You’ve done your research and found the best formula for your baby. It’s organic, non-GMO, and free from harmful additives. You’ve been feeding your baby this best-for-your-baby formula for some time now.
You know, though, that this formula feeding can’t go on forever. Your infant will become a toddler soon. And so you’re wondering: when should I stop feeding my baby formula?
Read on, because we’re letting you know here.
When should I stop feeding my baby formula?
The rule of thumb is to begin weaning your baby off of formula and onto cow’s milk at 12 months.
Why is 12 months the rule of thumb?
Because infants have trouble properly digesting cow’s milk. It’s got minerals and vitamins that are taxing on their immature kidneys.
Plus, it takes your baby until about 12 months before their diet is mature enough to forgo their nutrient-and-vitamin-rich formula routine. In that first year, formula provides the nutrients and vitamins that your baby needs, and wouldn’t be getting otherwise.
Can I wait longer than 12 months to stop feeding my baby formula?
There is some flexibility.
While it’s harmful to feed your baby cow’s milk before 12 months, it’s not that your baby absolutely must stop feeding on formula as soon as they’re a year old. Some parents feed their baby formula until 18 months and begin weaning then.
Much like breastfeeding, formula feeding is an intimate and individual experience between you and your baby. So you should study up on the facts and consult with your pediatrician, while still leaving room to trust your instincts, too. As you approach the 12-month mark and move beyond it, ask yourself: when should I stop feeding my baby formula? And see when you feel the best time is.
I don’t quite trust my instincts. How can I be sure my baby is eating well enough to wean?
Your one-year-old needs to be eating a balance of the same four basic food groups that you eat – fruits and vegetables, dairy, grains, and proteins. And your one-year-old needs to be consuming about 1000 calories per day.
Lean on your pediatrician to help you determine if your baby is receiving enough nutrients from their non-formula diet or not if you need to.
When I stop feeding my baby formula, what kind of milk should I replace it with?
When you do start feeding your baby cow’s milk, make it whole milk (or two percent milk), and not skim or one percent milk. Your brand new toddler needs a fattier milk to ensure their normal growth and brain development, especially if they’re a pickier eater.
Cow’s milk is the source of calcium and vitamin D that they need to build bone and teeth strength and muscle control. And it’s a source of proteins and carbohydrates, too, helping power them through their day.
Heads up: If your baby showed allergic reactions to cow’s milk based formula, check in with your pediatrician before introducing cow’s milk. The soy or hypoallergenic formula you’ve been feeding your baby might need to be replaced by a soy or hypoallergenic milk product. Together, you’ll figure out if your baby has outgrown this fairly common sensitivity to cow’s milk during infancy, or if your child has a longer-lasting (perhaps lifelong-lasting) sensitivity or allergy to milk.
What’s the best way to make the switch from formula to milk?
No matter when you choose to start making the switch (at 12 months, or 18 months, or sometime in between), the switch probably won’t (and doesn’t need to) happen all at once.
Together, you and your baby will make the switch from formula to milk slowly and surely.
Wean your baby off of formula by mixing some milk into the formula. Over time, adjust the proportions until you’ve got more milk than formula, and then mostly milk to formula. Eventually, you’ll graduate to just milk.
Especially if your baby isn’t loving the cow’s milk, consider sticking to straight formula at night, at least early on in the transition. Because your baby knows what a bottle is and has come to expect what a bottle is supposed to taste like – formula. So give your baby what they’re most craving at night, and it’ll help you both sleep through the night.
With everyone better rested, there’ll be more energy to devote to weaning off formula during the day.
Should I be weaning my baby off the bottle at the same time that I stop feeding my baby formula?
And, actually, you can begin weaning your baby off a bottle even before you begin weaning your baby off formula.
As early as six months, or once your baby can sit up on their own, you can introduce them to drinking from a sippy cup. Between their regular bottle feedings, fill a sippy cup with water or formula, and watch them work out how to use it.
Sure, most of the liquid might end up all over them, or on the floor, and that can be frustrating for both of you. Your baby really needs this practice, though. It can take awhile before drinking from a sippy cup feels natural for them.
It’s ideal if your baby is already drinking from a sippy cup (at least some of the time) by the time you begin weaning them off the formula. Because the bottle habit can be hard to break, especially at the same time you’re weaning off formula.
Prolonged bottle use can get in the way of teeth development, so your baby shouldn’t drink from a bottle beyond 18 months.
And prolonged bottle use is linked to early-childhood obesity, too. Bottles have a way of encouraging your baby (now toddler) to drink more milk than is necessary, or even healthy. Your one-year-old only needs two to three cups of milk a day, so long as they’re eating a balanced diet, too. If they’re still thirsty, offer water instead of more milk.
So don’t drag your heels on this bottle bit. The longer your toddler drinks from a bottle the harder it will be to break that habit.
We’re here to help you nurture a healthy baby.
You asked: when should I stop feeding my baby formula? And we answered.
Now you’re asking: where can I find a supplier of all natural, organic, GMO-free child care products? And we’re answering: you’ve found one in us.
We believe in providing authentic, high-quality products to help your baby grow strong and healthy. We do that with fast shipping and reasonable prices on baby formula brands that are hard to find in the US, like Hipp, Holle, and Aptamil. Nothing is too good for your child, and we see no reason why children in the U.S. should miss out on all the natural infant formulas Europe has to offer.
So, get your baby formula from us.
And when your friend asks: when should I stop feeding my baby formula? You’ll be able to help.
And when your friend asks: where should I get my baby formula? You’ll know where to point them.
If you’ve got more formula questions, we’ve got more answers. Just get in touch.