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Q&A: When To Introduce Regular Milk

Dr. Christine Wood, M.D


Q I have a healthy 11 month old son, and am curious at what age should we start introducing him to regular milk. He eats yogurt, cheese and cottage cheese, and other dairy products. Thanks for your help !

A In most children, it is fine to introduce whole milk (not nonfat or lowfat in this age group) at one year of age. I often have parents mix it initially with the formula they have been using, to get the baby used to the taste. If the baby has not shown any allergy tendencies, and has done fine on other dairy products, you should not have problems.

Signs of allergies to milk might include: congestion, wheezing, hives (a rash that looks like insect bites), diarrhea or blood in the stool. If there are signs of allergies, rice milk or soy milk can be substitutes.

We use whole milk until two years of age, because babies need the extra fat for brain development. (See my website at : The Antioxidant Good Guys: Essential Fatty Acids for more information on good fats for brains). They need about 16 to 24 ounces of all dairy products to fulfill their calcium requirements. We try not to have them overdrink on milk or juice, because that can tend to fill toddler's up, so they may not be hungry for real food. I also recommend starting to wean off the bottle between a year and 14 or 15 months of age.

Good Luck

Dr. Christine Wood is a practicing pediatrician in Southern California. She is the author of "How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It," a book that addresses the issues of why and how to feed kids healthy. You can visit her website at http://www.callyour
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