When Should My Toddler Give Up Having Milk?

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There really are no solid sets of rules for toddlers, or for any child for that matter.  Some babies are more reliant on having a daily milk bottle than most.  I was particularly lucky because my son started pushing away his night-time bottle soon after his 1st birthday, and would prefer water than milk after his day-time nap, so we’re lucky not to have had a no-milk showdown.  Remember, children up until the age of 3 need a considerable amount of daily calcium (700mg per day),  so if he’s not having milk any longer make sure you balance this in your child’s meal plans.  Here is a checklist of factors that may indicate that it’s time to move from milk onto other calcium rich foods.

1:  You’re child is at least 9 months of age.

2:  He’s at least double the height from when he was born.  (Premature babies tend to stay on formula longer).

3:  He has teeth and doesn’t have any trouble chewing a piece of toast or small cube of cheese.

4:  You’re starting to find that he’s pushing it away, or leaving it half full and showing no interest in the remains.

5:  You feel that milk may be getting in the way of eating a proper amount of food each day.

6:  When you set down a bottle each of water and milk, he opts for the water first.

7:  You feel that the only reason he drinks the milk is to settle before a sleep.

Remember that many babies are born intolerant to cows milk and thrive equally well without it.  Milk isn’t a life foundation after the age of 9 months unless you have a baby who was born premature or with digestive problems, in these cases you should always seeks advice from your paediatrician.

Vitamin D is also essential for the absorption of calcium.  Our skin is able to synthesise Vitamin D from the sun, but if your toddler hasn’t seen sun for a while it may pay to supplement during the winter months.

If your child is dependent on milk to settle at night before a sleep, the earlier you make transitions to other techniques the better.  Try offering water and reading a book right after a warm bath, and put to bed with a favourite toy.  Every technique needs to be coupled with a 14 day consistent trial before you feel that it doesn’t work, so make sure you’re both ready for the transition.

Just like adults, babies don’t need the extra calories to sleep throughout the night.  Once you’ve removed the milk he will start to get much hungrier during the day and you’re able to offer more nutrient varieties with real food.  Below are food equivalents of what a child over the age of 1 requires for calcium intake.  Don’t panic if you don’t get this amount in each day, this is just a guide  like all foods, and someday your toddler will eat nothing the next day, or he may eat a lot.  It’s just the nature of their premature digestive system.

The best source of calcium comes from dairy sources like milk, yoghurt and cheese, but here are some other rich sources.

1 slice of wholegrain bread

¼ cup of greens (cabbage, kale, broccoli, spinach, bok choy)

1 tablespoon of tahini

1 can of salmon with bones

1 cup of soy milk

½ cup of firm tofu

If Fussy eating is eating away at your sanity, there’s a good chance that the stress is having double the affect on your child. And what does stress do to appetite…..? Little Fusspot helps you to tune into your childs sensory thresholds to better understand the why so that we can work out a how to program. We use a marriage of different techniques because no one-size-fits-all! Enquiries don’t cost a thing. Click here to fill out our online form and one of our consultants will be in touch.