Do toddlers need anything besides water?


keightlynn

Recommended Posts

So I'm still a little over a year away from this since I'm just pregnant at this time, but I've been wondering recently if there is a reason toddlers need some milk-like drink when they wean from breastmilk or formula?  It seems standard to give toddlers milk (or milk alternative) after 1 year, but why is that?  Do they need something in there, or can they be switched to just water after weaning as long as they are eating an otherwise healthy diet?  I've tried to google, but can't find much.  Thanks!

Link to post
Share on other sites

My daughter, who's 4, drinks full fat organic milk on the rec of our pediatrician to make sure she gets enough fat because she was a preemie and is on the low end of weight for her age. She won't eat avocados or nuts or any of the good fat sources and the milk doesn't seem to bother her. I now only give it to her when she asks for it. She goes through phases where that's all she wants to drink and then will go two or three weeks drinking only water or the occassional juice box. I found really good ones that are mostly coconut water and zero added sugar.

She may not need it really, but she seems to be drinking less and less milk as time passes. I figure eventually she'll stop on her own. That's how she does everything anyway.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Personally it depends on the toddler and what kind of eater they are. If you have a fairly non picky eater, who eats a large variety of fruits and vegetables, proteins and fats, then the calcium and fat they are getting from milk can easily be substituted. But if you have a toddler who only eats a handful of different kinds of foods, then substituting in milk isn't a bad thing. The WHO recommend breast milk for at least two years to be nutritionally beneficial, and no one is claiming that primal man didn't feed his children milk, after all that is what milk is for... For offspring. After two, the diet is usually varied enough to not require milk, but like I said, it depends on the child and some children are downright stubborn.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Toddlers need a lot of calcium and high-quality fats in their diet -- fat makes up roughly half of their calories betwen 12 and 18 months. Because they tend to eat inconsistently (which is totally normal and good!), whole milk is often really important source of vitamins, protein, and fats. The other thing is that babies are primed to drink milk. Before 12 months of age, most of a child's calories are supposed to come from milk. They don't even fully digest solid food until after a year; we saw whole slices of sweet potato and carrot in our daughter's diapers until just a month ago (she's 15 mo.). It would not be kind to a little one's digestive system to suddenly switch to all table foods and no milk.

 

All that said, I think if you make the switch VERY gradually, a toddler would be okay without milk -- assuming they eat well! And of course, if you're able and willing to breastfeed, you don't HAVE to wean at 12 months. You can continue nursing and let that be the only milk your child has. Cow's milk is problematic, but breastmilk really is nature's perfect food!  (If you are unable to nurse, though, don't feel bad! Formula is totally fine.) Just make sure your pediatrician is informed and on board. I am no doctor, so her/his advice totally trumps whatever I have to say.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.