Congratulations, your baby’s almost one!
So along with finalising the party invite list, making the cake and arranging the photo shoot. You’re also wondering how to make the switch to cows milk.
Here are some questions to consider
I’m breastfeeding, do I need to switch?
If you’re feeding 3-4 times per day, you don’t need to introduce cows milk as a drink. Your breastmilk is perfect for your baby until either of you decide it’s time to stop. On the other hand, if you’re feeding only once or twice, you can offer a little cows milk as a nutritional top-up during the day. Remember though every drop of breastmilk counts.
What about formula and ‘growing up milk’?
Supermarkets might stock ten brands of growing up milk. But that doesn’t mean your baby needs it. It’s smart marketing designed to part you from your money.
Nutritionally, there’s no need for formula after 12 months unless you’ve been advised otherwise by a health professional like your dietitian. Your baby can and should get the nutrition they need from their meals and regular cows milk.
The only nutrient they struggle to get enough of is vitamin D. Regardless of age, it’s not possible to get enough vitamin D from food. Don’t worry, though. It’s easy to make sure your baby gets enough. Either continue with vitamin D drops or buy vitamin D fortified milk for the whole family to drink.
How much milk should I give?
Offer your baby about 350-400mls of milk to drink every day. They’ll be in addition to milk in cereal and cooking and foods like yoghurt and cheese. However, beware of large amounts of milk replacing food. When your baby doesn’t eat well, it’s tempting to offer milk instead. Be careful with this. Because after your baby turns one milk comes in second place behind food. And if your baby’s little tummy is full of milk all the time, they don’t have room for food.
When’s the best time to offer milk?
It’s up to you. But it’s best to have a plan rather than offer it randomly throughout the day. Or worse still letting your baby sip on milk all day.
Here are two possible options:
- Offer it with breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Offer it with snacks and again before bed
Should I give it from a bottle or a cup?
Your baby maybe attached to her bottle, and you might be too! But in the interests of your baby’s teeth and speech, it’s best to phase them out. Instead offer milk (and water) from either a small open cup, free-flowing beaker, straw cup or 360/miracle cup.
What if my baby is allergic to milk or I don’t want to offer cows milk for personal reasons?
If your baby has a cows milk protein allergy, ask your dietitian for advice. This will differ from baby to baby. If you’re raising your baby in a vegan lifestyle, fortified soya milk is the best plant-based option available in Ireland.
Needless to say, breastfeeding where possible is the best option in both cases.