Q: My daughter is 15 months old and still on formula. Is it okay to give her a bottle of formula at naptime and bedtime? Is two bottles of formula a day too much for a 15 month old? At what age is it time to take a baby off formula and strictly on milk?
A: Unless your pediatrician has advised you to keep your daughter on infant formula, it’s time to make the switch. Continuing to feed your daughter formula could provide her with too many calories, making her less likely to eat a variety of wholesome, nutritious solid foods. It could also increase her chances of gaining excess weight. For healthy babies, whole cow’s milk with vitamin D can be introduced at one year of age. Because children of this age need a higher fat content, it’s important to give your daughter whole milk, rather than 1 percent or 2 percent milk, until she’s two years old.
Although it’s not always the easiest thing to do, it’s also time to start weaning your daughter off the bottle. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the bottle be given up entirely at around age one and almost certainly by 18 months. Once your baby is comfortable drinking from a cup, there’s really no need to continue bottle feedings.
The good news is that you don’t have to make these changes abruptly. To make the transition easier, start by offering your daughter only water in her bottle and give her whole milk in her cup. If she doesn’t seem to like the taste of whole milk, you might mix some milk with her formula, and gradually reduce the amount of formula you add. Next, you can eliminate the bottle at naptime, and a little later, you can eliminate the one at bedtime. You can probably expect your daughter to miss her bottle for a day or two, but like all babies, she’ll quickly adjust!