When Do I Stop Giving My Baby Formula?
During the first 4-6 months of life, an infant’s nutritional needs are simple (in a complex kind of way). All they need is breast milk or a complete infant formula. Their immune system and gastrointestinal systems are immature, and they require nutrition to be provided in a simple way for easiest digestion and absorption.
Once children are 4-6 months of age though, their nutritional needs change, as do their developmental needs. It is at this age that children start to explore food. They explore the new smells, colours, textures and flavours of all of the foods that are offered to them. Over the course of the next 6-8 months, they learn how to manipulate more complex textures in their mouths and how to chew others in order to get them in a state that they are safe to swallow. As an infant approaches 10-12 months of age, their solid foods become more important than the milk/formula feeds, and they will naturally start to take less milk/formula as they prefer to snack on tasty food instead.
For many children, this process of learning to eat a range of different foods (different being different food groups as well as different textures and temperatures) is fun. It progresses smoothly and by the time they reach 12 months of age, they are having a version of their family’s meals with their family. In this case, and depending on the wishes of each family, most children can be weaned off breastmilk/infant formula and transitioned over to cow’s milk as a drink.
For other children though, the journey of introducing solids and exploring a broad range of different foods can take longer. In this case, it is recommended to continue with a toddler milk drink product for longer as a way of making sure that a child is meeting their nutritional needs while they continue to learn to eat a range of different foods. Our Stage 3 Toddler Milk Drink can be a good option at this time.