Weaning Your Baby: How to Make the Transition to Solids and Cow’s Milk

Nobody relishes that awkward transition when your baby isn’t sure whether she wants everything you’re eating, or whether she hates all this gross sweet potato mush you’re giving her. This phase usually begins around 4 months and lasts until your kiddo has a mouthful of teeth and a metabolism like a cheetah. It’s a trying time – so how do you make sure your child has a smooth transition from milk to full-course meal?

First and foremost, it’s helpful to start your baby on mild-flavored foods like pumpkin or avocado. You may be tempted to jump right into something super sweet, like bananas or strawberries; but your baby is still learning how to eat. They are adjusting to the texture of purees over milk, so it’s important to introduce them to solids slowly. Also, try blending a little breast milk or formula with your baby food puree, so that your baby will recognize some of the flavor mixed with the rest of this strange new stuff.

What are some other acceptable solid foods to begin giving your baby once she is old enough to eat them?

This may seem obvious, but you don’t want to give her sugary or overly-processed foods before she is one year of age. Start with whole-grain cereals, pureed fruits, veggies, and meats. Avoid any nuts or nut butters, as babies can easily choke on these things. Honey is another no-no until your child is more than one year old.

Another common question for new parents is: how often should I feed my baby solids when she is still primarily drinking milk?

The easy answer is that you should feed her when you feed yourself! Include your baby in mealtimes as soon as she begins eating solids. This establishes a good routine for your baby, and it brings them into an important aspect of family life. In addition to three square meals a day, your little one should also get two to three snacks per day in between breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Continue to nurse or give your baby a bottle along with her solids.

And finally – when is it acceptable to begin giving your baby dairy?

Pediatricians advise that parents wait until their baby is over one year old before introducing cow’s milk to her diet. Doctors recommend postponing cow’s milk largely because they worry the baby would confuse cow’s milk with breast milk or formula. Until your baby is completely weaned, it’s a good idea to avoid milk altogether. However, yogurt and cheese are perfectly acceptable for an infant. Doctors recommend introducing yogurt around 4 months of age; cheese should be postponed until your baby is around 8 months of age. Pediatricians also recommend starting your baby with milder cheeses like colby jack or American, as the sharp flavor of cheddar can easily overwhelm her sensitive palate. When introducing dairy products, be aware of any adverse reactions, such as hives or nausea, as these things can indicate a dairy allergy.

Make sure you keep your baby’s body full of high quality nutrients by giving her organic milk, cheese, and yogurt. Give her the best start in life by giving her the best food you have available to you.

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