Sep 03 2013

What Type of Milk Should Toddlers Drink?

Published by at 10:06 pm under Family Meals

This is a blog about encouraging fruit and vegetable consumption, however because I work with families I get a lot of questions about feeding babies.  In the last week of  July I got two inquiries about transitioning from formula to milk so I thought I would share the information below.

The reason cows milk is encouraged as a replacement for breast milk and formula is for its calcium,  protein, vitamin D  and calorie  content.  Many of the non-dairy milks can be fortified with calcium but they may be low in calories and fat. Young babies need both calories and fat. Not all non-dairy milks will carry Vitamin D.
A child who is a robust and enthusiastic eater could probably do just fine on any “milk” because they will eat plenty of different foods to get what they need. A child who is a not-so-enthusiastic eater needs to make every food choice count- including the “milk” choice. Ask your child’s healthcare provider about the type of “milk” to feed your baby and toddler.
Here is how they compare
                                                                 Protein (g)    Fat (g)   Calories
Cow’s Milk                                               8                       5           160
Almond milk                                           2                        2.5         60
Horchata nut and grain drink                1                         4          140
Rice milk                                            < 1                           2         120
Soy milk                                             6-7                         1-3          95
Goats milk                                         8.7                          10         168
When selecting a non-dairy milk avoid the flavored ones as they are more like dessert than milk . Don’t forget about whole milk yogurt as a milk replacement it has the same nutrient composition but it is fermented and has unique health benefits.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “What Type of Milk Should Toddlers Drink?”

  1. Dulcineaon 04 Sep 2013 at 6:52 am

    A friend of mine says that goats milk is easier for babies/toddlers to digest themselves. What does research say? Thanks!

  2. eileenBon 16 Sep 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Hi Dulcinea,
    The American Academy of Pediatrics says the fat in goat milk is more readily digested than cow milk but it is not recommended in the first year of life and it has a lower concentration of folic acid and some other nutrients. If a child is prone to allergies they can still be allergic to the protein in goat milk just as they could be to cows milk. I always encourage moms and dads to check with their child’s health care provider about what is best- they know your health history.

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