We all know milk is a known source for calcium, which is an essential nutrient for our bodies. For years, black and white T.V. commercials played with now the age-old saying that milk does a body good.’ This notion especially rang true for the growing bones of babies and toddlers. “Drink your milk, and you’ll grow up big and strong,” we’d tell our little ones, but what do you do when your baby doesn’t like milk? Babies no longer need formula once they turn one year old, and many parents decide to make the switch to regular milk, but you want to make sure that your baby is getting the important nutrients that they need. How do you ensure that you do that?
1. Is there something wrong?
It is not at all uncommon for a baby to dislike the taste of milk. Some parents choose to start weaning their little ones as early as six months old from formula or breast milk. Professionals do not recommend the early transition due to the sensitivity of the digestive system before a child’s first birthday. However, there are special cases where the baby cannot or will not drink milk. There are plenty of adults in the world who once loved milk as children and now dislike the white drink altogether. If you find that your baby simply does not want to entertain the thought of drinking milk, there is no need to panic. There are plenty of other options to choose from when it comes to replacing the nutrients that come with regular milk.
2. Do babies need to drink milk?
The refrigerator staple does contain proteins and sugars that are essential for the body. Unfortunately, these proteins and sugars can cause an incredible amount of discomfort in the stomachs of adults and babies alike. When it comes time to digest the high calcium drink, the lactose carbohydrates found in dairy products can, at times, cause discomfort in babies. Though it is a rare occurrence for a baby to be born with lactose intolerance if you notice your child has tremendous discomfort after drinking milk, contact your pediatrician to make a possible game plan for a product switch.
3. There are plenty of milk-based alternatives.
When it comes to figuring out a solution for your baby, you have quite a few choices. If you think your baby does not like milk based on your little ones’ refusal to drink cold milk, try serving at room temperature or warm. It may simply be a matter of temperature and the familiarity of drinking warm formula. If you find that warming the milk does not entice your little one to drink milk any more than when it was cold, you may need to look into alternative milk-based products.
4. Make the transition slowly.
You may want to alternate between regular cow’s milk and your alternative. You may want to mix in a little formula or breast milk if your baby is reluctant to drink regular milk. It is important to monitor your baby closely during the transition process to ensure their bodies don’t have any adverse reactions.
5. Looking at the alternatives…
Nutritional content is important for parents to make a note of when choosing a suitable substitute for regular milk. There are a variety of options from animal-based, nut, bean, and grain-based drinks. The nutritional value is different for every type of milk. You’ll also find that despite type similarity, all brands have very different nutritional makeup.
6. Could my baby have an allergy?
There are some instances; however, switching to regular milk is not an option for your little one. There may be an allergy, or maybe your little one just doesn’t like milk. If your baby is unable to digest regular milk, there are other options. Your pediatrician may recommend switching your baby to soy milk. Since their body isn’t able to digest the cow’s milk protein, giving baby milk before they are 12 months old puts them at risk of developing an allergy.
7. Babies can be lactose intolerant.
The medical term lactose intolerant has been given for those who experience significant reactions to the enzyme found in regular milk. If you find that your nursing baby does not do well after feeding, it could be attributed to lactose intolerance. Surprisingly, breastfed babies can be lactose intolerant. The enzyme, lactase, is found in breast milk as well when a nursing mother drinks milk. In that case, it may be necessary to remove the cow’s milk from your diet to continue breastfeeding without affecting your baby. Tree nut milk, such as almond milk, has become a popular alternative to cow’s milk along with rice and oat milk.
8. Should your baby take supplements?
The nutrients found in milk are essential for your growing little one. Replacing the proteins baby would be receiving from regular cow’s milk with another milk-based alternative is ideal. After all, we all want our little ones to grow up big and strong, and it’s super important that they have all the vitamins and nutrients they need. Luckily, as the baby gets a little older and requires more serving, there are many options to choose from.
Plain-whole fat Greek yogurt is a good option and is a good source of protein for babies. Try and stay away from added sugars that normally come in certain children’s yogurts. Once your baby is old enough for finger foods adding a piece of cheese at snack time is a great addition. At one-year, babies should eat two servings of dairy per day. The specific amounts are determined by age. Ask your pediatrician for the appropriate amount for your little one.
Every child needs calcium, so be sure your little one has their required serving throughout the day by getting calcium from other non-dairy foods. Please do not force feed milk to your baby. Although it is a good source of nutritional value for your little one, there are plenty of other ways to make sure they get the proteins and vitamins that they need to be healthy and happy.