Prior to 12 months of age, pediatricians do not generally recommend starting cow's milk, because babies less than 12 months of age can have a reaction to some proteins in the cow's milk that can cause anemia
. For this and other reasons, it is best to continue breastfeeding until 1 year if able, or to continue formula.
At 12 months, the risk of this reaction to cow's milk goes down significantly. Therefore, most pediatricians feel that it is advisable to introduce the milk at this time. It is best to use vitamin D fortified milk to improve healthy bones. Most babies this age can have whole milk, and you can give them up to 16 ounces or so a day as they like.
There are some exceptions to this. For example, if your baby is at risk of becoming overweight (talk to your pediatrician
to help determine this risk, which is largely based on genetic and family factors) you should use 2% milk rather than whole milk. At 2 years of age, all children should be switched to 1% milk, again to reduce unnecessary calories and prevent excessive weight gain and the emergence of obesity.