Hello mums and dads, has your toddler turned 12 months old and you are wondering if plain full cream milk is the way to go?
If you’re giving your baby breast milk, continue breastfeeding for as long as possible. The World Health Organisation and Health Promotion Board recommend breastfeeding up to 2 years or longer. You can still let them try plain full cream milk as a supplement, if needed. If your baby is no longer breastfed, consider switching to plain full cream milk as an alternative.
We know that there are many myths around the consumption of plain full cream cow’s milk by toddlers. Is it safe? Will it fulfil the nutritional requirements of a growing child? Is it easily digestible or will my child experience digestion-related discomfort?
Here are three reasons why you should opt for the best plain full cream cow’s milk for toddlers:
Your child’s main source of nutrition should be proper meals
Now that your child has turned one year old, his gut (stomach) has started maturing. In the first six months of a child’s life, the stomach is not fully developed. That’s why we give children of that age milk (breast milk or formula) or introduce soft foods like purees at around six months old to kick start weaning. From one year onwards, a child should derive his/her main nutrition from a well-balanced diet, and not just from milk.
Plain full cream cow’s milk can provide adequate nutrition to supplement proper meals
Plain full cream cow’s milk is a great source of nutrition which is essential for a child’s growth and development. Complement this with a good variety of solid food to meet his increasing nutrient and caloric needs.
Plain full cream milk is also a great source of calcium, crucial for the development of healthy bones, healthy teeth and a healthy heart, among other benefits. Thus with proper meals and along with plain full cream cow’s milk, it is enough to fulfil all of your child’s growing nutritional needs.
Allow your child to develop good eating habits and reduce his dependency on milk
Consumption of proper meals along with plain full cream cow’s milk will set your child’s eating habits in the right direction.
As the child grows and becomes older, he needs to move more and more towards eating solid food (instead of only milk).
However, if your child has special allergies or nutritional requirements, always check with your doctor if you are unsure.
Transitioning To The Right Type Of Plain Full Cream Cow’s Milk
Once you have decided to switch to plain full cream cow’s milk, you might wonder which type of milk is suitable for your toddler. Should you go for fresh (chilled pasteurised), powdered or UHT milk? Do they differ in their nutritional value?
Given the different types and forms that milk is available in, you should learn about the nutritional value of each type of milk.
The 3 main types of full cream milk — fresh (chilled pasteurised), UHT (ultra-high temperature) and powdered plain full cream milk don’t vary much in nutritional value. All 3 types are good sources of protein, calcium, vitamin D and riboflavin, which are essential for the growth and development of your child’s muscles, bones, and nerves. After your child turns two, you can consider switching to low-fat milk if he/she is eating and growing well.
So mums and dads, you now know that plain full cream cow’s milk has all the good nutrition that your child needs. And if you marry it to a balanced diet, your child should be on the path to healthy growth.
Alternatives To Cow’s Milk
If your child is allergic to cow’s milk protein, or on a vegan diet, or have a medical condition, it’s best to consult with a medical professional before considering alternatives. Some options may be unsweetened or reduced sugar calcium-fortified milk or other alternatives such as extensively hydrolysed stage 2 soy-based formula, almond or rice milk. Typically, soy-based milk has only about half the energy content of plain full cream milk, so you will need to include other energy dense food in your child’s diet.
Don’t provide filled milk, which is typically reconstituted with any fat or oil of non-milk origins (e.g. palm oil), and is unsuitable for babies or infants.
Don’t substitute plain full cream milk with condensed or evaporated milk, as these are high in sugar and saturated fat.
Avoid feeding flavoured (e.g. chocolate or strawberry) milk as it contains added sugar, which could lead to dental caries
For more on weaning and early childhood nutrition, visit healthhub.sg/earlynutrition
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