Part of a toddler’s diet is often milk. Experts advise that children under 2 years should have no more than 1 and two-thirds to 2 cups of whole milk daily. Additionally, toddlers over 2 years should drink no more than 2 to 2.5 cups of milk.
Parents or caregivers of infants
However, after 12 months, toddlers need the calcium, vitamins, and minerals in whole milk.
Cow’s milk is the best choice for toddlers due to its high nutritional value. Caregivers may give unsweetened, fortified soy milk to children with milk allergies or lactose intolerance. Other plant-based milks may lack the nutrients in fortified cow’s milk and soy milk.
This article examines how much milk a toddler needs and the benefits and types of milk.
According to the Department of Agriculture, toddlers under two require 1 and two-thirds to 2 cups of dairy foods daily. After age 2, a toddler may drink slightly more milk, between 2 and 2.5 cups daily.
Other drinks, such as fruit juices, should never replace milk or water in a child’s diet because they are less nutritionally beneficial.
The following dairy products can supplement the nutritional needs of toddlers who will not or cannot drink milk:
- fortified soy products such as yogurts
Some dairy-like foods are high in fat and should not replace milk in a toddler’s diet. These include:
- cream cheese
- sour cream
Milk contains these vitamins and minerals along with:
- vitamin A
- vitamin E
- vitamin C
Cow’s milk also contains all the essential amino acids in a highly digestible form.
While whole milk is best for toddlers, it can be filling, leaving a child unable or unwilling to eat other foods.
A rounded diet is vital to optimal overall development, so limiting the amount of milk a toddler consumes is important.
Parents and caregivers may also consider giving milk in a half-full sippy cup after meals, which can help slow down drinking.
Children between the ages of 1 and 2 years should drink whole milk because it contains the fat and nutrients necessary for development.
People can speak with a pediatrician for advice on the best type of milk to give their child.
Milk can play a crucial role in healthy development during the toddler years.
Experts recommend no more than 1 and two-thirds to 2 cups of milk per day for toddlers between 1–2 years of age. Children over 2 years should consume 2 to 2.5 cups of milk daily.
Toddlers under 2 years need to drink whole milk for the fat and nutrients vital to healthy bone and organ development. Those over 2 years can consume whole, skim, or low fat milk.
Children with lactose intolerance or who will not drink whole milk may drink soy milk. However, some milk alternatives, including plant-based types of milk, are a less suitable choice since they lack certain nutrients.