The AAP recommends that a baby drinks breastmilk or formula for the first year of life. This is because the protein found in homogenized cow’s milk is too hard on a baby’s stomach and can damage their stomach lining. Also, homogenized milk doesn’t contain the appropriate vitamins or sufficient calories required for good health and growth in the first year of life. It’s not easily digestible and can even cause anemia. There’s a lot of information, classes and even conversation about how to breast and formula feed your baby, but when it comes time to transition them to homogenized whole milk, moms feel a bit undereducated and confused. Here are three tips for how to introduced homogenized milk to baby in a (hopefully) seamless way for both you and your little one.
When thinking about how to introduce homogenized milk to baby, it’s best to take the approach of “slowly, but surely.” If you’re breastfeeding, try to wean slowly to make it easier on both you and your baby. Breastfeeding has most likely created an emotional bond between the two of you, so there’s no need to rush it. Try eliminating nursing sessions one by one. Eliminating middle of the day feedings first might be your most favorable approach. Don’t forget to offer your baby plenty of water. It helps to take baby out on an errand or play in a different room than you normally nurse in to distract them from breastfeeding.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself
Weaning from breastfeeding can be hard on mom too! You may find yourself getting emotional when you are trying to avoid nursing and figuring out how to introduce homogenized milk to baby, especially when your little one wants to do so. Don’t be so hard on yourself! Nursing for an entire year is a huge accomplishment. Make sure you are pumping or hand expressing your milk to avoid clogged ducts which can lead to mastitis. Of course, if you plan to use the next tip, only pump long enough to build a supply for the transition and then stop so that your breast milk will dry up. Go ahead and massage your breasts in a warm shower to help with soreness. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen also help with the pain that may occur if you stop breastfeeding abruptly.
Mix homogenized milk with breastmilk or formula
Some babies will drink formula or breastmilk in the morning and then will take to straight homogenized cow’s milk in the afternoon. However, sometimes the transition is difficult, so mixing cow’s milk with breast milk or formula for a while can be helpful. Some moms choose to do 25% breast milk or formula with 75% homogenized milk for a few days, then 50/50, 75/25, until their babies can tolerate 100% homogenized milk. How long you offer each cocktail can also be adjusted with how your baby reacts – you can do each mix for a few days or a few weeks. Do what you’re comfortable with – every baby is different!
Most moms are nervous when figuring out how to introduce homogenized milk to baby and transition from breastmilk or formula. By ensuring a gentle, slow shift you can help your little one make a pleasant change. SmartMoms, you can rest easy knowing that it is in fact safe to wean from breast milk or formula at one year old and that homogenized milk will provide essential nutrients for your growing baby.