After meeting my goal of expressing breastmilk for Joshua until his first birthday, I began to transition him to cow's milk in his bottles while I'm at work. In the last few months, I spent some time researching how to make this a smooth transition. I even considered continuing to express milk past his first birthday and delaying the transition to cow's milk, but I decided that was not what was best for both of us.
Joshua still nurses frequently when we're together: afternoons, weekends, and all throughout the night. If he was one of those babies who slept through the night, I might be concerned that he wasn't getting enough of all the good components of my milk. However, in our case, he still nurses around the clock so I've decided to be an optimist about it. I'm happy he nurses all night long so I can stop pumping when we're separated! Glass (of milk) half-full!
In addition to doing some reading and internet research, I spoke to Joshua's pediatrician at his one-year appointment about switching to cow's milk. She agreed with my plan to slowly introduce cow's milk, mixing it with my own, adding a little more cow's milk each day until it was 100% cow. She explained that breastmilk tastes sweeter and so mixing the two together makes for an easier transition.
In the first days after Joshua's birthday, I made bottles with about 80% breast milk and 20% cow's milk. By the end of that week, Joshua was taking bottles that were 50% of each. In the second week, Joshua slowly worked his way down to about 25% breast milk and 75% cow's milk. By the third week, I gave him 100% cow's milk. We watched for signs that his digestive system didn't like the cow's milk or for allergies, but he had no trouble with it. The switch was pretty easy!
I also want to move from a bottle to a cup, and Joshua enjoys some diluted apple juice from a sippy cup with a straw each day. I decided to wait to replace all the bottles with sippy cups until he had successfully transitioned to cow's milk, since I wanted to make the switch as painless as possible.
While I know some moms opt to continue to express milk rather than transition to cow's milk at a year, I decided that making the switch is right for us. Joshua still nurses often and I still plan to let him self-wean, with the flexible goal of nursing him until he's two years old. Joshua drinks cow's milk without a problem, I'm enjoying my newfound freedom from the pump, and we're both happy to nurse when we're together.
How did you transition your baby to other kinds of milk?