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Drink Up! Tricks and Tips for Getting Your Baby To Drink More Milk

drinkuptricksbabymilk.jpgEvery mom experiences this to some degree. Whether weaning from breast or formula to cow’s milk, babies and toddlers are notoriously awkward about drinking enough milk.

Pediatricians usually recommend around 16oz of cow’s milk a day for a one-year-old. My one-year-old was totally typical of weaning babies and thought he should drink one sip, then nurse 14 times a day. I despaired of ever getting him to drink enough milk to wean him without worrying that he would get enough nutrients. Other moms of one-year-olds have the same struggle weaning from formula.

Here’s some tips and tricks to encourage your baby to drink more milk.

  • Mix pumped breastmilk or formula with the cow’s milk to get them used to the taste gradually.
  • Try different cups – different styles of sippy cups, spouts, straws, valves or no valves, or even cups with no lids – most babies can drink from a cup with a little help. Let your baby pick out a cup. Yes, your son will probably want Dora The Explorer. Better Dora than no milk!
  • Pretend it’s your milk. Pour a cup. Drink. Baby will want some. No, this is mine. Are you sure you want some? Well, ok, I guess you can have some.
  • Flavor the milk. Babies often like vanilla, from a tiny drop of vanilla flavoring. Chocolate is another fave, a tip-of-a-teaspoon of Nesquik makes milk very chocolaty for a baby so you don’t need to worry too much about the sugar.
  • Color the milk. My son used to insist blue milk tasted better than white milk. Whatever, dude, as long as you are drinking it, it’s all good. Use a tiny amount of food dye, or health food stores sell vegetable-based food dyes.
  • Have something dry to eat, like crackers, or toast. Then offer milk. Thirsty babies usually drink.
  • Milk on cereal counts, as does milk in sauces. Mac and cheese, and many pasta sauces have milk in them.
  • Cheese counts too. And yogurt, and yogurt or milk in smoothies.
  • Some babies like soy milk, especially the flavored kinds. Pediatricians don’t usually recommend soy milk unless baby is lactose-intolerant but a cup of soy milk does have protein, calcium and vitamins. Mixing soy and cow’s milk together tastes like soy milk, and has the goodness of cow’s milk.
  • Temperature. Try cold, room temperature, warm. A friend’s baby only drank milk with ice chips. (Be careful with ice cubes, they could be a choking hazard.)
  • Froth it up. A $2 cappuccino milk frother + warm milk = milk froth baby can eat with a spoon. Big hit with babies learning to use a spoon.

Mix it up. If one trick stops working, try another, and another, and another.

If you are worried baby will want to drink blue milk (or chocolate milk or whatever) forever, gradually reduce the amount of food coloring (or Nesquik ect.) until she’s drinking plain milk. And most importantly, don’t pressure your baby or insist they drink their milk. If anything, it will make them less likely to want to drink it, and give them a negative association with the new milk.

And good luck, Mama! It will seem like the battle of the century but one day your baby will be drinking milk like a champ. Promise!

What tips and tricks have you used? Share your secrets!

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