How Much Milk Should My Child Be Drinking after 1 Year of Age?
12 months marks an important milestone for both children and their parents.
Nutritionally, our goal is that 1 year old children will be having family meals which includes a broad range of foods from all core food groups. We also hope that by 12 months of age, that all kids will be having normal textured foods too. By 12 months children should have the motor skills to chew a range of different textures of foods and be self feeding with their hands, and starting to explore forks and spoons.
But what about their drinks?
Whether your child was breast or bottle fed, 12 months marks the age at which they can start to have cow’s milk as a drink. For those who are bottle fed, it might seem simple to change their formula over to cow’s milk, while for those who are breast fed, introducing milk can sometimes be less straightforward.
But how much is the right amount?
Ideally, children over 1 year of age should not be having more than 500ml of total cow’s milk or cow’s milk products. This means that their total intake of milk, cheese, yoghurt, custards etc should altogether fit into this 500ml cap. The reason for this is simple. While dairy products are nourishing, they cannot provide all of the nutrition that the other food groups have to offer. If a child has too much dairy, it often displaces their appetite for other foods. Excess dairy intake can also lead to iron deficiency anaemia in some children.
So, what do you do if your child is really attached to their milk and they’re having more than this?
Start by trying to transition them off bottles and onto sippy cups. Often larger volumes of milk are taken from baby bottles as sucking on them provides some comfort as well as nourishment.
The next thing to try is, rather than reducing the number of occasions your child may have milk each day (for example, with breakfast, before a nap and prior to bed in the evenings), reduce the size of each drink by 20-50ml.