Did you know that children 1 year of age and older do not have to drink any milk as long as they eat a wide variety of foods? Did you also know that humans are the only species that drinks another species’ milk? Ok…so before Grandma and Great Grandma let me know why this could be considered a blasphemous statement, let me explain.

By 1 year of age, children should be getting their nutrition from foods that they eat and not from what they are drinking. Children should have a varied diet of foods that include proteins, healthy fats, and calories along with vitamins and minerals. While whole milk can be a source of fat, calories, protein, vitamin D and calcium, all of these nutrients can be incorporated through other “common” kid foods including yogurt, fruits, meat, cheese and beans just to name a few. For those children that do drink whole milk, their intake of whole milk should be limited to no more than 16-20 ounces total each day as higher amounts of milk can actually lead to problems like anemia. So what should your child be drinking after that first birthday? Water, water and more water!

Now, like most things in life, there will be exceptions to this rule. If children are not eating table foods well or for children with weight gain and growing concerns, then their need for milk should be discussed with their pediatrician. However, for those parents with food-loving, non-picky, “clean the plate” 1 year olds, please don’t stress about milk intake!

The more you know…

Dr. C