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The Role of Milk When Weaning

Milk When Introducing Solids

Breast milk or formula should continue to remain the main source of nutrition until 12 months of age. Infants obtain the majority of their energy from breast milk or infant formula because the energy contribution of complementary foods is initially small.

Solid foods are sometimes referred to as ‘complementary foods’ because they should complement, rather than substitute milk feeds when starting solids. Breast milk and formula contain nutrients that help support the growth and development of your baby.

How Much Milk To Give When Weaning

If your child has been breastfed, then expect them to still need a minimum of three or more feeds a day. If they have been bottle feeding, then around 600-800mls a day is average.

Which Types Of Milk Are Suitable When Weaning?

Breast milk or infant formula still needs to be your baby’s main source of nutrition. They need to drink at least 600ml of breast milk or formula a day until they turn one year of age. Avoid offering cow’s milk as a drink until they are at least 12 months old.

If formula feeding, changing to ‘follow-on’ formula after 6 months will help to meet their body’s changing needs.

Milk For Toddlers

Milk is still an important part of a toddler’s diet. If you are breastfeeding your toddler, don’t feel you need to wean them off breast milk.

If you decide to offer your toddler cow’s milk, make sure it is full cream and not fat reduced. Toddlers need the fat in milk to meet their body’s needs for growth. Reduced fat varieties of milk can be offered after the age of 2 years, but should not be offered prior.

Supplementary milk drinks are suitable to include as part of a toddler’s daily food intake as a nutritious supplement, when intakes of energy and nutrients may not be adequate.

There are significant health benefits for both mothers and toddlers in continuing to breastfeed. If you feel your toddler’s demands for breast milk are compromising their solid food intake, speak with your child health nurse.


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