Ever wonder which milk is best to serve your child? Since you have a few options (whole, low-fat, and nonfat), it can cause parents to feel unsure about what the best choice is. Don’t make it too complicated. The fat content is the only thing that separates each type apart. But to make it even easier for you, we will give you a guideline of the appropriate ages to shift from one type of milk to another. Firstly, it’s important to start your child on white milk only. Allowing your child to get in the habit of drinking chocolate or strawberry milk will cause them to never want to drink white milk. The sugar content is very high in flavored milk and causes the children to crave only the sugary type so it is best to avoid flavored milk altogether.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that no child under 12 months old should drink any type of cow’s milk. This is because any child under 1 year of age cannot digest cow’s milk as easily as his or her mother’s breast milk or baby formula. A baby’s kidneys also cannot handle cow’s milk due to the high levels of minerals and protein, in addition to cow’s milk not containing the proper amounts of Vitamin C, iron, and other essential nutrients babies require for healthy development.
It is recommended that children between the ages of 12 to 24 months should drink whole pasteurized milk while children 2 years and older should drink low-fat milk (1% to 2%). For children to get sufficient nutrients like Vitamin D and calcium from cow’s milk, The AAP recommends children consume about 16 to 20 ounces of cow’s milk per day, which equals about 2 to 2 ½ cups per day. They also advise to not allow more than 3 cups of cow’s milk per day to your child or they may not have an appetite to eat healthy food that is vital to keeping their growing bodies healthy. Instead, offer your child clean water. If your child’s body is intolerant to cow’s milk, speak with your pediatrician to see what the best option is for your child to still receive the essential vitamins and nutrients not being offered through cow’s milk.
In regards to the water, it’s important to offer water after the milk limit has been reached since sugary drinks like juice and soda will simply cause your child to only crave sugar which is not healthy for their bodies. Just instill the 2 W’s (white milk and water) into your family’s diet and it will keep everybody healthy and happy!