You may switch to low-fat milk after celebrating your baby's second birthday. Babies aged between 12 to 24 months need *plain full cream milk rather than low-fat milk. This is because low-fat milk does not provide the required nutrients your little one needs for proper growth, vitamin absorption and brain development.

If daddy and mummy have a family history of obesity, cardiovascular disease or high cholesterol levels, you may consult with the doctor and check if it's possible to introduce low-fat milk to your baby a little earlier.

Related: Nature’s Best Food: Breast Milk (Nutrition for Baby)

Got Milk?

There has been a rise in milk alternatives in recent years as many families make the decision to go dairy-free. If your toddler is allergic to cow's milk protein, is on a vegan diet, or has a medical condition, it is best to consult with a medical professional before opting for alternatives. Options include unsweetened or reduced-sugar calcium-fortified milk alternatives like soy, almond or rice milk. In general, milk alternatives contain fewer calories and lesser protein than cow’s milk.  

Whether it's plain full cream milk, low-fat milk, or milk alternatives such as soy milk, it is best to speak to your paediatrician to make sure that your child's diet meets the sufficient protein, vitamin, and mineral requirements.

Related: Dear Dairy

Everything in Moderation

Whatever you decide on, bear in mind that your child should drink in moderation (about 2-3 cups a day), even if it's low-fat milk. Drinking too much might result in your baby feeling full and having no appetite for other food from the major food groups, e.g. wholegrains, meat and alternatives, fruit and vegetables. Most of the calories your child eats should come from solid foods once he is above the age of one.

Related: Smart Ways to Fill Up on Fruit and Vegetables

Start Young

While milk is an important source of nutrition, your growing child is at the perfect age to start building healthy eating habits. The food preferences and eating habits that your child picks up in the early stages has an influence on his future eating habits. So remember to offer the little one a variety of food from the four main food groups and make sure he gets all the nutrients he needs to grow up strong and healthy!

*Under the Nutri-Grade grading system, plain full cream milk is graded C due to its higher saturated fat content compared to low fat milk. For 1-2 year olds, plain full cream milk still meets the dietary requirements of adequate fat, protein, vitamins and minerals which are essential for their growth and development.

Visit Parent Hub, for more useful tips and guides to give your baby a healthy start.

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