Get to Know the Perfect Time When to Take Baby Off Formula
When my baby was born, feeding was not a problem since I can breastfeed her or give her a formula bottle. As she grew up to 6 or 7 months, I started thinking of giving my baby other than breast milk or formula. But, then I heard stories of children having tummy problems because of the milk they are drinking or the food they eat.
I always wondered when to take my baby off formula. I wanted to be more practical in a sense that I do not want my child to be compromised with the nutrients she can get out of the food she eats. If it is the right time for her to try other foods, I want to maximize that time so she can have all the nutrition that will aid in her development.
The Perfect Time to Take Baby Off the Breast or Bottle
Babies are born with body development still in the works. Their stomach may not be matured enough to take in and break down nutrients or food elements. Proteins contained even in cow’s milk, or soy milk is not digested well. Even the minerals found in these milk can damage their kidneys.
That is why breast milk or formula are highly recommended as their only source of food during the first few months. Once babies are in their 12 months, they are weaned onto formula, so they are ready to take in milk and other foods.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the perfect time to take off from the formula bottle is before 18 months old. It would not be ideal for toddlers to continue with the bottle due to the reasons of obesity and some other body issues.
Children who are 12 months and older also has nutrient requirements in their bodies that can be found in full milk. There are necessary fats that toddlers need to help them grow. But, most pediatricians would advise not to take in “low fat” milk.
Why Take Your Baby Off Formula?
It seems that our kids are comfortable with what they are used to hence giving them something different can result to whining and rejection. Such scenario also happens when you switch your baby from formula to milk.
Don’t be discouraged! Let me give you a few reasons why you should continue weaning your child out of the formula.
- It can affect his dental muscular activity – According to research, prolonged bottle-feeding can create changes in the oro-facial development of a baby. There are potential hazards especially in the tendency to develop open bite and crossbite. Constant bottle feeding can create a gap between the upper and lower sets of teeth.
- It can make him overweight – One research links a greater percentage of obesity with prolonged bottle-feeding up to the age of 24 months. There is a 33 percent increase in the risk of child’s obesity.
- It can create ear infection – Such cases happen when children are lying down while feeding on their bottle. There are times when some of the milk formula gurgles at the back of the throat, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. These germs would then crawl towards the ear.
- It can give them cavities – Tooth decay is common to children who take in a lot of sugar. While we refrain our kids from eating candies, they can still get their sugary fill from the milk they drink. Sucking a bottle for a long time can lead to sugar staying on their teeth. It is even not ideal if the baby goes to sleep while the bottle is still stuck in his mouth. The milk remains, and the sugar gradually breaks down the teeth.
Getting Your Baby Off the Formula
Here is a list of some simple ways you can follow to get your child off the formula:
- Mix the formula with whole milk. It will gradually introduce the flavor of milk to your baby without entirely changing the taste. A good proportion is 5:1. If you are using 6 ounces of formula, make it 5 ounces of formula and 1 ounces of whole milk. Gradually, raise the measurement of your whole milk to formula. As you start with the lowest level of whole milk on his bottle, increase it every day, so the change is slow but effective.
- Replace one whole bottle in a day. Instead of feeding him with four bottles of formula, you can substitute one bottle with whole milk. If your baby is not too resistant, you can follow the same method the next day but make it two bottles until he is fully in whole milk.
- Warm up the whole milk. If your baby is used to warm formula milk, make sure your whole milk is at the same temperature. It will reduce the adjustment your child is going to make when switching to whole milk.
- Add milk to his food. If he is already eating soft foods, you might want to sneak in whole milk instead of water or his formula milk. It will not make any difference in the taste but it will help in slowly introducing whole milk to him.
- Use a special cup. You can also start changing from a bottle to a sippy cup. When feeding using a cup, try to do the switch in the morning or the afternoon. Choose a sippy cup that is attractive enough to excite your baby whenever he sees it.
It is All for the Best!
Thinking about weaning your baby off the formula may be difficult especially when they struggle hard to resist. Remember, taking it too long does not help at all. Once your toddler grows older and does not get off the bottle, it would be more challenging to wean off now that they can throw tantrums, use their hands to resist and even crawl away.
You may have to be more patient not to give in to their cries and whines. Otherwise, it would be too hard for you to introduce food to their mouths. Think about it as a short phase that you and your baby will go through.
I was happy to see that my baby loved her full milk after several times of weaning her out of the formula. The days of crying and fighting had ceased and we are on good terms during feeding.
How about you? What stories do you have to tell while weaning off your baby from the formula? Share your story with us.