At one year of age, it is time to begin the weaning from the bottle process and to begin transition solely to the sippy cup. There are several reasons for this time frame to begin the weaning process. First of all, if the baby is less verbal, it will be easier to wean the bottle. Children are top-notch negotiators and the more verbal, the more adept they are at getting what they want. In my experience, not many kids give up the bottle voluntarily. Secondly, the pediatric dentists tell me they can tell on examination of the teeth as much as five years later how long the child was allowed to stay on the bottle. So I think keeping the toddler on the bottle longer than one year can cause dental decay. And third, it is time to change from formula to regular milk at one year. Why not just make the transition all at once?
Introducing cow’s milk to the toddler involves some techniques to avoid constipation. Introduce the milk slowly. In other words, mix half formula and half cow’s milk for a few days and increase the amount of cow’s milk over a seven to ten day period of time. This will prevent any problems with constipation.
The type of cow’s milk to introduce to the toddler is controversila. Some nutritionists and physicians recommend 2% milk. The thought is to prevent childhood obesity. Some doctors recommend whole milk until two years of age to provide some of the fats necessary for neurological development. I always like to provide the information and let the parents make an informed decision.
Introduction of cow’s milk to the toddler should be done soon after twelve months of age. Introduce cow’s milk slowly and wean from the bottle during the same time. As always, consult your health care provider if you have concerns.