Posted in Nutrition For Toddler on 14. Jul, 2008
Toddlers should have 500 milligrams of calcium a day. This requirement is easily met if your child gets the recommended two servings of dairy foods every day. An important part of a toddler’s diet, milk provides calcium and vitamin D to help build strong bones. In addition, milk also contains carbohydrates, protein, fat, and zinc, as well as vitamins A, B2 and B12. Kids under age 2 should have whole milk to provide the dietary fats they need for normal growth and brain development. Offer cow’s milk in a cup after the child has begun the meal. If you are breastfeeding, only offer milk in a cup and avoid the bottle habit.
Most experts agree that kids can switch from infant formula or breast milk to whole cow’s milk when they reach 1 year of age. Before this age, cow’s milk is more likely to cause an allergic reaction and is tough for babies to digest. In addition, it is not the best source of iron.
Once you switch to cow’s milk, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control, and other health experts advise parents to buy only pasteurized milk, which has been heated and processed to kill bacteria. Raw milk, they warn, may harbor contaminants and micro-organisms that can cause food-borne illness.
Some kids initially reject cow’s milk because it doesn’t taste like the familiar breast milk or formula. If your child is around 12 months and having this difficulty, mix whole milk with some formula or breast milk. Gradually adjust the mixture over time so it becomes 100% cow’s milk.
Some parents are anxious to wean their babies to cow’s milk, especially those who have been feeding formula since it can be a bit costly, but there are several good reasons to wait. Cow’s milk isn’t as rich in several nutrients, especially iron, as breast milk or formula, which is important for healthy first year development. Until the baby is eating a variety of iron-rich foods, feeding breast milk or commercially prepared formula ensures that the baby will get a sufficient amount of iron. Additionally, there is evidence suggesting that the early introduction of cow’s milk increases the chances of developing diabetes later in life. This is especially important in families with a history of the disease. Finally, children who switch to cow’s milk before their first birthday have higher incidences of allergies and eczema than those who wait.