As soon as a child is ready to be weaned it is my advice to start decreasing the milk gradually to make room for solid food. I feel we drink too much milk in the UK and too much emphasis is put on how much milk should be in the child's diet. The NHS give us a recommended amount but in addition to the milk children can be introduced to other dairy foods like cheese and yogurt. This also accounts for their total dairy intake.
Many children have an intolerance to dairy so why place so much emphasis on milk? When their diet starts to become more varied with different foods it contains the vitamins and nutrients children need for their growing bodies. It's like a pair of scales, while we continue to give milk as the basis of the baby's diet the scales start to rise in favour of food but dip with the milk intake.
Bring it on! Big boys really get into eating solid foods and milk becomes less important. Food is the direction you are going. A mixture of mushed up food and finger food gives your child the opportunity to experience texture, hand/eye co-ordination, taste, social skills, language, smell as well as being a pleasurable experience.