Can I Give My 8 Month Old Baby Whole Milk?

By the time your baby turns 8 months old, you've seen him grow a lot. He's starting to explore the world a great deal, and his diet has changed along with his personality and physical skills. As your baby continues to grow, you may be wondering if it's okay to give him whole milk instead of breast milk or formula.

You should wait until your baby is a year old before giving him whole milk. Credit: idal/iStock/Getty Images

Your Baby at 8 Months

At 8 months, your baby is really starting to understand her surroundings. She can recognize her own name and may be developing a special attachment to you, to the point that she doesn't want to be held by anyone else. She's also able to get around better than ever. She can likely sit up without any help, and she may be able to crawl or cruise around on furniture. All of this moving around may make you think she's ready for whole milk.

Whole Milk

Though your baby is maturing rapidly, he should not be having whole milk when he's 8 months old. This is because his stomach is still maturing and cannot digest the proteins found in whole milk. However, he can still have his usual breast milk or infant formula, and should continue to do, as this is one of his main sources of nutrition. In addition, he can also drink water or diluted fruit juice.

Regular Feedings

By the time your baby is 8 months, it's likely that she's starting to have fewer feedings per day. She may also have less liquid at each feeding than she did a few months ago. This is because she's getting nutrition from other sources, particularly infant cereal and pureed fruits and vegetables. While these foods can't replace her regular feedings, they are starting to take a more prominent role in her diet.

Table Foods

Around the 8-month mark, you can begin to introduce table foods into your baby's diet. Table foods are the same foods you eat, albeit in a much smaller form and without any type of seasoning that might cause your baby to have a reaction. Once she gets used to eating table foods, you can give them to her instead of the jarred fruits and vegetables she's been getting. This introduction of table foods may further cut into your baby's intake at feeding time.

Beyond 8 Months

Your baby's mastery of table foods is the last major feeding-related milestone of his first year. By the time he's a year old, he'll finally be able to drink whole milk. At that point his entire diet will consist of whole milk, juices and table foods.

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