As a nurse in a pediatric office we get asked a TON of questions regarding milk consumption. Rightly so, I might add. There is a time and place for when to start consuming certain types of milk in the pediatric world.
This post we will talk a lot about cow’s milk, as well as possible better milk alternatives for your family . However, there needs to be a disclaimer that I am not your pediatrician and that I am not here to decide what milk you should give your child. I am here just to show you what is out there and how we practice that method. Consult your pediatrician if you have medical questions.
First off, you should aim to start consuming whole milk after 12 months old. There are a few exceptions here, but for the most part we say that little ones can start drinking whole milk then. However, if you are still breastfeeding at this age then by all means keep going with breastmilk rather than whole cows milk or other milk alternatives.
Whole milk is the gold standard when it comes to all the kinds of milks. There is a lot of debate as to unpasteurized or pasteurized whole milk. That is a decision you need to make for yourselves but you may want to do a lot of research from reputable sources rather than just take your next instagram bloggers word for it!
Whole milk has all the nutrients your little one still needs as far as bone health, vitamins, and other minerals. However, some people can’t consume milk/dairy products and they have allergies or other adverse reactions to it.
If parents have questions as to what other milk alternatives are out there and how much they need to give to their children to meet their dietary needs, then the start below should help. The milk industry has come a long way and I am very happy that there are lots of other alternatives.
The handout has some of the major nutrients that you need to be aware of when looking at milk alternatives. You may want to look into phosphorus and vitamin A as a few other nutrients you want to be aware of that are not in this handout. The amounts listed below do vary by brand, but this list is compiled of some of the most common brands out there in North America.
As for my family, we chose to give our son whole cows milk with DHA added as well as Omega 3 because he is a sort of a picky eater and with him drinking a minimum of 16 ounces a day of milk it will help his little brain grow and develop appropriately. Now, when he is sick we stay clear of most dairy products because it can cause an increase in phlegm which will cause him to have a harder time when he tries to cough. We will usually go with an almond or oat milk alternative.
There is a lot of research in the milk world these days and I am excited to see what we will learn from all of it! If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me via comment below or email me! You can also reach out to your child’s provider to see what their thoughts are.