Which milks are best for your toddler?
As your little one enters the toddler years, a few things change in the types of recommended food and drinks. The Ministry of Health guidelines encourage breastfeeding your child at least until their first birthday. From this time many choose to either continue breastfeeding and/or offer whole cows’ milk (blue top) or a toddler milk as their main milk drink.
Milk, such as whole cows’ or goats’ milk, a toddler milk drink or a calcium-fortified plant-based milk drink, is an important part of a toddler’s diet. These are not breast milk substitutes. Cows’ milk provides energy, and is an important source of essential nutrients such as protein, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin B12. Toddler milk drinks offer the energy and nutrients from cows’ milk and also provide a good source of other nutrients such as iron, vitamin D, as well as essential omega 3 fats that can be difficult for some toddlers to get enough of at times – such as after being unwell, or through particularly fussy periods.
It is recommended by Ministry of Health to consume up to two cups of milk a day as part of a varied diet. However milk can be quite filling and it is important toddlers don’t drink too much leaving them with little appetite for other nutritious foods. Offer at the end of a meal, drinking water between meals is best.
Toddler milk drinks can be used as an alternative to whole cows’ milk, as a drink, on cereals or in cooking. They can offer a little reassurance on the days your little one may seem to be living on thin air.
Both cows’ milk and toddler milks provide a great range of nutrients to help keep your little one happy and healthy as part of a nutritious varied diet. If you are not sure which option is best for your child, have a chat to your GP or a dietitian.
Check out our nutrition section for more information.