We recently became aware that at 19 months Tilly is due if not overdue making the change from bottles if formula to cows milk from a cup. While pretty much everything else has changed in her routine, a bottle first thing in the morning and again before bed have been essential, fixed elements in the day.

We had tried giving Tilly cows milk months ago of course and had been flatly rejected however now we had a fresh determination to make it happen. Eating three meals and day, and of late, eating us out if house and home, Tilly has no further need for formula. It’s relatively pricey, especially the instant cartons, and making the change would do us all good.


Initially I was too hasty to see Tilly make the change and got an understandably appalled response when suddenly trying to change her bottle for a toddler cup. No, this was going to require a more gradual approach.

Reading online forums, other suggested progressively adding more cows milk to the formula until you’re only giving cows milk. The SMA powered formula uses one ‘shot’ of powder per 30ml water, so I worked on replacing each of the 6 shots in a 180ml bottle with milk over the space of a number of days.

Our SMA collection and replacing it a bottle of milk

Moving from formula to cows milk

This all went smoothly enough until finally giving all cows milk for the first time, which was refused at bedtime. A quick addition of some instant formula saved the day.

This was confusing. Surely a 80% cows milk mixture tastes all but indistinguishable from a bottle of 100% milk? Nevertheless we retreated and for the next morning reverted to mixture with a small proportion of formula.

Using the cows milk the next day I noticed it was starting to turn. Had Tilly picked up on this or was it simply too cold coming from the fridge?

We kept with 10-20% formula in the milk for a few days before trying again, this time heating the milk for a short time to bring it nearer to room temperature.

Success! This time it was accepted in the morning and has been at every milk time since.

Suddenly I found that we could free up a fair amount of kitchen space devoted to formula feeding. The large powder canisters and instant packets were removed from prime kitchen shelving locations. Meanwhile the cooling bowl, a feature in the kitchen since Tilly was tiny, could finally make way for more normal kitchen activity. Less cost, more space. This was excellent progress.

Next in my sights are the bottles, as together with the sterilising box these are another big use if kitchen space. One suggestion made online is to get the toddler to decorate the new cup, after which they’ll be desperate to use it. This, I think, will be plan A and I’ll let you know how we get on!

Ethans Escapades

5 thoughts on “From formula to milk

  • 19 September 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Hello there, that’s really interesting, it never occurred to me that temperature might make a difference. Our little boy is older but I would like him to drink more fluids of any kind-perhaps taking the cold edge off is the answer. Thank you, I will give it a try! And good luck with the cup. Really enjoyed reading your blog #ssamazingachievements

  • 22 September 2014 at 9:57 am

    It’s funny with all of my son’s issues moving him from formula to milk in a beaker was done very quickly. It just happened overnight, I must have been very determined that day! My friends on the other hand have had the same issues as you. I’m glad you finally worked out how to make the move over. I’m taking notes as I’m sure our little lady won’t move over so easily. Isn’t it nice claiming some space back, baby stuff takes up so much room!

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)

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  • 27 March 2015 at 10:46 am

    Interesrting this. Our eldest was well into her fourth year before she gave up her bottle of milk at bedtime. We just stuck with it until she no longer wanted it. At mealtimes she was using cups so we weren’t fussed.

    • 27 March 2015 at 10:53 am

      That’s interesting John. I’d read advice against using a bottle too late but then there are warnings about most things these days!


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