January 20, 2021

How to Transition Your Toddler to Milk

How to transition your toddler to milk including what type of milk to give your toddler, how much milk to give your toddler and ways to add more milk into your child's diet.

Lily just turned 18 months old and we recently stopped breastfeeding. We transitioned her to drinking whole milk and I wanted to share my experience with doing so and how we switch our toddlers from breast milk to cow's milk, some different ways that we include milk in our kid's diet and what kind of milk we give to our kids.

Tips to Transition to Cow's Milk

-You can start giving your child bits of cow's milk mixed with their formula or breastmilk and slowly switch it to more and more cow's milk and less formula or breastmilk.

-Mix the cow's milk into smoothies. This is probably my kid's favorite way to enjoy cow's milk. Our go-to smoothie has a large handful of spinach, a frozen banana, Prairie Farms milk and sometimes either protein powder, ground flax or peanut butter powder.

What kind of milk to give your toddler?

Right when a baby turns 1 year old, you can begin to give them cow's milk instead of formula or breastmilk. Since I breastfed my kids until about age 1 1/2, we didn't start cow's milk until about that time. From age 1 until age 2, whole milk is recommended because toddler's need the fat for development. After age 2, we switch to 2% milk.

We love Prairie Farms Whole Milk. Their milk comes from local dairy farms without the use of growth hormones or antibiotics. Milk is rich in protein, calcium, vitamin D and potassium. We believe in giving our kid's cows milk because they are the best sources of these nutrients. At this time, we do not regularly drink alternative milk sources.

Protein is needed for growing muscles, bones, teeth and hair and drinking just 8 ounces of milk gives you 8 grams of protein. This is great for kids who do not enjoy eating meat like a lot of kids and my favorite benefit of milk is that it is rich in calcium and is fortified with vitamin D.

I wanted to note that although kids shouldn't have milk until age 1, they can enjoy dairy products starting at 6 months old. My kids have always loved yogurt and cheese at a young age.

How much milk should a toddler have?

Anywhere from 8-16 ounces per day can be appropriate for your toddler to drink. Milk is a great source of calcium, vitamin D and protein. It is also one of the only drinks that a young toddler should be having along with water. 

Toddlers should not be drinking more than 16-24 ounces of milk because they can be filling up on milk and not getting enough other nutrients that their bodies need. It can also interfere with iron absorption. It is also recommended to give milk at other times than mealtimes so that they eat their food and not just fill up on the milk.

How serving cow's milk has gone for my family:

-Adalyn- She pretty much never wanted to drink milk. She will have it in foods and will drink a lot of milk in smoothies or adding about a teaspoon of hot chocolate mix to a cup of milk and heating it up.

-Oliver- He loves milk and is now drinking it 1-2 times per day. This didn't start till he was about 3 years old.

-Lily- She will sip on a cup of milk and enjoys it but doesn't drink a ton at once.

Only Oliver will drink 2 cups of milk a day but my girls do drink some milk. We also serve cheese, Greek yogurt, sour cream and cook with milk often. I think that my family is getting plenty of calcium through milk and other sources.

Ways to Add More Milk to Your Toddler's Diet

Since my kids don't want to just drink plain milk all the time, these are some of the ways that I get them to have milk:

-Smoothies- We love this Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie.

-Overnight oats- One of my kid's favorite breakfasts is overnight oats which uses a ton of milk! Strawberries and Cream Overnight Oats are a great kid-friendly option.

-Macaroni and cheese- Healthy Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese is a great way to get in some veggies and milk.

-Muffins- Healthy Greek Yogurt Blueberry Muffins- These make an awesome snack and breakfast.

-Chia seed pudding- Chia pudding is great way to get in omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber as well as lots of milk. Try my Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Seed Pudding.

-Of course other dairy products are good ways to get calcium in as well. We love the Prairie Farms Greek yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, and of course, the ice cream!

This is how my family switched our kids from breastmilk to cow's milk and how we get our kids to enjoy milk and other dairy products!

This post is sponsored by Prairie Farms. All opinions are my own.

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