Milk is such an important component of a baby’s diet. But it is also so much more than that. A comforter, part of their routine, gets them to sleep. And we all love a sleeping baby!
But when is milk too much? Or when you stop breastfeeding, how much milk should they be drinking after they are around one year of age? And which milk? Or what milk is ok for them to drink?
*A note on breastfeeding – Breastfeed to your heart’s content. The WHO recommendation for breastfeeding is until at least two years of age, but it is a personal choice and one you should take, well, personally.
*A note on formula – Assuming your child is a healthy and thriving possum, there is no need to continue formula into the toddler years (over one years of age). Adequate nutrition can be obtained through regular milks and foods. It is important for your child to be eating foods to obtain nutrition, and develop healthy eating habits, rather than relying on formula for their nutrients.
Children over the age of one are now able to drink cow’s milk as their milk drink. The best choice is a full fat milk as little people are still growing rapidly and require the additional energy that full fat milk provides. The advice is to not drink cow’s milk before the age of one due to many reasons, but one of them is the higher sodium or salt levels in cow’s milk which is difficult to process in little ones with immature kidney functioning. Of course they can have little bits of milk in cereals or muffins, this is more about their main milk drink.
If your child does not like cow’s milk, is intolerant or allergic to some of the components in cow’s milk or you would prefer they do not drink it, there are many different options on the market. Lactose free, goat’s milk, coconut milk, oats milk, almond milk, soy milk, endless options really. The only recommendation when choosing one of these options, is that little people have higher calcium requirements and, as they are not eating a comprehensive diet yet, calcium is easily accessed through milk. So try and choose an option of 100mg of calcium per 100ml serve. This information will be on the nutritional information panel.
How much milk should they be drinking?
The recommendation after one year of age for dairy is 1.5 serves which is 375ml or 1 ½ cups.
If they don’t like milk and would prefer to eat yoghurt and cheese, then that is fine as well! So don’t fret if your child doesn’t like milk. The concern is more for the overconsumption of milk. One reason is because it stops the child from eating other foods – they fill up on milk! It also has a link to a less varied diet and perhaps lower iron levels. This has been seen with a consumption of over 600ml of milk each day.
If your child doesn’t like milk and doesn’t like dairy foods like cheese and yoghurt and isn’t breastfeeding, talk to your GP or dietician about calcium rich foods and potentially about calcium supplementation.