Weaning my One Year Old

When Hailey was born my hope was to breastfeed her for 1 year. Do you know how long 1 year seems in the beginning when I cried in pain every time she latched? So imagine my surprise when here we sit, almost 13 months later, still nursing.

I nursed Hailey four times a day at 10 months. Once she turned 11 months, it was three times a day. At 1 year, we dropped to morning and night. Then, we got stuck.

I have no intention of nursing Hailey through her second birthday (not that there is anything wrong with that!), but I wasn’t comfortable dropping nursing all together until she was established on cow’s milk.

Though I considered whether milk was even necessary, then considered all the alternative options, like goat’s milk, I ultimately decided we’d go the classic route of cow’s milk unless Hailey had problems with it. (If you are interested in the discussion of cow’s milk versus other options, Emily wrote a great post about milk options for baby)

About a week before Hailey turned one, I decided to give milk a try.

introducing baby to cow's milk- taking a sip

Hailey grabbed the cup, took a swig, then in shock, opened her mouth and let the white waterfall escape. I guess she was expecting water.

introducing baby to cow's milk-  surprise

I tried again and she MAYBE had a sip or two before she would just shove it away. Great, my kid that eats everything hates milk.

introducing baby to cow's milk- not water

I thought that was my only concern, until later that day I noticed she had hives. Well, I didn’t know they were hives. They looked like mosquito bites around her wrists and ankles.

2012-09-07 13.57.39

She didn’t seem bothered by them and I couldn’t be sure they were from the milk. I had also given her strawberries that day, and though she had eaten those before, allergies can develop overtime. Either way, I didn’t want to bother upset her system with her party only a few days away, so I put the milk away.

After her birthday came and went, I decided it was time to give milk another try. Armed with Benadryl, just in case, I poured milk into her cup.  Unfortunately she hadn’t developed a taste for it and took only a sip or two before shoving it away. No hives developed though.

The next day I tried again. A sip or two at best, but again, no hives. By then I felt confident that the hives were a freak accident. Though relieved at that fact, I still had a challenge. Hailey hated milk.

I asked the doctor what to do and she suggested I give her soy or sweeten the milk, since breast milk is much sweeter than cow’s milk. Neither option sat right with me, until I realized I didn’t necessarily have to sweeten the milk with sugar. I could use fruit.

introducing baby to cow's milk- sweetened with banana

Thus, banana milk was born. (I kid, I doubt I’m the first one to think of this).

I started blending 1/2 a banana with 5-6 ounces of milk. It worked. Where as Hailey had been drinking an ounce at most, she started drinking 3-4 ounces throughout the day.  Success!

yay banana milk

She is now drinking about 6 ounces of banana milk throughout the day. I feel successful with that. I plan on upping the amount to 10-14 ounces a day, blended with a whole banana, then slowly wean off on the banana and give my magic bullet a break.

Now that she’s drinking milk (or banana smoothies- it’s all how you market it Winking smile), I feel more comfortable weaning.

She nurses about 10 minutes total in the morning and only about 5 at night, so I plan on dropping the night feeding soon.

I’d be lying if I said emotionally I was fine with being done with breastfeeding. I’m not 100% there yet. Though I look forward to the freedom and I feel confident Hailey’s nutritional needs are being met, it means saying goodbye to a very special chapter in my life.

Though I know I can’t nurse her forever, nor do I want to, I think when I get to the final morning nursing session, I might shed a few tears.

I’ll be back to discuss different types of cow’s milk and what Hailey is drinking, but I figured I’ve chatted your ear off enough for one day!

Cheers!

introducing baby to cow's milk- milk

Did your child like milk immediately?

What kind of milk does your child drink?

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Comments

  1. says

    You are such a genius! I’d be sure to tell your doctor what you came up with next time you see him so he can tell other Mom’s to try it!

  2. says

    So…once H is weaned off breast milk, you then have to wean the Magic Bullet off banana? Awesome ;)

    P is getting to the age where this is our next step. I think I am going to keep things as is till his one year appointment and then start this process. I am hoping morning feeding will be last to go. I am looking forward to the freedom dropping the evening feeding will allow. I can stay out past 7:30. Woo hoo!

    Still, you are totally right. It is the end of a special time in both our lives. Sniff sniff.

  3. Susan @ Real Life Travels says

    Caden never had an issue, he loved himself some milk however he went from breastmilk to formula to cows milk so I’m sure he was happy to have anything besides smelly formula :)

    Also keep in mind she’s getting her serving from food too! Yogurt, cheese etc. also you may want to Try putting cereal in a little bowl of milk, let it soak up some milk an she can pick up the cereal!

  4. says

    My girl stopped really drinking formula a couple of months ago. We powered through and added it to her food, tried different cups, and tried just to force it. She really just did not like the taste. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I started with whole milk mixed half and half with formula. Success! She has started drinking again! Now we’re onto to just whole milk and she seems to like it pretty well. I wouldn’t want to drink the formula either. yuck. :-) She’ll be one on Sunday… ohmygosh.

  5. Melody says

    It is very emotional and you will miss it. I remember after weaning I missed that connection and I tried to nurse (for my benefit only as my baby pushed away) and it hurt! All dried up. You as a parent will have SO many of those moments. My son is now 8 and doesn’t want to hold my hand anymore. You miss things but it’s part of them growing up :) PS. I remember looking at myself in the mirror after my milk stopped producing……hopefully it won’t be as traumatic for you. I lost an entire cup size and all the perkiness! So worth it though.

  6. Lauren B. says

    What a great tip! Breast feeding is my favorite time with Jackson, and I already know that weaning will be difficult for me when he’s 15 years old. Kidding! But really, I’m going to be so sad when that time comes.

  7. says

    Great post and idea with mixing banana with the milk! We are coming up on one and it will be time to switch over to whole milk. I hope it is a smooth transition. I stopped pumping at 9 months, couldnt take it any longer. Livie took forever breastfeeding and me being a working mom just didnt have much time so I pumped after three months or so solely. I had a hard time giving that up, cant imagine the boob :) . You are so lucky you have gotten to experience that with her for so long! I am hoping our second babe is more efficient. Good luck with the transition!

  8. Christina says

    I noticed H was drinking out of a straw cup, and I’m just curious at what age you started offering her a cup, and how readily she took to drinking out of a cup? My daughter is about 9 months old, and I recently started offering her a cup with water, and she wants nothing to do with it. I’m worried she’ll be drinking out of a bottle forever! Any tips?

    • says

      I started offering her a straw cup with water around 6 months when she started solids.
      I messed up and stopped giving her bottles when she was little because it was such a pain for me. Hailey never was great at taking bottles after I quit for so long, so she really didn’t even know she had another option.
      Have you tried the squeeze pouches of puree? Hailey understood how to suck those up really quickly, which I think helped her transition into knowing what to do with a cup and straw.
      Good luck!

  9. melissa says

    My son did the same thing He only had breastmilk for a year and his first sip of whole milk he spit right back out I freaked out too thinking i would have to breast feed forever but what worked for me is i mixed half breast milk half whole milk for awhile and he would drink that and eventually I dropped the breast milk now he loves milk Also I figured out he would not drink milk out of the same sippy cup that he drank his water from I think he was expecting water too So i bought sippy cups with a soft spout and he drank it out of that

  10. says

    I completely weaned Kheri just after her first birthday, but mostly because I was ready to have my body back. Right when she turned one we dropped the night feeding first and then a week later the morning session. I was finiding it was more for just comfort first thing and a little cuddle session now fits the bill. However, we also had some problems with introducing cow’s milk out of nowhere. It took a few days, but now I can get her to drink about a large sippy cup’s worth ovet the course of the day. I typically just offer it with meals and she usually will take the most over lunch. I have talked with other moms and not all kids LOVE milk and Kheri is getting plenty of yogurt and cheese too, so that also makes up for it. Now as far as weaning, I do have a bit of mom guilt that she wasn’t totally ready because usually every time I pick her up she loves to put her hand down my shirt and place it on my boobs haha…I’ve gotten used to it and I’m not really sure this has anything to do with the fact that she was weaned quickly because she did it too while still nursing. But man it cracks me up that for comfort she will immediately stick her hand down my shirt at all times, but while cute I am hoping she grows out of that because it could get a little awkward later on haha.

  11. says

    Our switch to milk was a very gradual process. I was antsy, I’ll admit, as we had been using formula at that point (I had supply issues) and was ready to be unburdened of the cost. BUT, I knew it wasn’t practical to just shove a cup in his hand. I started by doing 1/3 milk and 2/3 formula and, over the course of a couple weeks, he went to 100 percent milk. Miles can be a bit fussy with it at times, and I was in the habit for a while of giving him smoothies to get in milk – and fruit, of which he is not a fan.

  12. Danielle says

    Charlie is almost two and this is still a battle we wage. He just really doesn’t like milk. We tried everything, even resorting to chocolate milk to see if he’d drink that- no dice. We supplement a lot with yogurt, cheese and cream cheese. I think some kids just really aren’t a fan of milk. I never thought about making a smoothie though- I am totally trying that. Brilliant!

    • says

      I agree with you completely that yogurt, cheese, etc is great at getting great nutrition into them. I’m still not 100% sold that milk is the end all-be all people make it out to be anyway :)

  13. says

    What a great idea to add banana! You really should tell her doctor about that, I shudder to think how many moms aren’t that smart who are adding sugar or chocolate syrup to their baby’s milk….ugh. We’re at the same point, nursing wise, as you. Lyric nurses on both sides in the morning and just 1 side at night. I’m prob going to drop the bedtime one soon & then just let her make the call on her morning session.

  14. says

    Great post! I am so confused on what to do for Molly (we are weaning off of formula). She is very dependent on her bottles after waking up from naps so not sure how to remedy that.

    I would be very interested in hearing Hailey’s daily schedule if you don’t mind sharing.

    • says

      Have you tried giving her a snack when she wakes up instead of a bottle? Sometimes I’ll give Hailey a cheese stick if she’s cranky when she wakes up!

      • says

        I haven’t yet. Trying to figure out when I really want to disrupt our schedule (which is working).

        I hate to rock the boat too much. We have tried giving her just a little bit of cows milk with lunch and dinner but she prefers water.

  15. Jasmina says

    Thank you for the IDEA ;) my son hates milk as well and does not like his formule much either so I am going to give banana milik a try :)

  16. says

    Aw, it is a bittersweet day the last time you nurse. Cupcake weaned at 15 months, but here I am a year later nursing a new little one!!! Cupcake didn’t take to milk right off the bat. I mixed breastmilk with cow’s milk and slowly adjusted the ratio until she went to straight milk. Now at 2.5 she can’t get enough of it!

  17. Erika says

    I mixed pumped breastmilk with cows milk before just giving my son straight cow’s milk. I gradually increased the cow milk and reduced the breastmilk amount until it was all cow’s milk.

  18. says

    I think I’m lucky because I just have a very non-picky kid when it come to this stuff. He was breastfed in the beginning, but had no problem switching between pumped milk and nursing. Then had no problem switching between breastmilk and formula. Then had no problem switching to milk.

    We dealt with some serious spit ups back in the day (still not sure what it was from since it was from breastmilk and formula), but otherwise he was okay.

    Not sharing to brag, but just giving hope to some of the moms out there who are scared to switch from one thing to the other. Sometimes it’s no big deal! :)

  19. Dolores says

    Can you please tell me what kind of straw cup Hailey is using? We have been using the Munchkin straw cup with our 11 month old but he cannot seem to suck hard enough to get the liquid out. He has can suck hard enough to get the liquid out of my straw and glass and in fact 50 % of the time he ends up sucking too much and coughing. Can anybody out there give me some reccomendations for a straw cup?

    • says

      She has a combo. My favorite right now is her Thermos brand cup, but we picked up some cheapo no-name brand straw cups for $4 at Target yesterday. Hoping they work just as well!

  20. says

    Julia didn’t like milk at first. I first mixed milk with formula until I slowly phased the formula out. She also likes it slightly warm, which is strange, because I never warmed her bottles. She gets 5 oz of milk 3 times a day and I mic it for about 20 seconds. She loves it now!

  21. Amy says

    I nursed my son until he was 30 months old (only morning & night were left at that point). When I started him on milk, I mixed breast milk with milk, slowly lessening the breast milk until he was drinking all cow’s milk (over a week or two). Why don’t you think that is a good option? No offense, but that makes much more sense than giving her a smoothie with texture plus extra sweetness!

    • says

      I think it’s a great option and I’m so glad it worked so well for you! Hailey won’t take breast milk anyway except straight from the source. I blame myself for that since I stopped giving her bottles a long time ago. We’ve tried breast milk through bottles and cups and she won’t drink it. Luckily the banana doesn’t actually change the texture much and it’s working really well for us right now :)

  22. says

    I’m not looking forward to that whole process, though it’ll probably be some time from now. Penny nurses 6-8 times a day still (she’s nearly 10 months) with no signs of stopping. She doesn’t really drink water much either, though sometimes we give her freshly squeezed juice (mostly veggies). I need a sippy cup with a straw, since she loves drinking from one! Oh, and we don’t plan on giving her cow’s milk at all. She will get almond milk, if that.

  23. says

    My first is severely allergic to dairy so he drank a hypoallergenic formula for the first 2 years of his life. When he turned two we switched to rice milk and almond milk. Now that he is 3 we are slowly introducing dairy products. I have started with cooked dairy first and will introduce cheese and milk later. Thus far he seems okay but he still drinks almond milk.

    My 1 year old drinks organic cows milk. He didn’t LOVE it at first (he was pretty attached to breastfeeding) but he learned to like it over time. He is 14 months old now and is fully weaned and drink 20-26 oz. of milk a day.

  24. says

    Banana milk? Genius! Such smart thinking- good job, Momma!

    I remember feeling so ready to be done with breastfeeding, but found it surprisingly difficult when the time actually came. There is some sadness to it for the Mom as well, that is for sure!

  25. Paulina says

    Just this week, I started replacing one of my daughters bottles (which she gets while I’m at work) with a mix of half breastmilk/half whole milk. Next week she will get all whole milk in her sippy cup with her lunch at daycare. I think I’m done pumping, I brought my pump to work the last two days in case I felt uncomfortable, but haven’t used it at all!!!

  26. Elizabeth says

    Hi Brittany! Hailey is SO cute! I think your idea to make the banana milk is ingenious :) It does seem to me like you’re pushing pretty hard for her to like it though, although you say you’re not sure if it’s the end all be all… Whitney is a little over 2 1/2 and she hardly drinks any milk at all. She bfed for 14 months, and the last few months it was never from a bottle, so I don’t know if that has anything to do with it, or she just doesn’t like it.. At first I offered it to her regularly, and she would only take one sip, and now she probably drinks 1/2 cup per week in cereal or a few sips of my milk when I offer. She’s not a huge dairy lover in general (except ice cream!) and my doctor said not to worry about it at all. I do give her a calcium supplement (nature’s plus) when I remember, and she eats other sources of calcium like leafy greens, broccoli, sesame seeds (in hummus) fresh orange juice, and nuts. She pretty much only drinks water, no other milk substitute. xoxo

    • says

      Hi Elizabeth! Yes, you’re right. I did get a little anxious about her drinking milk. I want her to drink some, though I’m not nearly as concerned with her drinking as much as doctor’s recommend. H eats a lot of yogurt and cheese, too, and I know one of the big pushes for dairy is the fats, but since she eats a lot of avocado, oils, etc, so I’m not too worried about it, same as you are with Whitney. :) Sounds like you have a great doc, too! I’m jealous. I need a new one!

  27. says

    We don’t do cow’s milk in our house, but we do do cheese and yogurt here and there and of course ice cream. I’m a little lactose intolerant and typically feel way better when I’m not eating dairy. :) SO, that passes on to my 11.5 month old. I plan on continuing to breastfeed her until at least 2 years as long as she is still interested because we’re both comfortable for now. Plus I’m with you on the being in tons of pain in the beginning and when I was thinking about having to continue for a YEAR I was so confounded on how I would ever accomplish that. I figure I worked too hard to stop now! :p

    Hehe, anyway, when we do wean I plan on just switching to almond and coconut milk since that’s what we use in our house. I’m not opposed to her having the random glass of cow’s milk here and there at grandma’s house or something, but its something we’ll probably avoid for the most part. :)

    And the banana milk is genius! My nephew (who I watch four days a week) is obsessed with chocolate milk and I hate the sugar rush it gives him! And they always have browning bananas sitting around so this is perfect to use on my days with him! :)
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  28. Jeanne says

    Hi Brittany! I follow your blog and love all of your ideas for toddler foods. I have a 16 month old that has been on a milk strike since we took the bottle away. She was able to make the switch from formula to cows milk no problem.. but once it was out of the bottle.. it was out of the question. I talked to her doctor and they didnt seem too concerned as long as she eats her yogurt, cheese, etc and is getting it elsewhere. But for some reason it still doesnt sit right with me. My daughter is not a huge fan of bananas although I am going to try the banana milk.. do you have any other ideas of something natural to sweeten the milk with?

    • Brittany Dixon says

      If she likes cows milk just fine, I’d try different kind of cups. Have you tried sippy, straw or just using a big-kid cup (with supervision of course :))? I wouldn’t think you would need to sweeten it since likes it! Let me know how it goes!

  29. Michelle says

    Brittany!
    I read this blog and couldn’t stop laughing this is the mirror of my life right now! I have been researching and researching and research what type of milk to switch my daughter too. We’ve tried goat milk a few times but does the exact same thing you mentioned with your daughter…drools it right back out like she was expecting water. She is 13 months now and I’m slowly cutting out breastfeeding, I believe it is having more of an emotional toll on me then her, but for both of us it’s time to wean. I cannot believe I have not thought of banana milk…something so simple, easy, and unique! Thank you for this blog and an answer to my madness!

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