Girl in children's kitchen

Holly making herself a drink in her big sister's kitchen.

MY WEAPONS of mass lactation look more like shrinking violets after a year of being sucked dry by Baby Holly. It’s the signal for her to transition from one old cow (me) onto a new cow (shiny plastic bottle in the fridge). Yes, goodbye free boobie juice.

That’s not to say I’m giving up breastfeeding just yet. We’ll be milking it for a while longer – pardon the pun. However, it is time to introduce the “other white milk’’ – aka, cow’s milk.

So far, it’s been a slow process. The first couple of times Holly wasn’t going to have a bar of not having her usual mid morning bazookas. She sprayed the cow’s milky goodness all over my face. Take that, Mum. This is despite having had cow’s milk on her cereal each morning for a while now.

Yesterday, I recalled a trick I used when Ella was weaning and put the warmed milk into a baby bottle instead of her sippy cup. It worked. She’s now on the road to saying goodbye to the best milk dispenser she’ll ever have. Ah yes, thanks for the mammaries, Mum.

Here are some other things I know about introducing cow’s milk to a one-year-old:

  • Tommee Tippee discovera Cups

    They're also good for chewing on!

    Introduce it gradually. What worked with Ella was dropping one feed per week. This has multiple benefits – your “girls’’ have time to adjust, it prevents them becoming engorged and the child’s tummy gradually becomes used to the richer cow’s milk.

  • If they refuse the milk, try giving it to them in a different cup or bottle. Although, our aim is to get Holly back onto her cup as soon as possible. But whatever works to start with.
  • Give your child pasteurised full-fat cow’s milk until aged two, by which stage they can go onto reduced fat milk.
  • We warm the milk in a container of hot water so it’s closer to the temperature of breast milk.
  • Offer the milk AFTER meals as cow’s milk is quite filling and could lead to a lesser amount of solids consumed.
  • There are lots of other ways to help your child meet their calcium intake requirements, including cheese, yoghurt, baked beans and tinned salmon. Variety is key.
  • Some children may be lactose intolerant. It’s best to see an expert if this is the case.
  • **UPDATE**: Have just seen the child health nurse this morning and she suggested giving Holly the milk straight from a glass. If she refuses, take it away and try again the next time.

I’m no expert, so if you want to learn more, I’d suggest you check out Milk Intake on the Huggies website or the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

What are your tips for introducing cow’s milk to a one year old?

Linking up Shae from Yay for Home’s Things I Know.

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40 Responses to Thanks for the mammaries, Mum: how to introduce cow’s milk to a one-year-old

  1. Caz says:

    Some good advice. My girls are now all happy cow milk drinkers. (well little pink has soya actually). right now we’re transitioning from full-cream to low-fat. There is always something new hey!!
    Caz recently posted..COOK BOOK REVIEW: 4 Ingredients Kids (Economical Meat loaf & 5 minutes Fettuccine Carbonara)My Profile

    • Kel says:

      It never seems to end, Caz. At the moment, I feel like our fridge is full of different milks!! Everyone seems to have something different!
      Hope the transition to low-fat is a smooth one. x

  2. Wonderful advice.
    Good luck with the transition xx.
    Me ‘N my Monkeys! recently posted..Things i know … … …My Profile

  3. My twins took to cows milk easily the problem is now convincing them they don’t need boobie! So over breastfeeding!
    Kate @ Puddles and Gumboots recently posted..Christmas – Tis’ The Season To Be Organised! Plus a Giveaway!My Profile

    • Kel says:

      Oh Kate, you poor thing. We’re not quite at that stage. Ella gave up the “girls” relatively easily from memory. It was me who had the problem. Will be interesting to see how it goes this time. x

  4. kirri says:

    Hi Kellie. All your puns are filled with milky goodness!
    kirri recently posted..It’s not your job to like me, it’s mineMy Profile

  5. veggie mama says:

    I really don’t know what I’m going to do.. probably keep breastfeeding because I HATE cow’s milk and we never have it at home. And I can’t get it out of my head that if I’m still making milk, why give her stuff from a cow? But I can’t imagine I’ll want to breastfeed forever, hence my dilemma! I wonder how she’ll go with soy. Man, nobody ever tells you that you have to make so many decisions haha xo
    veggie mama recently posted..Go Pink with Sundried Tomato and Cream Cheese-Stuffed MushroomsMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Oh, I’m hearing you, VM. Why buy cow’s milk when you can make it for free? Plus, breastfeeding is the best diet I’ve been on. I’m dreading the day I’ll have to start counting calories again!
      I have a friend whose children are lactose intolerant and they happily drink soy. Worth looking into, anyway. xx

    • rachel says:

      @Veggie Mama – one of my vegan friends has put her daughter onto rice milk since turning one. they don’t have cow’s milk in their house either. something to think about maybe? have thought about trying it with my second cause he doesn’t seem to like dairy much at all. perhaps he will be my vego!
      Hey kel – good advice on the milk transitioning thing. neither of my boys went on to cow’s milk. with both of them i just kept breastfeeding till they decided to stop because i didn’t know what to do when they rejected anything else! your advice would have come in handy! i actually loved feeding them (15 months for both of them!) but i also enjoy having my body back to being all mine for now too!

      • Kel says:

        The rice milk is a good tip, Rachel.
        I can certainly relate to wanting your body back. I’m at that stage where it would be easier not to be breastfeeding right now, but I also love the time we spend cuddling during feeding times too. I think we’ll continue for a while yet though. x

      • veggie mama says:

        Oh I love rice milk – it’s lovely and sweet. I’m sure she’ll be fine with either rice or soy. You can get kiddie soy milk so I might try that. Just can’t stomach cow… urg!
        veggie mama recently posted..Veggie Mama’s Meatless MondaysMy Profile

  6. tiff says:

    Good tips.

    Ivy is terribly lactose intolerant (intolerant of breast milk and cows milk) she had something that smelled disgusting and probably tasted just as bad instead of milk when she was suddenly weaned from breast feeding but it gave her what she needed. I love milk and so do all of the other kids in the house. They transitioned really well to cows milk but Ivy – she just can’t. She has lactose free milk now which makes her feel as though she is just one of the gang. It goes into anything that requires a milk base.
    tiff recently posted..Things I know.My Profile

    • Kel says:

      That’s fantastic she can feel like one of the gang, Tiff. It’s incredible what’s available nowadays.
      I’ve always been a big milk drinker too. Probably comes down to having grown up in a family of dairy farmers! Mind you, we still generally bought milk from the shop! x

  7. Ai Sakura says:

    I BMed my girl till she was 27 months so it was hard to wean her off onto formula.. but I guess the thing is to be more persistent that the kids!! haha.. gd luck with the transition 🙂
    Ai Sakura recently posted..PhotoStory: Love RulesMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Thanks, Ai. That’s fantastic you breastfed for 27 months. I haven’t thought about how long I’ll breastfeed Holly for. I’m just taking each day at a time at the moment. We’re both still enjoying it, so we’ll keep at it for a while yet.
      And yes, I can be pretty persistent! LOL! 😉

  8. pixie says:

    good luck!!!
    pixie recently posted..Things I know part 10.My Profile

  9. Gemma says:

    go baby holly!

    we’ve been giving milk to nicholas in a cup when he weaned before bed and brushing teeth. Then he had a vomiting bug and I didn’t replace the bedtime milk and he just has it with breakfast. worked well, thank goodness!
    Gemma recently posted..Things I know – knowing and being trueMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      That’s fabulous, Gemma. Sometimes these illnesses have great side benefits!
      At age four, Ella still takes comfort in a cup of milk at night while we’re reading books in bed. I’m not sure she’ll ever give it up!! Mind you, at least she’s getting her daily quota of dairy! xx

  10. Madeline says:

    We’ll be facing this soon with number 2. Number 1 took a while to take to cow’s milk but eventually I got her to drink it by mixing it with a spoonful of strawberry yoghurt and then slowly reducing the amount of yoghurt until she was just drinking milk. I also went straight to sippies and never bothered warming the milk. I figured if I could get her to drink it cold it would make life easier!
    Madeline recently posted..Run Baby RunMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      The strawberry yoghurt trick is a brilliant one, Madeline. I’ve heard of people putting Nestle flavoured malt and toppings into milk, but I much prefer the sound of the yoghurt. Much healthier. Holly has enjoyed her milk today, so hopefully we won’t have to worry.
      We’ve been talking today about the whole warmed milk versus cold milk and agree, it would make life so much easier if she could take it cold! Definitely the next plan of attack!

  11. nellbe says:

    I was a bit casual about it with my second, just went from breast to cow’s in one foul swoop, bad or not, it worked. I also never heated the milk. He drank it fine. It wasn’t something I had to worry too much about which I was thankful for.
    nellbe recently posted..Things I Know: Gluten Free on The CircleMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      That’s so good, Nellbe. I’m going to try her with cold milk tomorrow. Life will be so much easier if we don’t have to warm it. She took to the milk well today, so I’m hoping that means we’re on our way! x

  12. A Keeper says:

    I’m so mature your puns gave me a good giggle 😉 Good luck, it’s a hard transition for mummy, mammaries and kiddies. It’s been three years since I breastfed my youngest, and it’s like it never happened; kind of like them being babies. Really? They were THAT small??? 🙂
    A Keeper recently posted..Foodie Friday: Cheesy Chicken MeatballsMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Oh, I totally get that. I felt the same after weaning Ella. It all became a distant memory. It’s such a shame, because I’ve enjoyed breastfeeding both times. I’ve been pretty blessed though! 🙂

  13. Shae says:

    I’m glad you mentioned that the milk should be full fat-it’s SO important that we keep our growing kids away from low fat dairy
    Shae recently posted..Scienceworks Dinosaur day giveaway!My Profile

  14. Lisa Wood says:

    I used to breast feed all of my babies, and they decided when to wean. Some times they would go for a few days without feeding, and then feed again, and then it would spread out to a week of not feeding, and then a small feed!
    All of my boys let me know when they had enough – one of our boys were BF until about 2 years of age, and then another one decided six months was his limit! It was so nice to BF for as long as possible 🙂

    All the best with introducing cows milk.

    Cheers
    Lisa
    Lisa Wood recently posted..Having Dinner With FamilyMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      What a lovely way to wean, Lisa. I can’t really remember those last few days with, Ella. How sad! I know it went pretty smoothly though. We finished up about the 14-month mark. I know I would have liked to have fed her for longer, but it started to become difficult with work. At least I don’t have that worry this time. 🙂

  15. Grace says:

    Great points, Kel.
    We touched on milk in my Nutrition course a couple of weeks ago. And the big topic that came up is how differently milk tastes these days because of the processing in homogenisation and pasteurisation. There is mixed opinions where some nutritionists say that a lot of essential nutrients are stripped away in any type of low-fat or fat reduced milk and that you’re always better off feeding your children full-fat milk.
    Grace recently posted..Things I Know – The Mish Mash EditionMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      That’s really interesting, Grace. I actually worry about how much more sugar is being put into our bodies because of low-fat and skim milks. Would love to learn more. 🙂

  16. Tiny Table says:

    My youngest is a booby-mad baby. It’s going to be hell to wean her! Thanks for the tips.
    Tiny Table recently posted..Snacktastic – celery canoesMy Profile

  17. I don’t think I have any extra tips to add to yours, we did the gradual switch-a-roo, warmed it up, had it after dinner and we used a bottle we knew they loved drinking from {kind of a familiar comfort thing… sadly though both our kids are now on dairy free diets LOL Hopefully we can try re-introducing cows milk again soon. My daughter (18mths) is still on a toddler formula, while my son is being topped up with vitamin and calcium supplements. Nothing beats the real thing though 🙁
    Carly @ My Life in Colour recently posted..CELEBRATIONMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      That’s good to hear you did similar things, Carly. It’s reassuring for me, anyway. Hope you’re able to transition them back onto cow’s milk again soon. x

  18. Madeline says:

    Aaand rereading this post too as I’m trying to get Ed to start drinking cows milk during the day. Unfortunately the yoghurt trick I posted above is not working for him. He just doesn’t like yoghurt. I’ve only tried sippy cups and cold milk so far so might have to try warming it. How’d Holly go drinking from a glass?
    Madeline recently posted..Christmas project flashbackMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Madeline, I did the drinking from a glass thing probably 3-4 days in a row with her and then just gave it to her in a sippy cup and she’s been fine ever since. I also didn’t end up warming the milk, after a few of the comments here, and she seems to be fine with it. I kept offering her the glass twice a day (sometimes she took it, sometimes she refused) until she got to the point where she wanted to grab the glass herself! Always fun!!! 😉
      I also was giving her some of my water from my glass, so that could possibly have helped too. Good luck with it. x

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