What kind of milk should my toddler drink?
I often get asked what a baby should be drinking when a mother plans to stop breast feeding or bottle feeding. My answer depends on the age of the baby.
For babies less than a year old: Babies less than 1 year of age must continue to consume either beast milk or formula. This is the food that provides babies under a year with the best nutrition and calories for growth and development. If you have been breastfeeding, but want or need to stop, transition to a soy or a hypoallergenic baby formula such as Alimentum or Nutramigen. Although there are no baby formulas on the market that are completely plant-based these are the best options we have at this time to provide the nutrients and calories that babies need in the first year of life while minimizing the potentially harmful effects of cows milk protein. If you already have your baby on an infant formula and they are doing well, then I recommend continuing the same product through to 12 months of age.
For babies over 12 months of age: If you have been breastfeeding for 12 or more months congratulations! That takes some serious commitment! I advise breast feeding moms to continue to nurse for as long as they feel comfortable. Many moms naturally wean around 18 months. If your baby has been bottle feeding then start to wean off the bottle at 12 months. I encourage parents to get babies off the bottle by 13 months of age. The longer a baby is on the bottle after this age, the harder it is to remove. If you are ready to wean and your child is eating 3 meals per day then you don’t HAVE to replace the breast milk or formula with another milk. However, if you want to continue to provide a milk, choose a plant-based, unsweetened milk such as organic soy and give it via cup, not bottle and preferably during meal time. Even if they do continue to take a plant-based milk, it shouldn’t be more than two or three times per day and avoid letting them sip on it throughout the day as this can lead to tooth decay. The primary beverage for your child should now be water. Ensure that you child is eating a variety of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and beans. It is also helpful to include avocado and nut and seed butters in the diet. Any plant-based milk can be used in recipes to replace cows milk as well. Finally, ensure that your child is taking a B12 and vitamin D supplement.
It’s really that simple! Now you can focus on providing excellent nutrition from whole plant foods and have fun with different colors, textures and flavors.
Remember that toddlers over one should be drinking water for hydration and between meals and get them off the bottle by 13 months of age.
I hope that this was helpful information! If you liked this article, please share and comment below and have a plantastic day!