Introducing Cow's Milk at 12 months
- Cow’s milk can be introduced once your Toddler turns one year old.
- Whole cow’s milk provides some of the fat needed for healthy growth and brain development.
- Lower-fat milks can be an option after two years of age unless otherwise instructed by your baby’s pediatrician.
- Milk based drinks designed especially for toddlers are another option after 12 months.
At one year, your Toddler may be ready to make the switch from breastmilk or formula to cow’s milk. Now that he’s eating a variety of foods, cow’s milk can be part of his healthy diet.
Why waiting for his first birthday is important:
- Cow’s milk doesn’t have the proper amounts of all of the nutrients he needs — especially Iron — during the first year.
- Cow’s milk doesn’t contain the balance of fats infants need, and may not contain the right types of fats to support brain development like DHA.
If you’re still breastfeeding, there’s no need to rush to switch to cow’s milk. Introducing milk is something you can gradually do when you and your child are ready.
Good to know
Whole fat dairy should be used until at least two years of age to provide essential fats, unless suggested otherwise by your pediatrician.
Ready for milk
If your Toddler is eating a balanced diet of grains and cereal, fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein foods, then he’s ready for milk if he is at least 12 months of age and not showing symptoms of being allergic to cow’s milk. Follow these tips when choosing to introduce cow’s milk.
Type of milk
- Whole milk is generally recommended because your Toddler needs the extra fat for his growing body and healthy brain development.
- If he’s overweight or has other health risks, talk to your pediatrician to see if you should switch to low-fat milk.
- Your toddler may love milk, but it’s important to limit the amount he drinks to 16 fl. oz. or 2 cups per day. This is enough to meet most of his daily Calcium needs.
- Drinking too much milk may make him too full to eat other healthy foods.
How to introduce
- Gradually add milk into your child’s diet as you are weaning him from breastmilk or infant formula.
Not quite ready?
If you’re concerned that your Toddler’s diet is not well-balanced, or want the peace of mind that he is getting the nutrients he needs, you may decide to offer a Stage 3 toddler drink that has essential nutrients for toddlers.
Here's what these types of toddler drinks can offer:
- Calcium to help support growing bones and teeth.
- DHA and ARA, for brain and eye development.
- Essential nutrients, including some such as Iron and Vitamin C.
- Some toddler drinks have the added benefit of a probiotic. B. Lactis is a probiotic that has been added to certain infant and toddler drinks to help support digestive health.
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