I Don't Know Why You Say Hello, I Say Milk!

Em is almost ten months old. He’s eating pretty much everything we put in front of him. Sometimes he moves so fast we’re forced to disperse food across the surface of his highchair. He’s a gulper, just like every other creature living under our roof.

I get such a kick out of giving him new foods, though. And I’m blown away about what this kid will eat. We have yet to see him spit anything out. It’s pretty awesome, having a baby who’ll eat anything.

Right now, he’s drinking formula (which we refer to as “milk”). Every morning he wakes up and almost immediately starts giving us the American Sign Language sign for “milk”. I love that he’s starting to understand ASL, but I do have a bone to pick with whomever created the sign for “milk”. On several occasions, he’s given me a very puzzled look.

“Why is Mama sticking a bottle in my mouth instead of waving hello?”

How does one explain to a baby, “No, honey, that’s not a wave. It’s sideways. Duh.”

To avoid confusion, we now practice by giving Em BIG GAY WAVES whenever saying hello.

While I’m on the whole milk/formula topic, what happens whenever he turns one? Do I just start giving him regular, extra-strength cow’s milk? is this something I need to test out before the year mark? Will he completely freak out? Obviously, I need to read up on this milestone.

I remember a mother on here (forgive me, I can’t remember who mentioned it) writing that it really freaked her out whenever she had to stop giving her baby formula. She said she spent weeks wondering if her little one was receiving enough water and/or vitamins. This comment has crept into my head a lot lately. What does one do at that magical point? How does one deal with this? Is it a direct change up? Do you just substitute formula for milk and water and/or juice?

While I feel as though my brain is somewhat mush-full and I complain that there are parts of it that I’m not currently using (for example, adult conversations are at a minimum), I learn something new every day about how to care for someone. And I get the feeling that whenever I look back on this year, I’ll have a greater appreciation for everything I’ve learned and how much I’ve grown as a person and (more importantly) a mother.

29 Comments

  1. When my son was 11 mths we started putting 1/4 milk & 3/4 formula for one week then 1/2 m 1/2 f for one week and so on. It worked perfectly for us. After he was on whole milk for several mths we switched to 2% then to 1%. Knock on wood we had no issues. All the best and remember no one was born with all the answers, unfortunately it is all trial and error.

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  2. Awesome. I think we’ll start adding some milk to his formula in a month or so. What’s up with the whole milk thing, is it specifically for the fat? I know they specify to give ‘em the full octane, just wondering why. (I can probably find this via google, eh?)

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  3. We did something similar. 1/4th to 3/4th formula and gradually went all the way to milk. Milk tastes so much better, they generally have no problems switching. Have you tasted formula? It is truly awful…
    I think the fats are the reason for the whole milk, for brain development, etc. At age 2 my doctor recommended switching to 2% or 1% because by then they don’t need all the fat. We do 1%. Oh, and of couse we do organic. My pedetrician strongly recommended this due to the hormones, etc.
    Hope this helps.

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  4. I never did give my kids cow’s milk. When they were done with the bottle around age 1, I just mixed toddler formula (Baby’s Only Organic) in a cup and they drank that 2x a day. Did this until about 18 mths. and then they drink any of the “milk” we buy – rice, soy, hemp, almond.

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  5. I actually read and heard from my pediatrician not to give milk until 12 months because of possible allergies. At 12 months I just completely quit formula (and bottles) and only gave my kids whole milk (it is supposed to be whole milk until at least age 2 because they need the high fat content for brain development) or water in the sippy cups. I actually had no problem making the switch, neither of my kids minded milk at all. I would suggest against giving juice because pediatricians and the American Board of Pediatricians recommend that the sugar content is too high. They will get more of the nutrients from actually eating the fruit instead of drinking fruit juice. Now obviously, you can disregard all of that and just do whatever you want! :)

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  6. Oh, no. We’re planning on staying away from juice if we can. But if he doesn’t get enough liquid, we might mix it up with water. I hope we don’t have to. Neither TJ or I drink juice, so it’d be nice if we could avoid it.

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  7. the two-and-a-half-year-old i babysit for drinks juice, but only in a 2/3 water, 1/3 juice mixture. her favorite is litchi juice, which she calls leaky juice. anyway, after a while of cutting juice with water for her, i started to add water to my orange juice and cut way down on my acid reflux.

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  8. Juice is okay as long as it’s watered down. At least 1/2 and 1/2. Any extra fluids in the summer months is necessary so dont feel like you have to stay away from juice. My almost 4 year old still gets half and half juice. Just choose good juice and water it down yo! My kids love ice water and cold juice in the summer.

    But sometimes I cheat and let her have a juice box. Kids love juice boxes. yes kids need whole milk after they are a year old. But my 16 month old still drinks half toddler formula, half whole milk in the mornings. Around a year or so you can try to transition to a sippy cup.

    And love the video. My kids learned more and that was it!

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  9. We also started slowly adding milk to the formula and it worked like a charm. I would recommend giving him water though, otherwise whenever he is thirsty he will want milk (that’s what I’ve read anyway). When Henry was younger I believe we gave him water every once and awhile. He just turned two and gets milk with meals and water in between, unless he specifically asks for milk. We have also chosen not to give him juice. If he wants it later, fine, but for now, I don’t see the point of it.

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  10. Very sweet film! i assumed they needed the full fat for the calories but don’t really know. I just switched at a year to goats milk instead of cows (she has excema) and all very easy, i’d say since he’s open to a lot of different tastes it’ll go very smoothly. My daughters over 2 now and i remember being scared for a while that they weren’t getting all those easy vitamins added to formula but you stop worrying about that very quickly i promise!

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  11. What if your kid won’t drink water, ladies?

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  12. we literally just started giving her milk on her birthday. Thinking back on it i probably should have transitioned to some extent, but we didn’t. I guess i am lazy that way, not into mixing bottles of formula and milk, etc. I also just cold turkey went to formula and she was fine. SHe is 16 months and all milk is in a sippy cup except before bed. can’t seem to break that habit, but to be honest i haven’t really tried b/c i don’t care about it very much. I also heard whole milk until at least 2.

    Molly also loved water, it is a treat for her. I find it funny. We don’t do juice, except the ocassional V-8 fruit fusion if i don’t feel like she gets enough fruits/veggies. A full serving in there (and we cut it with water).

    Enjoy the eating habits while you can…mine used to eat anything – spinach and potato baby food was her absolute fav. She is now horrible – nothing green crosses her lips. The most infuriating part of the whole thing is that her tstes change daily—it is the one thing that makes me want to scream and lose my mind. I swear she could live on yogurt, cheese, mini waffles and strawberries.

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  13. have to tried water in a straw cup. We introduced the straw cup before the sippy for some reason (b/c she loved drinking out of our straws at restaurants) and she LOVED it. We have now switched to sippy cups b/c straw ones leak, but they are fine for water.

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  14. have you tried water in a straw cup. We introduced the straw cup before the sippy for some reason (b/c she loved drinking out of our straws at restaurants) and she LOVED it. We have now switched to sippy cups b/c straw ones leak, but they are fine for water.

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  15. I forgot to mention this earlier…we taught our kids the sign for “drink” instead of “milk” because of that same issue that you are having. The sign for “drink” was easier for us to differentiate from a wave than the “milk” sign.

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  16. When Seth turned 1, we started off with 1/8 milk to formula and added a little more each week. Eventually, he liked it.

    On water…If you start now, offering water as the only thing he can have at night, he will learn to accept and love it.

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  17. Oh boy, offering only water to Emory before bed. This outta be interesting!

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  18. have you tried adding an interesting flavor to the water? Maybe lemon or lime or a bit of juice from an orange? He might be up for it if he can taste something.

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  19. Just be careful about replacing the milk with water. Some new info about there about babies under one drinking too much water. A little is apparently OK (a couple of sips with meals) but apparently giving it when they should be getting milk (breast, formula, cows, etc) can actually lead to (gulp!) seizures. Apparently this is a big risk in the summer months and ERs see a fair number of these cases. I continue to give my daughter water (which she doesn’t much like anyway) but if it ever seems like she’s gulping it down, I’ll switch back to milk.

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  20. Being an engineer, I should have asked the doctor how much milk a 1 year old should drink. Then I should have measured the exact amount and see how much he drank each day :).

    One benefit of switching to whole milk is no more heating involved.

    I think baby only needs to switch to water at night when they have lots of teeth but only if the baby sleeps with a bottle.

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  21. The gradual mixing of formula and milk should probably work well for switching Em to cow’s milk. I know a few babies 6 months older than my son that were only breastfed for a year, then whole milk was introduced. Possibly there is a huge difference in taste between breastmilk and formula-no clue, haven’t tasted either! But these babies refused whole milk comletely. And are over 2 years now, won’t drink anything unless it is from the breast. I was worried about that, so at the doctor’s advice, I started Jonah on whole milk at 9 months, just about a tsp with dinner, in a cup. By the time he was a year old, he was used to whole milk, and could drink from a cup by himself too. He now likes to throw his cups, so he’s regressed to a sippy cup!

    From my experience, babies start to become picky eaters after 1 year of age, and start to refuse things they relished before, so the more tastes you can introduce before a year of age, the more likely they will eat different things as they get older.

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  22. Grace switched to organic whole milk at 1. She drank water in a sippy. The sippy was the challenge. She switched to 2% at 2. She pounds the water and gets one sippy of calcium fortified apple juice cut with water. We also have her on a fluoride multi vitamin. She will be 3 in 2 weeks. She has a pretend ketchup bottle that she says is her wine. ok no mom of the year awards for me but that is what i drink instead of formula.

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  23. We are in the process of teaching ASL as well… but our E hasn’t caught on yet. Signs like milk, diaper, mom and dad are popular in our household. Funny story about the hello wave & milk mix-up. To start, I’ve been a little ASL obsessed for awhile, probably because our E hasn’t caught on yet. We were at a play group and a 12 month old toddles over to me using the milk sign. I am delighted to see a little one using ASL and comment to his mom, “Wow, he must really want some milk.” She gives me this crazy look and says, “He’s just waving to you.” Errr…

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  24. Just keep trying the water. My son was reluctant at first. Now at 3.5 years he drinks almost exclusively water and 1% milk. He has juice on the special occasion (out to eat) but we still cut in 1/2 with water.

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  25. Willa is 12 1/2 months old now. She still breastfeeds 3 times a day, but she also drinks soy milk.

    You don’t need to stop giving him formula the minute he turns one. It can be a slow transition.

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  26. They need the whole milk for their development. Fat/cholesterol are important building blocks for brain development. Also for calories. It’s not recommended before 1 because of allergies and/or the continuation of breastmilk.

    In Europe they drink whole milk until 8, 9…it’s really only an issue to drink 2% if your kid is overweight (obviously a problem in the US).

    People worry too much about vitamins and water. If your child eats healthy food – vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fish, some meat, dairy – then they’ll get most of the vitamins – and water! – they need. Many fruits/veg are 75-90% water. Water should only be an issue in the summer or when they are sick and obviously dehydrated. At some point when they learn the word for water, around 15 months maybe, they’ll ask for it if they want it.

    Most milk is fortified, anyway, with vitamins A and D. D is one of the hardest to get from just foods – which I guess is why they put it in the milk. You also get it through the sun, so taking your child out once a week for an hour or two is usually sufficient.

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  27. We got Henry interested in water by letting him have a drink out of our glass. Soon we let him have his own plastic glass with 1/2 in water in it and he thought it was the coolest thing. Now he loves to drink water out of his Bucky cup (From a Wisconsin Hockey game).

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  28. This is probably a repeat in some form as every other reply, but I have a shreiking 20 month old and can’t concentrate to read what everyone else said. LOL I waited until Max was 1.5 years. He came into the world rather undersized and I wanted to give him formula a little longer, just to be sure. Then we did the slow wean…1/4 whole milk to 3/4 formula for a couple weeks, then 1/2 and half for 2 weeks, and so on. Whole milk until age 2 because the milk fats are critical to brain development (according to our ped). Then 2% is ok until school age. Then 1% until they stop growing so dang fast (or there is a weight issue). I give milk until they had enough to meet at least basic nutritional guidelines, then the boy gets 1/2 juice and half water (100% juice is too strong for baby. I keep to half and half until age 3.) The juice counts as one serving of fruit, but I don’t count more than 2 servings in the form of juice. The boys get whole fruit for the rest of the servings. 2 servings of juice (a full 6 oz sippy of 1/2 juice and 1/2 water twice a day). If he is still thirsty, he gets more milk or water as a choice. Full disclosure…yes, my boys don’t care for plain water. So I buy Fruit2O or other “flavored” water beverages as long as they don’t contain too much artificial sweetner (none is most preferable). I will also sometimes mix up a VERY dilluted bottle of water with a sprinkle of a kool-aid single. It adds a bit of color and a smidge of taste. I’m not a sugar snob. LOL I do let the boys have cookies and candy on occasion. And they don’t appear to be hyperactive, so I don’t avoid artificial colors either. It’s a process. With my oldest…he drank the 3/4 formula 1/4 milk, but protested when the mix went to 1/2 and 1/2. He HATED milk. It’s been a struggle with him ever since. He doesnt like most cheeses either. I can get some yogurt into him, but I buy calcium fortified juices and he gets a lot of cheesy bread and tons of parmesean cheese on his pasta. lol I just hope Em stays a good eater for you. I have one picky eater and one (so far) good eater. Picky SUCKS. :-}

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  29. Zoe is almost 12 and a half months now. At her one year appointment her pediatrician said to stop giving her formula and go straight to milk. We’ve decided instead to do it gradually – plus we had just purchased an expensive tin of next step formula and we want to finish it. We’ll transition to milk soon, but in the mean time we’ve been trying out YoBaby to see how she likes yogurt (she LOVES it). Lucky for us, Zoe is like Em and will eat anything. :)

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