When Can Babies Begin Drinking Cow's Milk?

At what age can babies switch from breast milk or formula to cow’s milk?
Tamika

Infants younger than 1 year old need the nutrients in breast milk or formula. Breastfed babies over 1 year may continue to nurse, if desired, but at that point you can begin offering your little one whole milk. Why not skim or 2%? Because babies need the fat in whole milk for normal growth and brain development during the busy early toddler period.

You can transition your baby from breast milk or formula to whole milk by beginning to replace bottles of formula with bottles — or sippy cups — of milk. By age 1, your baby should be eating a variety of other foods as well as drinking about 2-3 cups (480-720 milliliters) of milk per day.  

If your baby was put on a soy or hypoallergenic formula for a milk allergy, talk to the doctor before introducing milk.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: August 2010

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