Bye-Bye, Bottles. Hello, Whole Milk!
As I watched the twins gulp down what I knew to be their last formula bottle ever, my heart started to hurt a little. This, among many other new milestones, meant that my kids were no longer babies. This meant that they were full-blown toddlers! I must admit, weaning Joules and Ames off of their bottles was tremendously easier than I ever expected it to be. Their very last bottle was right before they turned 13 months old. How did we have such a seamless transition from formula/bottles to whole milk, you ask? Well, I’m here to share the details – hopefully this helps some of you!
First, some tips about transitioning to whole milk:
Transition from formula to whole milk typically occurs around 12 months
Whole milk is recommended at first (as opposed to 1%, 2%, or skim milk) due to the high fat concentration needed for brain development
Continue whole milk until 2 years old, then can consider lower fat option (unless otherwise instructed by pediatrician)
Beware: Too much cow’s milk can lead to iron deficient anemia as it does not have much iron in it
Around 1 year of age, toddlers should be drinking 16-24 oz of cow’s milk/day
Try to avoid putting whole milk in a bottle IF you can; use a sippy cup instead to make the transition quicker.
Offer whole milk cold IF you can. If you get them used to whole milk being warmed like their bottles were, then this may make the transition more difficult.
There are TWO common ways to transition from formula to whole milk:
1) Mixing whole milk and formula together in increasing amounts over time in a sippy cup until they’re drinking all whole milk (i.e. start with 25% whole milk + 75% formula, then increase to 50% whole milk + 50% formula, etc).
2) Remove formula bottles one at a time gradually over time and replace with a sippy cup of whole milk for each removed bottle until they’re off bottles completely (this is what our pediatrician recommended, and this is how we did it! Worked great.)
Here is a timeline of exactly what we did at our house:
At ~11 months:
We offered the twins 4 bottles of formula per day of 7 oz each (at 7AM, 11AM, 2:30PM, 6PM) in addition to 3 meals and 2 snacks per day. Whenever they had snacks, I would offer them a few ounces of water or apple juice in their sippy cups. They did this until shortly after they turned 12 months.
At ~12.5 months:
Shortly after their first birthday, I noticed the kids weren’t always finishing their bottles of formula. I attributed this to the fact that they were eating more and more solids, especially dairy (like yogurt and cheese). This is when I made the executive decision one random day that we would cut down to only 3 bottles (i.e. we removed the 2:30PM formula bottle first). This meant that each of the 3 remaining bottles were at mealtimes (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). I started offering whole milk in sippy cups in between meals. I always offer COLD whole milk – I’ve never warmed it like I did their formula bottles. At first, they only wanted small sips. But eventually, within ~1.5 weeks, they completely accepted it.
A few days before turning 13 months:
This was when I got pretty aggressive. The kids were being offered 3 bottles of 7 oz of formula per day. Although they were drinking most of it, they were also drinking their whole milk pretty well. We went from 3 bottles to ZERO in a matter of 3 days. On the first day, we went from 3 down to 2 (I removed the 11AM bottle; only leaving the 7AM and 6PM bottles). On day 2, I went from 2 to 1.5 bottles (essentially, they took one full bottle at 7AM and ½ a bottle at 6PM). On day 3, they drank their morning bottle and that was the VERY. LAST. ONE. They acted like they didn’t even notice the difference since we were feeding them so much food. Now, as of 13 months, we offer them 4-6 oz of cow’s milk ~3 times/day at mealtimes. They probably drink about 16 oz of cow’s milk per day now. Whole milk for the win!!
We use 3 different types of sippy cups. We initially wanted to explore which cups worked the best for the twins and we ended up finding multiple winners. Plus, options are always good. Here are the 3 sippy cups that both of my children LOVE:
1) NUK Learner Sippy Cup
This is probably the best kind to start with, as it’s designed for 6 months and up. The spout is soft, more similar to a nipple and the flow is easy. It’s spill-proof and has a venting system that helps reduce air-swallowing. Eventually, you may experience what we did which was the kids started to bite the spout, creating holes and leaks. It was a great cup to start with, though! You can purchase them here.
2) NUK Insulated Sippy Cup
When my kids started biting on their NUK Learner Sippy Cup, this was what we turned to next. This cup has a hard, bite-resistant spout. I also like this cup because it’s big and can hold a large volume of milk/water when we are on the go! You can purchase them here.
3) Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup
This is my favorite sippy cup that we currently use. It has a “360 design,” meaning the kids can drink from any angle on it (i.e. there’s no spout). And with no spout, there’s nothing to bite! Not going to lie, when I first got these cups, I had NO idea how they were supposed to drink from them as the design first appears a little confusing. But when we handed the cups to the kids, they immediately figured it out! LOL. There’s a sort of flap on the top that lifts when you suck, allowing the drink to flow through. We have the least number of spills with this type of cup! Highly recommend! You can purchase them here.
Transitioning away from bottles to cow’s milk and sippy cups isn’t always a bad transition. For us, it was very smooth. With persistency, time, and the right sippy cups, it was simple. It was probably one of the easiest transitions we’ve had to make with our kids. We’ll see if we can say the same for the pacifiers, though! ;)