic milk with added vitamins at first. Her baby rejected it until she went with Mayfield Whole Milk! 

Test Out Different Temperatures of Whole Milk:

If your child is used to getting breastmilk by breastfeeding, they are receiving the milk warm. Try giving your baby whole milk that is also warm in their bottle or sippy cup. My son’s sippy cup wouldn’t fit in our bottle warmer so I heated it using a bottle and then poured it into his sippy cup. 

Different Flavors of Whole Milk:

Add in some chocolate or strawberry flavor syrup to the whole milk. Hopefully your baby will like it and then you can slowly start decreasing the amount of flavor! Or buy already made chocolate or strawberry milk and dilute it with regular whole milk in the days following.  

Test Out Different Kinds of Cups and Bottles: 

If your child is used to taking breastmilk from a bottle, make the transition easier by also putting the whole milk in a bottle at first.

My child only wanted to breastfeed and never took bottles very well. He does like ice water though! He LOVES drinking ice water out of this sippy cup. So, I put the whole milk in his sippy cup instead of trying to reintroduce the bottle. 

And Lastly, Here’s What Worked for Us When Transitioning our Baby from Breastmilk to Whole Milk…


Stop Giving Baby ALL Milk for a Few Days:

Finally, I decided I would stop breastfeeding my son completely and make sure to give him yogurt, or other calcium-rich foods. Since he wasn’t accepting cow’s milk either, he wasn’t getting ANY milk for a few days and getting calcium-rich foods instead. 

It never phased him that I quit breastfeeding. He never really showed signs of wanting to nurse again. Also, I never had any physical pain myself when I quit breastfeeding, because I stopped so gradually! Yay! 

After about a week of no milk whatsoever, I set a sippy cup of whole milk out with his meal.

And what did that little stinker do?

He picked up the cup and started drinking the whole milk.

I never had a problem with getting him to drink whole milk again. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the break between going from mama to cow?

If you are racking your brain to figure out how to get your kids to drink milk, try it and let me know if it works for you too! You can pump and store the breastmilk in the freezer, in case you’re not ready to fully commit to ending breastfeeding.

A Tip if Your Child Misses the Comfort of Breastfeeding

Give Them a Snack Pouch:

If you try the tip above and stop breastfeeding, your baby may be upset about not having the comfort of nursing.

Sometimes my son would wake up really early in the morning and nursing was how I was getting him back to sleep. He would only do this once every few weeks.

So instead of breastfeeding, I would get an applesauce pouch and feed him applesauce while I rocked him. It worked and he would go back to sleep for a while. It helped our breastfeeding to whole milk transition and it got him back to sleep quickly! 

*Make sure to rule out a lactose allergy:

Please make sure your child doesn’t have a lactose allergy. Does he/she show signs that their stomach is hurting after they’ve had whole milk?

We gave our son small amounts of whole milk, yogurt, etc at a time to help him get used to it. It did seem to make his stomach upset at first. He would spit up and it smelled AWFUL. We introduced it in small amounts. Check with your pediatrician if you have concerns.

Now my son drinks several cups a day of milk with no problem!

I hope that one of these tips is what works for you and your sweet baby or just helps the transition be a smooth one! Change can be hard, even for little ones! You’ve got this Mama!

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The Baby Whole Milk Transition doesn't have to be a struggle! Here are lots of different ways on how to start giving baby regular milk gradually! #baby #toddler #whentogivebabywholemilk

The Baby Whole Milk Transition doesn't have to be a struggle! Here are lots of different ways on how to start giving baby regular milk gradually! #baby #toddler #whentogivebabywholemilk


2 thoughts on “Breastmilk to Whole Milk: Help Baby Make the Transition!”

  1. My baby just turn one and im having a tough time. She will take two sips of whole milk then throw it then with 2% she wont drink it at all. She always want to feed off of me and i need help cause im ready to stop.

    1. Have you tried any of the suggestions in the post? Mixing it with chocolate or strawberry syrup and gradually taking away the syrup if she likes it? I’m sorry you are having a tough time, I’ve been there too!

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