The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no cow’s milk at all until your child turns 12 months old. (Find out more about when and how to introduce cow’s milk.) After that, the AAP recommends the following: Ages 12 to 23 months: Whole, pasteurized milk Age 2 and up: Low-fat milk (1 percent or 2 percent) The AAP doesn’t recommend reduced-fat milk for children younger than 24 months or nonfat (skim) milk for children age 2 and older unless they’re overweight or considered at risk for obesity – and even then, not without the approval of a doctor.
If you think your child falls into one of these categories, talk to your doctor about whether it’s a good idea to switch.See Also: When To Introduce Cows Milk
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Why should I wait until my baby is at least 12 months old to introduce cow's milk? Babies can't digest cow's milk as completely or easily as breast milk or formula. Cow's milk contains high concentrations of protein and minerals, which can tax your baby's immature kidneys. Cow's milk doesn't have the right amounts of iron, vitamin C, and other nutrients for infants. It may even cause iron-deficiency anemia in some babies, since cow's milk protein can irritate the lining of the digestive system, leading to blood in the stools.
Finally, cow's milk doesn't provide the healthiest types of fat for growing babies. However, once your child's ready to digest it, dairy milk can supplement a balanced diet of solid foods that include cereals, vegetables, fruits and meats. Why should my child start drinking cow's milk? Milk is a rich source of calcium, which builds strong bones and teeth and helps regulate blood clotting and muscle control.
It's also one of the few sources of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium and is crucial for bone growth. (Almost all milk in the United States is fortified with vitamin D.) Milk also provides protein for growth, and carbohydrates to give your child the energy he needs all day. And if your child gets enough calcium from the get-go, there's evidence that he'll have a lower risk of high blood pressure, stroke, colon cancer, and hip fractures later in life.
Feeding timeline: Your child's development From solid food to sippy cups, spoons, and kids' ability to feed themselves, here are the major eating milestones and when to expect them. See all baby videos Do I need to stop breastfeeding when my child starts drinking cow's milk? There's no need to wean your child after you introduce cow's milk. As long as you both enjoy breastfeeding, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says it's fine to continue breastfeeding past your child's first birthday.
How much milk should my toddler drink? According to the AAP, your 1-year-old can get enough calcium and vitamin D from 8 to 12 ounces (1 to 1 1/2 cups) of cow's milk – or the equivalent amount of other milk products, like yogurt or cheese. By age 2, your child should get 16 ounces, or 2 cups, of cow's milk or other milk products each day. However, don't give your child more than 32 ounces (4 cups) of milk a day or she may not have room for the other foods she needs to round out her diet.
If your toddler's still thirsty, offer water.