My toddler has refused to drink milk since we made the switch from breast milk and formula to cow’s milk when she turned one, when the experts say it’s okay to first begin such a switch. We’ve tried everything, including special new cups, warm milk, chocolate and strawberry-flavored milk, and whole, 2%, skim, almond and soy milk, and wasted a lot of money in the process.
She just simply doesn’t seem to like the taste of milk. While this could just be a quirk of hers, I blame how we made the transition to milk.
Our mistake, in my opinion: We dropped breast milk and formula cold turkey, and switched her full sippy cups and bottles of breast milk or formula straight to sippy cups and bottles filled solely with milk. Her first reaction was a grossed out face, and that has been her reaction to the liquid since.
This is why today’s hint is a tip for making the transition to milk that I only learned about after the fact and wish someone had mentioned to me before my daughter turned a year. The tip: Instead of dropping breast milk and or formula cold turkey, phase it out (think transition, not switch).
Here’s how the transition should work: Assuming you’ve already introduced the bottle and or sippy cup, give your little one a bottle or sippy cup filled mostly with formula or breast milk, and add in some whole milk (make the mix, say, 1/8 milk and 7/8 formula or breast milk).
Then, over a couple of weeks, gradually increase the proportion of the liquid that is milk. I like how the Circle of Moms editors put it in this Pop Sugar post: Introduce milk in “baby sips,” and moms who did this, like blogger Confessions of a Dr. Mom, testify that it works (if only I had read their tips last summer).
If you haven’t introduced a cup or bottle yet, I say go with introducing a cup since you’ll eventually need to transition bottles out anyway. In this case, you may want to transition to the cup with the breast milk your little one is used to, and then begin the gradual switch to regular milk once the cup is firmly adopted. This how-to from blogger Mommy Shorts can help with the cup transition, as can these five tips from blogger Who’s That Mom.
Just like everything else in parenting (from teaching your little one to sleep through the night to helping him or her graduate from the toddler bath hating phase), making the switch to milk is generally a drawn-out process rather than a quick change (let me know if you’ve experienced something different in the comments section below).
To be sure, as my favorite pediatric advise nurse, Nurse Judy, points out on her blog, little ones don’t necessarily need to get their nutrients from milk. They can get the required calcium and fat from other sources like string cheese, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt. In fact, these are my go-to milk replacements of choice, along with giving my daughter cereal for breakfast mixed with milk (for some reason, she’s fine with whole, almond and soy milk mixed with cereal).
Other sneak-it-in methods to try if your little one turns out to be like mine: smoothies and milk-based sauces, suggests Babble.com, and mac and cheese and mashed potatoes, fun ideas from Heidi Murkoff at What to Expect (author of my current go-to parenting guide).
Still, milk can be a much more frugal option, if your tot is willing to take it. So I say, if you’re about to hit the switching to milk stage, play it safe and do it gradually.
Meanwhile, I’m still trying to reintroduce milk as a drink to my daughter every so often to see if it will finally catch on. Next on my list: this delicious sounding cinnamon foam milk concoction I read about on Parent Hacks, milk mixed with vanilla and a babyccino recipe from Dariela Cruz of the blog Mami Talks.
What are your tips for making the switch to milk?