Baby formulas are manufactured to include all the vitamins, essential minerals and other elements a baby needs to one year of age. They are highly specialized recipes that ensure that your baby receives all his nutrients as recommended by infant health authorities. Babies must not be fed cow’s milk for the first twelve months of life because their digestive systems simply are not equipped to digest the complex proteins. This is why baby formula is vital to their growth and development.

For the first four months of life, babies consume solely breast milk, or formula and sometimes drinks of water. The introduction of solid foods after the fourth month is an exciting time, as little ones experience new tastes and textures. However, regardless of the foods they’re eating, it’s still essential that they receive adequate quantities of formula each day, otherwise they could be missing out on important nutritive elements.

As baby gets older, being spoon fed gives way to finger foods and his interest in drinking from a bottle may wane. It’s far more fun to splosh around in bowls of mushy vegetables and to pick up interesting tidbits of fruits and breads. Parents have to be vigilant about continuing the formula regime and ensuring that bottles are finished before encouraging eating solids.

Once that wonderful first birthday party is held, you can start introducing cow’s milk into your child’s diet. It’s also a great time to wean from the bottle to a sipper cup and encourage your littlie to be more independent. Gradually replace one formula feed per day with a cup of cow’s milk and keep an eye out for any signs of intolerance such as rashes, changes in bowel movements or tummy aches. If any of these symptoms occur, it could just be that his system is not adequately developed to process cow’s milk proteins and you might be best to wait another month. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor to exclude any food intolerances.

The difference in flavor between formula and cow’s milk may or may not be an issue for your child. Don’t be tempted to add sugar, chocolate or other flavorings to milk because it will ultimately be difficult to get your child to drink unadulterated milk at all. Try a fun and colorful sipper cup, or different methods of drinking such as with a straw.

You can also try adding cow’s milk to other dishes while introducing it slowly to the diet. A little mixed in with mashed potatoes is a good idea, as is making up cereal with milk instead of formula. Custards are usually popular with tiny tots, and you can also start buying yoghurts, cheeses and ice creams that are made specially for such little children.

The most important thing to remember is to not begin your child on cow’s milk until they are at least one year of age. Formula is of course, more expensive and a little inconvenient at times, but it truly is the best food to give babies until their first birthday.