My baby refuses his milk. How can I make sure he’s getting enough?

Expert advice on getting calcium into a reluctant milk drinker


While solids are becoming an increasingly important part of your baby’s diet, before 12 months, he still needs around a pint of formula milk, or regular breastfeeds, every day. It’s normal for babies to drop feeds gradually as they increase their intake of solid foods, but you should still be giving him breast- or bottle feeds alongside.


Some babies do get such a taste for solids that they go off their milk completely, which can be worrying as a parent. If your baby is reluctant to take his milk feeds, it may be because he’s filling up on solids, so altering his feeding routine may help to increase his appetite for milk. Try, for example, giving him milk as soon as he wakes in the morning, followed by breakfast 45 minutes later, rather than giving him breakfast first and milk afterwards. You could also try giving him a milk feed instead of a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon – using a trainer cup rather than a bottle may help to make it more interesting for him.

If you’re still struggling to get the full daily amount of milk into your baby, then look at other ways to get calcium into his diet. Include calcium-rich foods like ground seeds, green leafy vegetables, pulses, canned fish and fortified cereals, as well as dairy produce like cheese, yoghurt and milk-based sauces. Beyond 12 months, the daily requirement of milk falls to around half a pint, so in the mean time, just make sure you’re meeting his needs for calcium in other ways.


Answered by: Catherine Jeans, clinical nutritional therapist,

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