Milk needs for nursing toddler

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2008
Milk needs for nursing toddler
Sun, 12-27-2009 - 7:22pm

Opinions, please!

My 16-month old nurses 4-5 times a day. He does not nurse at night, and he nurses out of routine/thirst rather than for comfort, etc..

He also eats plenty of food (three big meals and 2+ snacks a day) and drinks lots of water from a cup. My problem: he will NOT drink milk (other than bm). I have tried different temps, different cups, different kinds of milk (soy, rice), even chocolate milk, because my pedi thinks he needs a certain amount of milk a day (24 oz I believe) and doesn't count nursing towards this amount. I'm pretty sure at the next appointment if I say he is still not taking milk he will say it is because of nursing and I should wean him.

I don't really want to do that at this point -- it just doesn't seem right from what I have read. And we're both comfortable with the nursing he's doing now. But of course what the doc said is making me nervous, and I don't want to hurt my son nutritionally.

I should add that he does eat a full cup of yogurt every day, plus cheese (but in smaller amount). I also make his oatmeal with a ton of milk -- I make steel cut with milk only, so 1 cup of oatmeal takes about 4.5 cups of milk in as it cooks.

Also, I don't have any indications that I am not producing milk. I feel letdowns. I don't pump normally, but I did two months ago while I had to be away for two days, and I got plenty of milk.

What I would like to do is stop pushing the cup milk (he won't even sip it now just bats at the cup if it isn't first he would drink a little (months ago)), just go on as we are and re-evaluate when he turns two eight months from now if the situation hasn't changed.

Any ideas?

Thank you in advance...

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-20-2007
Sun, 12-27-2009 - 7:28pm

It sounds like you're doing the right thing for your son. My daughter doesn't like milk all that much, but she does water all day. Usually cow's milk is just an easy way to get the calcium/vitamins in a baby. But through the yogurt and the healthy diet you feed him, no problem getting those in!

And what would your pedi do if your son was allergic to dairy or soy? My goodness! You may just want to smile and nod next time he says something, unless you feel up to educating him at the next visit.



iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2007
Sun, 12-27-2009 - 11:59pm


Mom's milk is "whole milk" and is WAY better for baby's growth and development than cow's milk. The American Dairy council has done a great job convincing Americans that milk is a required part of nutrition when it is simply not. Cow's milk is a great food - for baby cows. However I can tell you for certain, since we raise cattle and pigs, that cows grow much faster than human babies and have very different nutritional needs.

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"Many nursing moms are told that they must introduce cow's milk at a year. Your nursing toddler is already getting the best milk he can get - mother's milk! Breastmilk has a higher fat content than whole cow's milk (needed for baby's brain growth), and all the nutrients of human milk are significantly more bioavailable than those of cow's milk because it is species specific (not to mention all the components of mother's milk that are not present in cow's milk).

There is no need for additional milk or (or the equivalent nutrients from other foods) as long as your baby is nursing 3-4 times per day. Cow's milk is really just a convenient source of calcium, protein, fats, vitamin D, etc. - it's not required. There are many people in many parts of the world who do not drink milk and still manage to get all the calcium, protein, fats, vitamin D, etc. that they need."


On Calcium needs for nursing toddlers from Dr. Sears: "Breastfeeding at least four times each day also gives your infant plenty of calcium" more:

FWIW my 11 year old did get cow's milk quite a bit. My 11 year old also got a lot of ear infections (starting right after I weaned due to poor advice him onto cow's milk). Oddly enough the ear infections stopped when I went to a different Dr who asked me why on earth I thought milk from a cow would be better for my HUMAN child than milk breastmilk from a human. I stopped the cow's milk and --- no more ear infections. hmmmm! Occasionally he will have some milk but it is just not a staple in our diet.

My 4 year old nursed until about 45 months (tandem with new baby for several months) and has cow's milk less than once a week. He does eat yogurt (often homemade) and other calcium rich foods.

Personally I would not worry one bit about giving baby cow's milk - it is not necessary or required at any point, but even less so if baby is still breastfeeding.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2008
Tue, 12-29-2009 - 2:24pm

Thank you, Loral and Carol.

In short, that is what I thought. Not sure how I will handle the doctor. If I knew there was another one more up on this, I would change, but I don't think there is. This (surprisingly) isn't a super nursing-friendly area. Fortunately we do like him on medical matters. I think he is wrong here, though. I get the feeling he sees nursing past a year as overly indulgent, and stunting independence. But I know this is not the case. My son is too independent for his own good sometimes!

I appreciate hearing the supportive voices, and the medical sources that back them up. Thanks again.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-03-2007
Tue, 12-29-2009 - 4:14pm

I would like to also say that there is no reason for anyone to drink milk.

There is an entire website filled with links, articles, studies etc.....about the truth of milk:

A much better person to talk to about your child's nutrition is a pediatric nutritionist not a doctor. Doctors really know very little about nutrition.





iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 12-30-2009 - 2:19pm


Sarah, mom to Alexis, Samantha and Kayleigh

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2007
Thu, 12-31-2009 - 1:11am

If you otherwise like you doc you can always just gloss over things.

Is baby drinking milk - yes baby gets plenty of milk.

Is baby weaned? We are working on that. This is true as the weaning process starts when they take their first bite of solids. KWIM?

I had a doc at one point that thought at 3 months all babies should STTN. This is not NORMAL and I know that. Since I otherwise liked the care we received when I was asked how baby was sleeping I would answer like a baby. lol!

Another approach can be, I appreciate your thoughts on this, but I have done my own research and I am comfortable with my choice to continue breastfeeding (or whatever).

Another approach is just nod and smile - and do what you want.

As one of the PP's said doctors get very little info about nutrition in med school and even less about BF. Even pediatricians get more info about formula than about BF. VERY sad.

In the end the doctors recommendation is just that -- a recommendation that you may or may not choose to follow.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2006
Mon, 01-04-2010 - 10:45am
I always wonder how anyone can argue that milk from a cow is better than milk from mom for a human baby. I agree that for a baby cow, milk from a cow is superior. Why would a cow make better milk than us for our children?