Introducing toddlers to cows’ milk
At 1 year of age, although they need less of it, milk is still an important part of a toddler’s diet and provides them with valuable protein, energy, vitamins and minerals such as calcium. They should be getting about ½-¾ pint (about 300-400 ml) each day. You shouldn’t let them drink much more than this as it reduces the appetite for other valuable foods.
Toddlers are often switched from formula milk feeds to whole cows’ milk at the age of one. But is this the best thing to do or are there any benefits in sticking with formula milk instead? Cows’ milk can give your toddler lots of the nutrients that he or she needs, but one thing it lacks that is found in much higher amounts in formula milks is iron.
Toddlers are particularly susceptible to iron deficiency. It is estimated that 1 in 8 toddlers in the UK may be anaemic, with the problem being even greater than this in some groups. Babies are born with enough iron stores to last until about 6 months of age and after this they rely on food sources, but some toddlers may not eat enough of these iron-containing foods to meet their needs. Fussy eating during toddlerhood can certainly make the situation worse.
If your toddler is a fussy eater or their intake of iron-containing foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, lentils and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals is limited, then they could very well benefit from the continued use of a formula milk such as a Growing up Milk after 1 year. These Growing up Milks usually contain 40 times more iron than whole cows’ milk. But this doesn’t mean that you can stop encouraging them to eat these other foods; variety is key to a healthier diet for your growing child.
Remember, if you are giving your toddler cows’ milk, don’t switch to semi-skimmed milk until they are at least two years old and only do this if they are a good eater and have a varied diet. Skimmed milk should not be given to children under five years old as it is too low in fat and energy.
Have a look at the HiPP Baby Club for more advice on milk and other drinks at this age.
Bye for now,
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