When Should Toddlers Stop Drinking Whole Milk?

I am aware that nonfat milk should eventually be consumed by children as part of a low-fat diet. But at what age should parents transfer their children from full to nonfat milk? Sheila

For at least the first year and possibly longer, breast milk is the preferred food. Cow’s milk should not be given to children before their first birthday.

Fat is an essential component of a baby and toddler’s diet for a number of reasons, including optimal brain development. Therefore, it is typically advised that children aged one to two have whole milk. It is then okay to move to low-fat or nonfat (skim) milk if their growth is constant.

Note: Before they turn two, children who are at risk of being overweight can transition to lower-fat milk.

If you have any worries about your child’s development or dietary requirements, talk to your doctor.

How long should your toddler continue to drink whole milk?

The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans support the long-standing recommendation of the AAP that, after weaning, children should drink whole milk until age 2 and low-fat (1%) or skim milk after that.

In 2008, the doctors’ group made one change to their recommendations: children under 2 who are at risk for being overweight or whose family has a history of heart disease, high cholesterol, or obesity should start with reduced-fat (2%) milk instead of whole milk.

The minerals in whole milk are important for growing bones and brains, but once a child enters the toddler years, the emphasis shifts to lower-fat milk to avoid the excess calories and saturated fat that whole milk contains, according to Gans. She asserts, “We cannot ignore the issue of childhood obesity.”

It’s obvious that the suggestion worked. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that since the 1970s, consumption of whole milk has decreased.

When should I introduce 2% milk to my child?

Around the time of their second birthday, the majority of toddlers are prepared to transition to 2 percent milk. Toddlers should only have whole milk prior to that. The University of Michigan Health System advises that children under the age of five should consume no more than 2 or 3 glasses of milk per day, or between 16 and 24 ounces, of either whole or 2 percent milk.

why whole milk shouldn’t be consumed by toddlers?

According to research, full-fat milk is better for children and won’t have an impact on their weight. (PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Pictures) )

However, experts agree that cow’s milk is a need for children and should always be consumed in its fattiest form.

According to Lucy Upton, a professional pediatric dietician and spokesman for the Association of UK Dieticians, milk is a rich source of calcium, iodine, vitamins A and B12, and fat, and it’s the fat that helps kids achieve their energy needs.

According to Upton, “fat is highly vital in children.” “They require a great deal of energy.”

Dairy, protein, and carbs are the three main energy sources for children, and compared to adults, children require much more energy per pound (or kilo). She states that a two-year-old on average need 80 calories per kilogram of body weight and emphasizes that adults only require about 50 percent of that.

Although this finding was purely observational, a recent study also discovered that children who drank full-fat milk were less likely to be obese than those who drank low-fat milk.

Why then deny them the nice things when they have so much energy to burn?

Don’t, according to experts, unless intolerance or allergy is a real problem — something that affects 2% to 7% of kids, according to Upton.

Avoid toddler milks, despite what the ads say

Toddler milk, marketed as a replacement for baby formula, is a popular beverage available today that is aimed at youngsters between the ages of one and three. You may not have heard of it.

Due to their added sugar and salt as well as lower protein content than regular cow’s milk, health and nutrition experts have long cautioned avoiding toddler milks. This advice was recently reaffirmed in a consensus statement issued by important US health and nutrition groups.

However, a research released on Tuesday indicated that, thanks in large part to more advertising, toddler milk sales climbed by 2.6 times between 2006 and 2015, from 47 to 121 million ounces.

According to Yoon-Young Choi, a statistician at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut, “we observed that sales and advertisements for toddler milk climbed and declined for formula.”

The research team hypothesizes that this may be caused by recent increases in breastfeeding rates, which have decreased sales of infant formula and increased interest in toddler milk.

But the recommendation is clear: Children should transition to natural, whole milk after they become 12 months old, and those between the ages of 12 and 24 months should drink two to three cups of whole milk every day.

Keep it full-fat

Skimmed milk is not advised for youngsters, especially those under the age of five, according to Upton. She continues, “Even with older children, it would very much depend on the individual.” (Skim milk is the same as regular milk in the US and the UK.)

The British Nutrition Foundation’s Simon Steenson, a nutritionist, concurs, saying that “children who are eating well can be given semi-skimmed milk after 2 years, but skimmed or 1% milk is not recommended as a drink for children under 5 years.”

Neither should it have an impact on their weight.

Children between the ages of one and 18 who drank whole milk had a lower risk of being obese, according to Canadian researchers.

In fact, compared to children who drank reduced-fat milk, their chances of being obese were 39% lower.

The team compared youngsters who drank full milk (3.25% fat) with those who drank reduced-fat (1.5 to 2% fat) milk in 14 studies with a total of 20,897 kids.

According to study leader Jonathon Maguire, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto, the children who drank the full-fat milk were not heavier.

However, Maguire emphasizes that the results were simply observational and that there are other possibilities as to why this might be the case.

He argues that kids who drink full-fat milk may feel more satisfied, or else there may be a potential that parents who drink lower-fat milk have children who are larger, according to the concept of “reverse causality.”

To determine more specifically if the amount of fat in the milk that children consume is a significant role in determining their weight, Maguire and his team will now perform a randomized, controlled trial with 500 children under the age of five over a two-year period. They will take into account the children’s snacking patterns, starting weights, and other weight-related variables.

Upton is relieved to learn that a trial to ascertain the real reason for this association between full-fat milk and an increased risk of obesity will shortly begin. She cites the examples of portion sizes, meal frequency, snacking, and activity levels as examples of the “multiple factors” that can affect a child’s BMI (Body Mass Index). It’s a pretty complicated problem.

Which milk is appropriate for a 3-year-old?

It could appear that there are a full smorgasbord of suitable options for sippy cup drinking based on the sheer variety of liquids promoted to young children (the juices! the electrolyte replacements! the probiotic drinks!).

However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that the only two beverages that are ideal for very young children are milk and water.

According to the AAP, infants between the ages of 12 and 24 months should drink 23 cups (1624 ounces) of whole milk daily, while kids between the ages of 2 and 5 should drink 22.5 cups (1620 ounces) of low-fat or skim milk daily.

Which milk is best for kids under four?

Before the age of one, cow’s milk should not be introduced. Plain, pasteurized cow’s milk is the best milk after a child starts consuming it. Up until the age of two, whole-fat milk is encouraged for children, unless you are advised to convert to low-fat milk earlier due to factors including family history, risk of heart disease, or obesity.

The amounts of milk listed below are advised to promote a child’s growth and development, even though each child’s nutritional requirements may differ.

  • Newborns (0-12 months) Breast milk or infant formula should be consumed by infants under the age of 12 months.
  • Whole dairy milk for 12 to 24 months, up to two to three cups per day.
  • 2-3 years, up to two cups per day of skim or low-fat dairy milk
  • 4–8 yearsskim or low-fat dairy milk, up to 2.5 cups a day
  • Skim or low-fat dairy milk, up to three cups per day, for ages 9 to 18.

Consult your kid’s pediatrician or a trained dietitian if your child has been diagnosed with a milk allergy, has trouble digesting lactose (the sugar in milk), or has other dietary restrictions to be sure they are getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy.

Learn more

With the help of kid weight management programs like Get Up & Go, COACH, bariatrics, and nutrition clinics, you may discover more about healthier behaviors for your family.

Receive twice monthly emails with parenting and health recommendations from Children’s Health professionals. Join right away.

Which milk is best for children aged two?

It is obvious that not all milk and milk substitutes are created equal when it comes to toddlers. When choosing milk for your 1-2-year-old, choose whole, pasteurized cow’s milk (3.25% milkfat) or whole, pasteurized goat’s milk enriched with vitamin D and folic acid. With the right nourishment, your child will be able to do what they do best—be curious, be silly, and have fun!

Is 2% milk preferable to full milk?

One of the first things to think about when determining whether to drink whole or 2-percent milk is the nutritional profile, which compares calories, fat, and other crucial components. The fact that whole milk contains more calories and fat than 2-percent may not come as a surprise. But, the differences aren’t that great. Compared to 2% fat milk, which has 120 calories and 5 grams of fat per cup, whole milk has 150 calories and 8 grams of fat. Both contain 12 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of protein per cup, respectively.

Similar amounts of vitamins and minerals are also present, while calcium and vitamin A are significantly superior sources of nutrition in 2-percent milk. It’s significant to notice that part of the vitamin A in the low-fat milk has been added, as some of the fat-soluble vitamins are also removed when the fat is removed.

Do infants actually require milk?

Toddlers at this age are transitioning to a diet that is more like yours. Continue adding new tastes and textures. Food preferences are formed early in life, so start introducing healthful meals to your child.

Serve foods that are rich in the nutrients toddlers need to develop healthy and strong because they have small stomachs. Cut back on sugar and unnecessary calories. Give your youngster no liquids with added sugar, including soda, juice, sports drinks, and flavored milk. Serve 100% fruit juice in cups, not bottles, and keep daily intake to no more than 4 ounces.

Around 15 to 18 months old, your toddler will start experimenting with self-feeding, initially with their fingers and subsequently with utensils. Give your child several opportunities to practice these abilities, but offer assistance when they become frustrated. As your child’s talents advance, take a backseat and let them lead.

The table is one location to give your toddler a sense of control because toddlers like to assert their independence. Serve a wide range of nutritious foods from all the food categories and allow your child choose which ones and how much to eat.

What About Milk?

Milk is a crucial component of a toddler’s diet because it contains calcium and vitamin D, both of which aid in the development of healthy bones. Most young children under two should have whole milk. Your doctor might advise switching to reduced fat (2%) milk if your toddler is overweight or if obesity, high cholesterol, or heart issues run in the family.

Choose unsweetened soy beverages supplemented with calcium and vitamin D if your youngster is unable to consume cow’s milk. Almond, oat, rice, and coconut milk alternatives provide less protein and could not be fortified.

Children at this age don’t require formulas with additional sweets or special toddler milk. Toddlers can obtain all the nourishment they require by consuming a range of solid foods, as well as cow’s milk or a fortified soy beverage.

The ideal time to switch to a cup is between 12 and 18 months of age. Instead of discontinuing bottles all at once, start by eliminating them from the mealtime feeding routine. After your child has started the meal, provide whole milk in a cup.

Why Is Iron Important?

Red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout the body, are made of iron. Low iron levels may cause anemia, learning and behavioural issues, and growth concerns (a low number of red blood cells).

Toddlers who are older than 12 months old may not consume enough iron-rich foods in their diets and may no longer drink iron-fortified formula.

What amount of milk should a 3-year-old consume?

Parents of toddlers and preschoolers frequently lament, “My child doesn’t eat enough,” and “My child only eats a small variety of foods.” You might be shocked to hear that excessive milk consumption consistently surfaces when examining the eating habits of many of these kids.

In a child’s total diet, fluids are frequently forgotten while we concentrate on the foods, or lack thereof, in the diet. It might be difficult for many kids to switch from a diet based on milk to one based on food. It may seem like a simple fix to switch a child from breast milk or formula to cow’s milk or other milk alternatives. Additionally, it is far simpler for active toddlers to drink their calories than to eat them!

Cow’s milk (or milk substitutes) do not, however, supply the adequate nutrition needed for a toddler’s growing body, but breast milk and formula do for a newborn. Large amounts of milk have the unfortunate effect of filling up a small person’s stomach, which is roughly the size of her fist, and signaling to her brain that she is full. The majority of children are quite good at recognizing when they are hungry, so once they have consumed all of the non-water fluid they were drinking, they will either refuse to eat or eat very little when it is time to eat.

Milk is a nutritious food that is a good addition to a child’s diet because milk is high in nutrients, but as with other things, moderation is the key.

  • The suggested daily intake for children aged 1-2 is approximately 16 ounces, and much less if your youngster consumes yogurt. Yogurt has the same amount of calcium as milk, thus it can be used in place of it ounce for ounce. 4 ounces of milk, three to four times a day, is the ideal serving size. Four ounces of milk’s calcium content can only be absorbed by toddler bodies at once. When a toddler consumes more than 4 ounces of milk at once, his body will only absorb the first 4 ounces of calcium and excrete the remainder.
  • Drinking no more than 6 ounces of milk (or yogurt) at a time is advised for children aged 3 to 4 years old.
  • Iron deficiency anemia can be brought on by too much calcium preventing iron absorption. Children with anemia may have less energy and weaker immune systems, making them more prone to colds.
  • Too much milk can cause bellies to feel full, which can also result in a child’s diet being less iron-rich overall, increasing the risk of iron deficiency anemia.
  • Consuming less food can also result in consuming fewer of the other nutrients that their bodies require.

What methods can I employ to reduce the amount of milk in my child’s diet if I believe it may be impairing dietary intake?

  • Wean young children who are still using bottles off of them (way easier said than done, I know). Try serving milk in a cup instead (sippy cup or straw). If you can wean your infant off the bottle, milk consumption frequently drops right away. Before the age of 11 months, begin weaning your child off the bottle if they are under 1 year old. So that they have time to grow used to it, start giving them breast milk or formula in a cup. In this manner, weaning them off the bottle once they reach 1 can be done more smoothly.
  • See what that portion size looks like by measuring out 4 ounces, or 1/2 cup (or 6 ounces, or 3/4 cup for the preschooler). How tiny it actually is can astound you! When preparing milk for your child, bear this in mind.
  • Only serve milk during meal and snack times. Give them water at mealtimes and during the day if they are still thirsty rather than juice, Gatorade, etc. (This conversation about drinking can come later.)
  • Be honest with yourself about how long it will take your child to get used to drinking less milk and eating more meals. Knowing that your child won’t likely hunger throughout this transition even though it may take a few days for you to notice an increase in food consumption.
  • Several studies have shown that youngsters who are active, jumping up and down, and applying pressure to their bones are actually strengthening those bones if you are worried about bone health. Therefore, encourage age-appropriate mobility in the toddlers!

Again, consuming moderate amounts of milk can be a nutrient-rich component of the diet. Make milk a component of a varied diet to guarantee that your child receives enough nourishment overall.