Child Care & Development : When to Give a Baby Whole Milk

Hi. I'm Dr. David Hill and today we're going to be talking about when to give your baby

whole milk. Now this is something that people get kind of anxious about. Should I give it

earlier than twelve months? Later than twelve months? Do I need to transition? What if my

baby doesn't like it? It's really simpler than we sometimes try to make it. Formula

is very different from whole milk, in terms of it's nutritional content. It has more calories,

it has more nutrients, it's much better for growing babies' bone and brains. It has an

awful lot of things that whole milk doesn't have. And we feel that up to twelve months,

it's very important that a baby have formula or breast milk, instead of whole milk. However,

by twelve months of age, most babies have a widely varied diet. They're getting many

of their nutrients from solids and the nutrients they get from liquids are now a small part

of their diet. At that point, they should be able to get plenty of the nutrition that

they need from sources other than what they drink. That's a great time to get off of formula

and start whole milk. Do you need to do it gradually? Probably not. What's the worst

thing that happens? Your baby doesn't drink the whole milk; that's okay. The things they

need from whole milk are calcium and vitamin D, and there are other sources of those nutrients.

Calcium's found in beans, it's found in dark green vegetables, there are plenty of other

calcium fortified foods and juices. Vitamin D is found in sunlight, at least that helps

your body make vitamin D, if you get adequate sunlight. You can also get it out of a multivitamin

or other vitamin D fortified dairy items. One thing to remember, when your baby does

start whole milk, is not to give them too much. Nobody thinks about too much milk, but

the calcium in milk can keep your baby from absorbing adequate iron. So, as they get above

about sixteen to twenty-four ounces a day, the risk for iron deficiency anemia goes up.

We like to see babies get two to three servings of dairy a day, and that can be milk, or it

can be from other sources. But try not to give more than sixteen to twenty-four ounces

of milk a day. So, to review, twelve months is a great time to transition your baby from

formula to whole milk. The baby doesn't need to get more than about eight to sixteen ounces

of whole milk a day to get all the calcium and vitamin D they need. And don't worry if

it doesn't go well; there are plenty of other sources of those nutrition elements, you just

need to be thinking about it and looking for them. Talking about the transition to whole

milk, I'm Dr. David Hill.