Transitioning to Milk after 12 months old. Is it necessary? Technically, NO. Let me explain.
Here are some reasons why milk (and alternatives) are recommended after 1:
▪️They are typically easily accepted after formula or breastmilk
▪️They are nutrient-dense with many different essential nutrients that kids need for growth and development (fat, calcium & vitamin D) … but the truth is, with adequate planning, it’s possible to meet these nutritional needs WITHOUT milk at all.
When it comes to toddlers (ages 1+) & milk:
If they are drinking No Milk At All:
This can be okay, but the focus really needs to be on food! Especially calcium & vitamin D foods.
If they are drinking 8oz a day:
This is also okay, but the focus still needs to be on food.
If they are drinking 16oz a day:
This, too, is okay, but try to keep it around that to leave room for solids.
If they are drinking 24oz or more a day:
This amount can be okay on occasion but try to keep below this to leave room for solids & so that it doesn’t begin to interfere with iron absorption
It’s generally recommended to wean from formula to whole milk after 12 months of age. You can also wean from breastmilk BUT can/should continue as long as you like & are able! (The World Health Organization recommends until 2 years old, if possible).
If because of a CPMA, lactose intolerance, or your family chooses not to use animal products, milk alternatives are okay too! There are still ways to meet your child’s nutritional needs. Learn more about calcium sources here.
My goal is to help parents & caregivers best understand their child’s nutritional needs so you can meet your child’s nutritional needs based on your individual circumstances– budget, food allergies, access to food, etc. all play a big part in what we eat & offer our kids.
Milk, while an excellent source of many essential nutrients, is not truly something you HAVE to offer because it is not the ONLY source of essential nutrients.
If you do offer milk, that is completely fine! We drink it too.
Be mindful that:
1. Milk is very filling on its own and can therefore decrease appetite and cause less solid food consumption
2. Too much milk (calcium, in particular) will actually interfere with iron absorption. And if they’re eating fewer solids, chances are they already aren’t eating enough iron-rich foods
3. Large amounts of dairy can contribute to constipation
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**The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. For more information please read our full disclaimer here.**