Posted in Bottle Feeding, Starting Solids, Tips & Hacks

Transitioning away from formula

My daughter just turned one and I’d like to start weening her off of her formula slowly. What’s the best way to do this while still making sure she gets all the nutrients she needs. Also, she’s very attached to her bedtime bottle, but I’d like to put a stop to that too because I’d like to start brushing her teeth before bed but I don’t want to start until she is done with her bed time bottle. Any tips or ideas for how to do this and keep her healthy and well balanced would be greatly appreciated

  • Julie
    Apr 25

    At your 12 month checkup your pediatrician should help guide you, but here’s what I did!! My daughter seems to be sensitive to any major milk changes so I went really slowly with the breastmilk/formula to whole milk transition by adding just one oz per day of whole milk to her baby milk mix. I added it to a large pitcher with the formula and breastmilk combined in there. For each ounce of whole milk added, I’d remove an oz of formula. Once she got to around 10 oz of whole milk in a day her stools became runny for a few days so I paused at just 10 oz for several days till her BMs were normal again. Then I continued to increase the whole milk slowly again until her formula was completely replaced by whole milk. Once I was nearing the end of my frozen breastmilk stash I started replacing whole milk with that as well. In the end she was drinking too much whole milk and her pediatrician had me start watering it down because the whole milk was constipating her. If you don’t want to go the whole milk route talk to your pediatrician about what they would recommend. As for worrying about nutrition as you remove the formula I have to say it’s a constant concern for me!! I pretty much am always worried about whether my daughter is eating “enough” of the “right” stuff. Does your daughter eat regular (non puréed) food yet?? If so then start offering her everything you eat throughout the day as well as a couple of snacks. My daughter eats well right now but she goes in phases. I make sure she’s being offered protein, carbs, a veggie, and a fruit for lunch and dinner. For breakfast it’s usually cereal and fruit or eggs, toast, and sausage or something. So breakfast doesn’t always have a fruit and veggie. For her snacks I try to make them both fruit or a veggie but let’s face it, sometimes it’s graham crackers or Cheerios. I’m not sure how your pediatrician sets up the 12-24 month well baby checkups but ours met with us at 12, 15, 18, and soon to be 24 months for weigh ins and to make sure the transition to full solids was going well. If there had been a problem at 18 months they would have added in another weigh in at 21 months but they didn’t for us. As for breaking the bedtime bottle habit, I have no advice. Lol. My daughter is still drinking a bottle before bed and she’s 20 months old. She does awesome all day long with straw sippys and regular cups but she loves her bedtime bottle. Ive been planning to transition her to a soft spout sippy but it hasn’t gone well so far. I’ll get more pushy about it before she hits 2 years old because I know it’s important in the long run but for now she still gets the bottle to bed. She goes to a pediatric dentist who isn’t too concerned right now, she just told me to brush her teeth before she takes the bottle and then follow up the bottle with at least a few sips of a water bottle so that’s what I’ve been doing, but I know that’s just a band aid so you’re smart for trying to tackle the bedtime bottle sooner rather than later:). Sorry this was such a long reply. Good luck!!

  • Jean
    Apr 25

    I've been mixing milk in with the formula and my son hasn't seemed to mind. He just turned 1 so I started it a couple weeks ago and am just continuing until the formula runs out. We still have a night bottle too, but I brush his teeth before it. I figure something is better than nothing right now. I'm dreading ending the night time bottle

  • Annie
    Apr 25

    I had been introducing a 1% milk bottle instead of adding it to the formula itself, so combining the two is a new concept for me and I’m eager to see how she takes to it. Thank you for the advice!

  • Julie
    Apr 25

    Annie, is there a reason you went with 1%?? My pediatrician stressed over and over that whole milk was important for the added fats. But every pediatrician is different I’m learning 😂. Good luck!!

  • Stacey
    Apr 25

    We would feed our son yogurt or apple sauce or some other soft food then when he seemed done with that we gave him some formula until he was done. We started cutting back bottles from 4 a day to 3 a day and gave him snacks and pureed fruits and veggies. Now he is totally off formula (from about 15 months). He gets plenty of water and loves it or watered down juice a few days a week. Maybe whole milk or weekends. We never really gave him a night bottle because he goes to bed right after dinner, but he needs his pacifier. We are starting to cut down on those but he still wants one at night.

  • Laura
    Apr 25

    Once our daughter started getting teeth, we brushed teeth after the last milk of the day, and she had a water bottle in her bedroom for a last teeth-friendly drink. I think the comfort of a night bottle is as much about the sucking as it is about the milk.

  • Jenn
    Apr 25

    My PED told me to start mixing the formula with an increasing amount of milk starting a 11.5 months. She said to start with 1 oz of milk, then increase by 1oz every few days til she is 1. Also, we are going cold turkey on the bottles at 1 and she is just going to get milk in sippy cups at the same time as her bottles. I brush her teeth after her last bottle.