What Age Should I Stop Feeding My Baby Formula?

Wondering what age you should stop feeding your baby formula? While there are no hard rules, check out our baby tips to help guide your decision.

When should I stop giving my baby formula?  This is actually a question I have had recently, my son is 5 months old (no, I am not thinking of stopping any time soon, just looking ahead).  I have a 6 year old and while I remember things like her first favorite song, I can’t seem to remember the critical ‘mom’ things like when to stop baby formula.  Since I had this question, I assumed (and rightly so!) many other moms had the same question.

Related: Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding & Formula Feeding at the Same Time

What Age Should I Stop Feeding My Baby Formula?

Everything I could find says do not think about taking away the formula before 12 months.  Formula has so many nutrients and vitamins (obviously, we are giving it to our babies).  You want to be sure your child is eating a variety of foods, getting his vitamin and other healthy things he needs to grow.  Kids are picky little buggers, and it is almost like they are born to be this way.  When you are ready to make the switch, whether it is to whole cow’s milk, or whatever other milk you choose, make the switch a slow one.

My personal suggestion (as well as many other moms out there) is to add the milk to the formula for a bit.  Mix them together.  It gives him the taste of something new without flipping his little world upside down.  I don’t know about your little humans, but mine definitely knows what his bottle is, and knows what is in it and what it tastes like.  Unless you really want to make your baby mad, I would combine whatever milk you choose to use, with his formula for a bit.

Something you can do if you feel it is time to make the switch (and make sure this is your decision, do not give in to peer pressure) at his nighttime feeding, give him straight formula, fill his sleepy little belly with something he is used to and likes.  Leave the changes for the day.

Related: Challenges in Transitioning Your Baby to Solid Food

I recently made a change in my son’s diet.  I started him on cereal, it has been about a month or so now.  I started with oatmeal (cue the gasps)  He loves it!  I put a scoop of his formula in it and mix with water.  My point in telling you this is that in addition to his bottles of formula (which is all he is still getting at the moment) I am still giving him formula nutrients in his cereal.

Apparently the general rule of thumb is that before 12 months of age, formula is the way to go.  The idea being that you want to make sure your little is getting what he needs from other food sources before taking away the one source.  You can always discuss this with his pediatrician. I did read in some of my research that some moms continued to give formula until 18 months, and some even longer.  There is nothing in the formula that will harm your child (obviously).  The debate then becomes similar to the breastfeeding debate (in terms of how long).

It is a big job raising little humans, making sure they are getting the healthy things in life they need to grow and not missing out on something important.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg (their health).

What have you done in the past with your older children?  Unless you are like me and can’t remember, post below in the comments section when you made ‘the switch’ and stopped feeding your baby formula.


18 thoughts on “What Age Should I Stop Feeding My Baby Formula?”

  1. I believed I also waited 12 months before weening my child from formula to regular milk. I know it wasn’t a hard stop. There was a long transition period. But I do remember my baby loved the taste of regular milk . Thanks for sharing these tips. Very helpful for today’s moms :).

  2. I am glad I am not the only one that forgets these kinds of things. My daughter is 10 now and she asks questions like this sometimes and I say…I just don’t remember that kind of thing. I think I was so worried about doing everything right when she was little that it was so stressful and my brain just left i behind. I did keep a baby book for the big things but I don’t remember the formula very well.

  3. You’re right to mix the formula and the milk from breastfeeding. Some babies don’t like the taste of milk powder and they cry and cry and they don’t drink. This is why moms who don’t want to continue breastfeeding find it really difficult to search for the perfect baby powder brand for their babies that will taste like their own.

  4. I think the most important thing is to decide what is best for baby and the family as well. Each baby and their needs are so different from another. I don’t think there is a right answer to an age.

  5. I don’t remember when we stopped the girls from drinking formula and transitioned them to whole milk. I know we started cutting their bottle off at a one year old though. Hopefully, I’ll have my own babies in the next couple of year and I want to breastfeed. I know weaning is different for each parent so I’ll go with the flow.

  6. Not quite sure about this. I breastfed my babies full time and they rejected baby formula. We had to donate all of them to local community.. Both kids started eating solid foods at 11 months. My pediatrician suggested to start giving them solid foods early

  7. We usually switch to cow’s milk after age 1, but we’ll finish off any formula left in the container. I think when I stop the bottles then too (I don’t remember for sure!) Cow’s milk goes in a cup or sippy cup. I guess that’s how I do both transitions at once. Luckily, both my kids have adapted well.

  8. I think it’s really up to the parent and child. I know nothing about formula. I have only exclusively breastfed my three kids. My youngest is 5 years old and still nursing. From my studies on breastfeeding, it seems around the world it’s normal to wean between 4 and 6 years old when they self wean, which is what we practice.

  9. I never fed any of my babies formula as I nursed all my kiddos. I would not be very good assistance in this area to anyone, but I would say to always follow the advise your pediatrician give to you. I always listened to whatever they told me even if MILs and SILs were giving their two sense.

  10. I think the most important thing to remember is that every baby is different. Our mommy instinct is typically dead on with our kid’s needs. This is great information for moms considering stopping formula.

  11. I wasn’t even sure babies were supposed to stop formula at a certain age. Clearly I know nothing about motherhood (yet). All these articles about what to do/when/etc are stuff I’m definitely going to have to read up on once I get preg! Hopefully sooner than later :)

  12. This post will be really helpful to new mothers, or those revisiting new motherhood for the the second time. It sounds as if you’re doing a great job in raising your family. I think , as you say, doing things and introducing new foods gradually is key.

  13. Hi Tabatha, I remember I started introducing her to other milk when she was 18 months old. Before that, she breastfed and self-weaned at the age of 18 months old. After trying several different kind of milk (soy, coconut, hemp, almond), she settled with hemp milk.

  14. After failed breastfeeding attempts with my first 3 I used formula. I used to give it to them until 12 months. They were all eating normal food, and having milk etc but they’d always had a bottle or two of formula still. Some may have been done sooner, I can’t remember but I just go by the child…

  15. I have always heard to feed babies formula until they are 12 months old and I like your suggestion of putting a little milk in the formula to gradually switch them over. I think it is up to you about when to stop it as you can easily put formula in a cup and still break them from the bottle so that will not hinder you on the age you stop. I did not ever feed my babies the commercial baby food. We have always been sustainable lifestyle folks so my babies ate from my garden and I pureed their food and prepared it that way.

  16. I didn’t do formula with my son, but he stopped breastfeeding at 16 months. I did plan to go to 18 months, but figured if he was done, I was done too. I definitely made sure to start supplementing with solid foods well before that though.

  17. My doctor always told me (with all 3) to stop at one year old. I think that we may have stopped a little before one year old with the youngest. I think it really has to do with how well the baby is doing on baby food and solids. I always defer to the pediatrician.

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