From formula fans to "breast is best" proponents, the majority of moms eventually introduce their children to cow's milk. To help make your bub's transition smooth and safe, we've gathered Circle of Moms members' top tips on incorporating cow's milk into a baby's diet—from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations on age and type of milk, to advice about allergy symptoms, to tricks for babies who refuse cow's milk. Drink up!
1. When to Start...and What to Buy
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies over 12 months old with a healthy diet can receive up to 32 oz. per day of whole cow's milk. The AAP recommends full fat milk instead of low-fat (1%) or nonfat/skim milk until the age of 2.
When exactly beyond the one-year mark you actually start your baby on cow's milk is a personal choice to make with the help of your pediatrician. Some Circle of Moms members, like Virginian mother Jennifer B., introduce cow's milk as early as possible: "I started my son on whole milk…on his first birthday. He loved it and thankfully it was an easy transition." Others wait several more months, or even longer into the child's second year if they've decided to breastfeed.
2. Start Cow's Milk Gradually
You've heard of "baby steps" - in this case, it's "baby sips." Introducing milk gradually to a child who's used to breast milk or formula can help her tummy and taste buds become accustomed to the new beverage. "Introduce it slowly," advises Callie R., a mom in Kansas. "Try replacing one cup of formula with a cup of milk. Or cut it half and half. Just remember that any sudden drastic change (all formula to all milk) in a kid's diet can cause an upset tummy." Jodi A., a mother of four, agreed, also noting that the gradual introduction "helps them adjust to the difference in taste and texture."
3. What To Do If Your Baby Refuses Cow's Milk
Uh oh...the milk's fresh but your baby's face is decidedly sour! If your baby doesn't initially like cow's milk, try these tips from Circle of Mom members for making the milk more palatable or interesting: Kayla O., a mom in Wisconsin, found warming the milk was the trick for her son: "I had to put the milk in the microwave for 30 seconds then give it to him. It always helped." Making the cow's milk taste more similar to the formula or breast milk can also help, as Rebekah F., a mother of one in Washington, shared: "I had a friend who used sugar-free syrups to sweeten it (breastmilk being sweeter than cow's) and then tapered it off slowly." Other moms suggested using straws and different kinds of sippy cups to make drinking the milk more fun.
4. Watch for a Milk Allergy
Keep a careful lookout for symptoms of lactose or dairy intolerance. Rashes, gastrointestinal or stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea can all indicate a milk allergy. Karen A., whose daughter and son both had a dairy intolerance, cautioned that it's important to be ready for that possibility: "Be prepared - know what the symptoms are for lactose or dairy intolerance and have a back-up plan ready!" If your child does have a milk allergy, your pediatrician can recommend alternatives to cow's milk.
Looking for more information on feeding your child? Got a great tip we missed?
With everything from conversations on breastfeeding and when to start milk or solid foods to communities focused on swapping favorite recipes and sharing advice on raising kids with food allergies, Circle of Moms is a friendly, helpful place for discussing all kinds of food topics with fellow moms.
Whoa, bring on the bibs and burp cloths! Many new babies are little spit-up machines during the first year. While most baby spit-up is normal (and typically caused by air bubbles, the still-developing digestive system of a new baby, or acid reflux), it's also undeniably inconvenient. Here are six tactics recommended by Circle of Moms members for reducing the amount and frequency of new baby spit up.
(Please note: If you are concerned about your child's spitting-up behavior—or if your child is projectile vomiting, vomiting with blood or green bile, not gaining weight, or has respiratory problems—be sure to contact your pediatrician.)
1. Keep Feedings Calm
New babies often spit up when they are over-stimulated, so many moms recommend keeping feedings as calm as possible. Portland mom Marabeth O. shares: "My four-month-old spits up if she's excited, but not if she's calm." If your baby is spitting up after (not during) feedings, try to avoid stimulating your baby directly after the feeding.
2. Burp Often
"Make sure she is burping regularly during feedings," advised Rachael B., a mother of one. "Sometimes babies spit up just because they have a bad air bubble stuck in the tummy." How often should you burp? Arkansas mom Crystal S. suggests burping brand new babies "every ounce or even every half-ounce."
3. Avoid Overfeeding
"It could just be too much milk," advised Kelly S., a mother to two girls. Giving new babies smaller, more frequent feedings can help them digest meals better.
4. Upright Positioning After Feeding
Houston mom Miranda S. was one of many who suggested positioning a child upright after feedings to reduce spitting up. "After feeding and burping your baby, it helps to have them up (on your shoulder, not in any lying position) for 15–20 minutes."
5. Avoid Tummy Pressure
In addition to keeping a child upright, moms recommend avoiding putting pressure on a baby's tummy during and after feedings. "I try to not hold her around her tummy after she eats," shared Lori O., a mother of eight children. Others recommended avoiding tight diapers and clothing for the same reason.
6. Switch Formulas
Many Circle of Moms members found that switching baby formulas helped reduce spitting up. As Summer L. rejoiced: "I switched formula and she stopped spitting up!" But Kerin L. warns, do be prepared to spend some time finding the right formula for your baby: "I had to switch formula four times with my first before I found one that worked." Your pediatrician can help diagnose whether your baby is allergic to her formula, and recommend alternatives.
Looking for more advice on feeding an infant? Got a great spit-up strategy we missed?
Whether you're looking for information on pumping, bottles, or introducing cow's milk, Circle of Moms is a great resource. You can ask for advice in communities focused on breastfeeding or formula, or respectfully debate parenting topics with other moms in communities like Debating Mums and Parenting Debates & Hot Topics.
To see the other foods, read more
Too many parents are familiar with the wretched screams a child makes when diagnosed with colic. For ages, children have been labeled colicky when no other term would fit a fussy baby. Melinda Beck from the Wall Street Journal presents another option that distraught parents may want to note.
For infants who spit up constantly, stop gaining weight, vomit blood or refuse to feed at all, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) may be a diagnosis. Instead of, or sometimes in addition to, treating a babe for colic, many doctors are prescribing acid–reducing drugs to tots suffering from GERD. Not surprisingly, there are some who believe doctors are throwing the term GERD around too loosely.
To see what one pediatric gastroenterologist's point of view is on it, read more