When Should Your Baby Stop Drinking Formula?
With how quickly children grow, it’s never too soon to start thinking about how to wean them off of their formula. That being said, it’s normal to wonder how long your baby should baby drink formula, when to transition into eating solid foods, and how to ensure your little one’s nutritional needs are met in the process. These are important questions, and we created this guide to help you determine how and when your baby should stop drinking formula.
What Exactly is Weaning?
Parents often think of weaning as when a baby stops drinking formula or breast milk entirely, but weaning actually starts whenever a baby starts consuming foods besides formula or milk. It ends when foods and drinks replace these completely. While weaning is different for every child, it’s normal to start weaning your baby between 4 to 6 months as they try solid foods.
At this age, babies often need more nutrients than what they can get only from formula or breast milk. This is the perfect time to begin introducing them to solid foods: this is a great addition to formula or breast milk, and is a great way to give your baby additional nutrients they need.
When to Begin Substituting Formula
At 12 months, your baby is ready to begin the transition off of baby formula or breastmilk. While you can begin this phase at 12 months, it’s not a number that is set in stone to begin the process. You can implement this part of the weaning process as gradually as you and your baby need, but no earlier than 12 months.
So why exactly can’t you begin weaning your baby off of formula earlier than a year? At 12 months, a child's digestive system is developed enough to handle toddler formula or cow's milk. Before this age, breast milk or baby formula are easier on the digestive system. Additionally, it isn't until about a year that a baby has a diet of solid foods that is substantial enough for them to go without formula or breast milk.
Toddler Formula or Cow’s Milk?
After your child is weaning off of breastmilk or formula, the decision comes to either keep them on a toddler formula or begin introducing them to cow’s milk. HiPP and Holle brands both offer formulas for the toddler months, which are specifically created to meet their nutritional needs. These toddler formulas have more protein, vitamins, and minerals, and may provide an easier transition if your child has food sensitivities or does not want to start drinking cow’s milk.
If you decide to go down the cow’s milk route, it's detrimental to choose a whole fat milk. At this age, your baby still needs high levels of fat to supply their rapidly growing body. At most, your child will only need two to three cups of whole milk a day, and at two years you may switch to a lower fat formula.
How to Make the Switch
Sometimes, the most simple solution is to just stop giving your child breastmilk or formula cold-turkey. However, this might not work for all babies. Most parents find that they have to slowly incorporate other foods into their baby’s diet before completely weaning them off of formula or milk, and this is completely fine!
We generally recommend transitioning over a few weeks of time. This allows your baby’s digestive system to completely adjust to their new diet without causing stomach upset. A great way to introduce the new formula or milk is by mixing it with the old formula gradually until the old formula is completely replaced.
Change can be difficult, and watching your child grow may make you wish you could freeze time. Before you know it, your baby will become a toddler and will be ready to move from baby formula to solid food. Ultimately, the decision of when to stop feeding infant formula is between you and your child.
We’re Here for You!
Yummy Ganics is here to help you with anything you need. Our team of experts can help you with anything from what formula is best for your baby, to why you should choose our European formulas and more. If you still find yourself having questions about how to wean your baby off of formula and onto solid foods, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Contact us today for any questions you have about our European baby formulas!