Most babies are ready to switch from formula to milk around their first birthday. However, some children should remain on infant formula longer or switch to toddler formula before transitioning to cow’s milk. Check with your pediatrician to see what’s best for your baby.
If your toddler is ready to transition to milk, there are a number of approaches you can take to make the switch (the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children between the ages of one and two drink whole milk). Some parents choose to move to milk cold turkey. If you have a toddler that is stubborn or resistant to change, try a more gradual approach. You can substitute one bottle of formula for whole milk every few days or weeks, starting with a bottle your toddler will be less likely to miss. The first bottle in the morning and the last bottle of the day are usually the hardest bottles to give up and the ones you should leave until he is drinking milk well throughout the day. Putting the milk in a cup instead of the bottle can also help with the transition.
You can also try mixing the formula and the milk together. At first, just add a little milk so that it’s mostly formula. Gradually put more and more milk in the bottles so that he gets used to the taste. Eventually, there will be just milk and no formula.
If your toddler does not tolerate cow’s milk, see the section All About Formula & Milk.