Weaning Toddlers onto Milk

An extract from our community of mothers on Facebook.

We asked:  “When weaning, did your toddler get stubborn and refuse cows milk? One of our members Emma has asked for help, and I know she is not the only mum to go through this…..   Please share your tips below”

The following paragraphs are words shared from our members.


We used to put ice cream topping in our daughters milk. It was the only way she would have it.

My son was breastfed till 2 but he had it on weet-bix from 18thms so when I stopped breastfeeding him he knew the taste, but I have heard that some mums do half and half with water to get their children started, because breast milk is quite watery. Good luck

Mine always refused cow’s milk – and formula. I weaned him off with baby yogurt! We were down to one fed in the evenings by then

‎My second child was breastfed until 12months and totally wouldn’t touch cows milk…….I tried but he wasn’t interested so I didn’t push it, turns out he was lactose intolerant. My 3rd child I breastfed until 16months and have never tried her with cows milk, as we all (except husband) have rice milk, which both 2nd and 3rd children love…..I use this in all my cooking etc. And hubby has cut down on cow milk intake, which I think is a good thing.

Took me a year to wean from formula to cows milk. I ended up doing half and half and then 1/4 formula and 3/4 milk and that dragged out for ages till I got pregnant again and realized it was time to harden up and after a few tantrums we are all good and saving money again!

Mine self weaned at 20 months. She would only have cows milk on corn flakes before that.

Both of my kids took to milk without any problems. But my nephew refused to drink cow’s milk and at 2 1/2 years old he is still not keen on it, so my sister-in-law just puts it on his weet-bix and supplements his calcium needs with other foods such as yoghurt etc, and he is certainly not stunted or sickly through a lack of milk. As long as they get a good source of calcium from other foods, it’s not vital that they get cows milk once they’re weaned – some kids just don’t like it. I would recommend trying the light blue milk rather than the dark blue as the taste of dark blue is quite strong and can be off-putting for infants. Good luck!

I weaned my little one at 16 months, we were down to one before bed feed anyway & he refused the cows milk I offered him to replace it. I found his calcium intake adequate from yoghurt, cheese etc he had during the day.30 months old now & never had a bottle! & a strong healthy busy boy!

My son was formula fed from 6 months due to my low milk supply but I was glad when he hit 1 year old and could go onto the cow’s milk. I grew up drinking powdered milk and always hated it so I have never liked the idea of formula. It smells wrong and I imagine it doesn’t taste that great either so am happy to offer him cow’s milk, especially the stuff with extra vitamins and calcium. Plus he is a good eater and doesn’t need the extra nutrition from the formula.

My second boy weaned at 14 months and refused all other milk and still does nearly a year later (and I have tried every kind of milk available in every kind of vessel and attempted to hide it in every kind of way). I finally admitted defeat and he now gets his calcium from yoghurt and cheese which still took a lot of encouragement but he is a very happy and healthy little boy.

I weaned my son at 15 months. He is allergic to dairy so I offered rice/soy milk but he didn’t want them so he just drinks water and has rice milk in porridge, custard etc.

All my boys have been useless on cow’s milk. They’ve either reacted to the lactose or not like the taste until they have been considerably older (ie 4 or 5) so we’ve just used rice milk. They get plenty of calcium in the rest of their diet.

My daughter also refused cows milk (would never take formula for that matter either!) for a long time after weaning at 21 months. Health professionals reassured me that she would be getting enough calcium from other foods though (yogurt, cheese, broccoli etc…). She is now 3 and still isn’t too fussed on milk, although she loves all other dairy foods and enjoys a healthy, varied diet.

All my 3 have refused cow’s milk and formula. I tried different techniques with each but nothing seemed to work. They have to get calcium from food sources instead. On the plus side they became dry at night really easily!

Miss 2.5 at weaning likes a small (100mls) of cows milk in the morning cold with breakfast and again warm at night – would rather drink water and eat cheese including blue vein so we encourage variety rather than stressing about one small food item in a group, means that she tries and eats most things and over the week she has a great balance of food

My 19 month old still has formula – the toddler supplements one! Hopefully not for much longer as going to try him again on cows milk! All other drinks thro the day are water!

I wouldn’t be weaning my 13 month old son if we didn’t want another baby, as I think he would definitely be getting the best nutrition from breast milk. He was absolutely not interested in rice milk from a bottle or cup (although he would drink water from a cup) So one day I thought about using the organic vanilla rice milk and am now diluting with the organic normal rice milk, to gradually get to just organic normal rice milk. Just a lot of perseverance – and he’s finally drinking it, it has taken weeks though – yay!!!

When we were weaning our daughter from formula 2 milk she wouldn’t have a bar of it so eventually we thought of giving her milk powdered milk and she drunk that until we weaned her off bottles on the plus side it’s a lot cheaper

If your child isn’t drinking milk you can get calcium in other forms in their diet. Lots of green veges, chickpeas (like in hummus), tofu, almonds, brazil nuts, figs, tahini (yummy in dips).

My little girl naturally dropped feeds and was fully weaned at 16months….while she was still feeding she would not take the rice milk from any vessel at all, she wouldn’t have breast milk from any vessel either…….once weaned I just casually offered her the rice milk every now and then, and when her older brother was having some….took a while but she soon became interested and now happily drinks it. She only really has it when she asks though…..we just aren’t milky people……she has a very good balanced diet

I weaned at 12 months from breast to formula and then to half/half at 2 years and then full cows milk at 2.5 years. She got a runny bottom from straight cow’s milk at 12 months thus the half and half.

I breast and formula fed from very early on as I had very little milk. I gave her formula rather than cows milk until she was 4! A bit old maybe, but I did introduce ‘mummy’s’ soy milk too – She was/is lactose intolerant (so am I so I knew what to look for).
She was still having one breastfeed a day until 4 years old anyway. I struggled so much to breastfeed at all that I was in no hurry to stop.

My 19 month old still has one feed every morning, there is plenty there for her as I am feeding my 4 month old also. I don’t think cows milk is always the best option, as a lot of people are unknowingly intolerant of it.

My children all drink dairy, mostly because I am too apathetic to do otherwise. But it not lost on me that cow milk is structured to grow brawn over brain and we humans are designed to grow best on milk structured to grow brain over brawn. This must have consequences.

It’s not a big deal if she doesn’t drink cow’s milk; there are plenty of non-dairy sources of the calcium and minerals it contains. How old is the baby? I think toddlers should only have 200-500 mls of cow’s milk a day anyway, to leave room for more nutritious foods.

Nutritionists say to try to give it to bubs in a cup or something other then a bottle as they take more from a bottle, fill up too much, and then don’t eat the food that they need other nutrients from.

My wee girl was breast fed with formula top ups from birth. She weaned herself off the breast and was down to just 2 bottles by 12 months so I started giving her half and half formula and cows milk. I gradually reduced the formula and started giving it to her in a sippy cup, but she still wouldn’t drink straight cow’s milk. Nana came up with the solution – a little bit of sugar to sweeten it up like formula. Sounds awful but it worked a treat – she loves milk now (with no sugar)

I have tried cups and putting milk in his pump bottle but he just takes a sip and throws it and screams, he’ll climb up on me and pull at my top and take my hand and put it on my chest and say mumma bubba if I say no its the end of his world but hmmm I think its attachment the comfort of cuddling and having “bubba” and playing with my hair that he cant wean off lol.

Just going through it now with my 11 month old. We’re trying to get him used to the bottle for when I go away at the end of next month. He used to take it well. But now we’re getting into a regular pattern, he’s not having a bar. I’m not sure if he’s being stubborn or is actually getting enough from real food. He has water and some other drinks from a sipper cup when he eats.

Ben did not want anything to do with milk, I tried it all, soy, vanilla, goats, rice, almond and nothing. Now 6 months later he has discovered that Nesquik choc with milk is pretty good. Using powder you can monitor the sugar intake. My pediatrician says choc milk is better than no milk. Up until now we have been having calcium chewable supplement but he asks for nesquik when he wants it. He is healthy, big and strong and we have no concerns. Don’t stress about it, they will come around just every few days try it again but don’t worry about it or get frustrated it all turns out ok!!

I also found that it was just a matter of time for my daughter. I got a bit worried for a little while, but she was happy to have cows milk on cereal for breakfast, and plenty of cheese and yoghurt during the day, so I just didn’t substitute at all… after a month or so she was quite happy to have a drink of milk though!

My 13 month old boys are still breastfed. Tried to get them to take breast milk from a bottle but with no luck. When it came to trying to get them to take milk I had to use a cup. BUT still no luck. I’m not worried about it. Have decided they get heaps of calcium from all the other dairy they consume. Just a shame I don’t have an alternative to offer (other than water that won’t cut the mustard) when beside themselves cutting teeth etc in middle of night.

I offer milk in a cup at breakfast (which he has not done much with, will occasionally drink a little), and water the rest of the day. He eats well, and will have milk on cereal – so really I am not all that stressed about it. I don’t intend to breastfeed past about 2 – but we will see what happens when the time comes. I think it’s going to be more important to substitute the mummy cuddle time, rather than the nutrient content!!

If you can express some breast milk & mix it with cow’s milk to introduce the new milk flavor that would be recommended. I had moved my son from breast to formula simply because I didn’t get my period back until I fully stopped breastfeeding & wanted to try for another. Then I moved him from formula to cow’s milk by blending the two and gradually increasing the cows milk/decreasing the formula (or breast milk). He’s now a certified cow’s milk addict!