12 months
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Healthy Babies

The Permanente Medical Group

Introducing cow's milk and saying goodbye to the bottle

At 12 months, your baby is now old enough to start drinking cow's milk. But what kind? And how much?

Most children should drink vitamin D fortified full-fat milk. However, if you have a family history of high cholesterol, obesity, or heart disease, it may be a good idea to offer reduced fat (2%) milk instead. Your pediatrician can help you decide what kind of milk is right for your child.

For babies who suffer from lactose intolerance or allergies, soy toddler formulas or fortified soy milk are fine alternatives and will provide the calcium and vitamin D your child needs.

Your baby needs a total of about 2 cups of milk each day. That’s about a ½ cup (4 ounces) of milk at each meal and snack. More than that and she'll fill up on milk instead of the food she needs for complete nutrition.

What if I'm still nursing? 
Continue breastfeeding as long as it works for both you and your baby. Breast milk alone doesn't contain enough vitamin D, so continue supplementing with vitamin D drops until your child switches over to cow's milk.

Bye-bye bottle
Now is a good time to start weaning your child from the bottle, if you haven't already. Some children give up the bottle easily while others have a harder time. For tips on easing the transition from bottle to cup, check out this information on weaning from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

What about juice?
Milk and water are better options. Many juice drinks contain lots of sugar and very little real juice, so read labels and make sure any juice you buy is labeled "100% whole fruit juice." If you do serve your child juice, offer no more than ½ cup (4 ounces) per day in a cup -- not a bottle. Better yet, dilute the juice with water, so that your child is getting less sugar. 

Continue to Tips for feeding toddlers
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