Is dairy milk the only way your child can meet Calcium requirements after the age of one? Nope! This post explains how.
I should preface all of this information by stating that any nutrition advice should really be looked at on an individual basis. This is a broad look at calcium needs for little ones.
The answer is no! As long as your child is meeting their own growth standards and doesn’t have any health concerns that may impact eating a wide variety of foods that contain a variety of essential nutrients, your child does not need to drink dairy milk. Dairy milk is an easy and affordable way for children to consume nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, protein, vitamin A and zinc, but there are other foods your child can consume to get these nutrients. This post is going to focus on foods containing calcium. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics kids ages 1-3 need 700mg of calcium a day.
Always talk with your pediatrician or family healthcare provider about your specific health and nutrition needs and questions pertaining to your children.
The fermentation process in the creation of cheese, yogurt and kefir makes them easier to digest. If you do consume dairy, but choose not to serve your child milk, these foods are sources of calcium:
About 16-20 or 24oz (about 2 cups) of milk per day is recommended. Consuming more than this much milk per day may crowd out other nutrients your child needs.
Babies can consume dairy and dairy milk as part of the introduction to solid food once they have shown the signs of readiness for food introduction. After introducing iron-rich foods, you can introduce foods like full fat yogurt, low sodium cheese, butter and ghee to your child. You can also use small amounts of milk as an ingredient while cooking, but it is important to prioritize breast milk or formula rather than replace it with another form of milk (dairy or nondairy) until after 12 months of age.