When newborns and young babies appear hungry, they must be fed adequately. It is referred to as “on-demand” feeding. Before they become upset and start crying, babies must be provided with food.
Thus, many newbie parents become regular in feeding them formula milk. However, you must be wondering, “When do babies stop drinking formula.” The answer can be different for different parents, but many doctors and researchers recommend a particular time when parents should switch to another food item for their babies.
Usually, healthy formula-fed babies eat every 2-3 hours after the first few days of life. After some time, though, the duration and the type of food for consumption change. It means that the dietary needs of the babies too keep changing.
So, today we will discuss when babies should be stopped feeding formula milk and provided with other food items.
When Do Babies Stop Drinking Formula?
Let us be clear about one thing – there is no hard and fast rule about when babies need to stop drinking formula. Moreover, there is no exact time when they need to change.
Babies do not wake up suddenly one day and make the transition to other food. No! It doesn’t work that way. Instead, the parents need to help the baby undergo this transition phase.
So, according to doctors and experts, they can start making the transition by the time they reach the age of 12 months or 1 year. To ease the transition, infants can be fed baby formula milk and solid foods/ other kinds of milk together by adjusting the quantities.
Why Should a Baby Stop Drinking Formula?
Choosing to feed your baby formula for a long time may diminish the child’s appetite for other meals, and it may make it difficult for them to consume a variety of foods in the future. So, this is a situation you will want to avoid because, with greater age, the requirement for a wide variety of nutrients in larger quantities will increase. And you can put this as the answer if you are still contemplating, “Why and when do babies stop drinking formula.”
Now, beverages might play a distinct part in your baby’s diet once they reach the age of 12 months. Rather than relying on liquid formula or breast milk to meet their nutritional needs, your child will also thrive on solid foods now. So, beverages would be supplemental like they are with grownups. However, drinks like milk are a major necessity for pregnant women.
What Other Food Should You Make Your Baby Try After Stopping Formula?
Soon after you stop feeding the baby formula milk, you might wonder what food to give them. So, the next question after “When do babies stop drinking formula” would be “What are the replacement food items to offer infants.”
The best alternative many parents opt for is cow’s milk because they are rich in nutrients, healthy, convenient, and easy to procure. From the time babies reach 12 months till they are 24 months old (or 2 years), they should preferably be fed dairy milk as the beverage.
It is advisable to offer them a minimum of 16 ounces of milk and a maximum of 24 ounces in a day. So, if you own some 8-ounce cups, they will need 2-3 8-ounce cups every single day.
However, your babies must be offered a balanced and highly nutritious diet along with cow’s milk. It should ideally contain grains, protein from eggs and beans, fruits and vegetables for getting vitamins and minerals. This way, the baby will get a healthy foundation for having a healthy life.
Why Can Babies Start Drinking Cow’s Milk Only After 1 Year?
Before babies reach the age of 1 year, their kidneys are not formed properly. As a result, they are not strong enough to absorb all the nutrients cow’s milk gives to their body system.
Cow’s milk is high in protein and minerals, which a developing baby’s kidneys cannot handle. However, by the time they are 12 months old, their kidneys get developed to a large extent, and thus, they can start drinking cow’s milk without facing any gastrointestinal issues. Thereby, their bodies can maximize the amount of nutrients they absorb at this age.
It may well be advised to make your babies drink formula for a little longer if there is healthcare or nutritional concern, but most infants do not need baby formula beyond 1 year. However, keep in mind that some babies might need to keep drinking formula milk even when they have crossed the age of 12 months, depending on their health conditions.
Signs That Show Your Baby Can Stop Drinking Formula
Newbie parents come across many doubts, from preparing for childbirth to becoming parents and understanding their babies’ growing age and needs. And one of the most commonly asked baby diet-related questions is “How to understand when do babies stop drinking formula.”
Well, your baby is ready to stop drinking formula as and when they start having a preference for food that others eat. Many babies begin having an urge to eat other food items as early as 9-10 months. However, it is advisable to start from the time they attain the age of 12 months if you want to stay on the safer side.
Are There Exceptions Who Shouldn’t Stop Drinking Formula By 1 Year?
Well, the answer to “How long do babies drink formula” is not such an easy one. There are certain exceptions to the rule that babies should transit to other food items from the time they become 1 year old.
For instance, if your baby was born prematurely, it may have lower immunity and be less healthy. In that case, you should consider avoiding making the transition from formula milk ar 1 year. Instead, continue feeding formula milk to your baby.
However, do not worry that you can’t give them cow’s milk due to such exceptional issues. Formula milk has enough nutrients to make them have healthy growth.
Here are some other cases where you should do the same.
- You have a family history of having heart diseases, obesity, or high blood pressure.
- The baby hasn’t been introduced to eating a balanced diet.
- The baby has allergy issues.
- The baby has lactose intolerance.
- After drinking cow’s milk, the baby showed weak kidney problems or indigestion issues
Babies ideally should stop drinking formula and be introduced to a well-balanced diet by the time they reach a year old. But it is not that simple. Even doctors and experts recommend that the transition be eased to make it easier for the baby’s body to adapt.
There could be a lot of reasons why your baby should continue drinking formula milk. Therefore, it is better to consult a pediatrician who can guide you on your journey. It makes things much easier when worrying over “When do babies stop drinking formula.”