Milk to baby – how much and when? Read on!
Until the child is a year old, they need breastmilk or formula. From the age of 1, the child can drink lowfat milk from a cup. From about 5 months of age, you can supplement with water in a cup for the child.
The recommendation is to breastfeed the child exclusively until about 6 months of age.
It is also recommended to continue breastfeeding after the child has started to eat other foods and until the age of 1. Perhaps even longer, if mother and child are both benefitting.
As the child is breastfed less, they needs to drink formula until the age of 1.
From the age of 6 months and up to 1 year, milk continues to be an important part of the child’s nutrition. Even if they have started to eat more food. The amount of milk depends on how much food the child is eating. But milk needs to be part of the meals throughout the day.
At the age of 9 months, however, the combined amount of milk should not exceed ¾ liters per day. That includes everything the child gets in terms of breastmilk, formula, and sour milk products.
From the age of 1, you should decrease the combined amount of milk to about 3.5-5 dl per day, so the milk won’t spoil the child’s appetite for food. The content of milk in the child’s food should be counted as part of the combined amount of milk.
Once the child is 9 months old, you can start to offer a bit of sour milk products, i.e. no more than ½ dl a day. Give full-fat soured milk, yogurt, or A38. These sour milk products contain about 3.5 % fat and no more than 3.5 % protein.
Do not give children under age 2 high-protein sour milk products such as skyr, fromage frais, junket, ylette, and cottage cheese.
Limit sour milk products with fruit. They have a high sugar content and are more like a dessert than actual food.
When nearing the age of 1, the amount of sour milk products can be increased from ½ to 1 dl each day.
When making porridge or purée during the transition, you need to add breastmilk or formula.
From 9 months of age, you can add a little cow’s milk to puréed fruit, food, or in porridge, no more than 1 dl a day. From the time the child starts to eat the family’s food, it is fine to serve gravy, meatballs, lasagna, etc. even though you have added cow’s milk.
Read also the article Baby led weaning – when and how to start
From age 1 to about age 2, the child should primarily drink lowfat milk and otherwise eat the foods recommended for the rest of the family. By drinking lowfat milk, the child gets sufficient energy without getting too much fat. Also, the milk is no longer as critical, because the child is getting more of many other foods. Some children may need time to get used to the taste of cow’s milk after only drinking formula.
If the child gets sour milk products, the following are recommended:
From the age of 1, the total amount of dairy – i.e. drinking milk and sour milk products – should be about 3.5-5 dl a day. That way, there is still room for food. With about 3.5 dl milk and dairy products a day at age 1, it is easier to keep the diet within the recommended allowances.
If the child does not get milk or dairy products – due to lactose intolerance or for other reasons – a 500 mg calcium supplement is recommended. Calcium supplements are available in both tablet form and in effervescent form. If the child takes the supplement in tablet form, they need to be crushed until the child is 18 months old because of the risk of choking.
If the child gets more than about 5 dl (½ liter) milk and dairy products a day from age 1, they risk being deficient in important nutrients, because the overall diet becomes unbalanced.
From about age 2, the child should drink nonfat, 1%, or buttermilk. The child should now be getting the same dietary fat content through food and beverages as adults and older children. However, some children may need to continue with lowfat milk up until the age of 3. Talk to your pediatrician or your home health nurse if you are unsure about which type of milk your child needs. Sour milk products should be nonfat or lowfat.
Cold water is the best thirst-quencher and drinking enough of it is critical to your wellbeing. The child can drink cold water from a cup, once they start to eat food.
The water should be from the cold tap. There is a greater risk of undesirable substances in water from the hot tap. From 4 months of age, the child can drink water that is not boiled first. Always run the water for a little while before filling the cup.
Up until 6 months of age, it is just a matter of offering small amounts of water to teach the child to drink from a cup. Later, you can offer water when the child is thirsty throughout the day, and perhaps a bit at mealtime. The child’s regulation of hunger and thirst is very sensitive and should be trusted.
Wait as long as possible before giving juice. It is better to teach the child that drinking water is great.
Diluted juice should only be offered on special occasions, such as when the child is sick. This applies from the age of 1-3 years old as well.
You should not offer juice or other sweetened drinks in a bottle, because this can cause cavities. This is also why the bottle should be used only for formula, pumped breastmilk, and water.
Fruit juice contains both sugar and acid, making it harmful for teeth. Besides, it can easily replace real food. Commercially produced vegetable juice can contain disproportionate amounts of salt and is not recommended.
Soy, rice, oat, and almond milks are not milk at all and cannot be used like formula or as equivalent alternatives to cow’s milk.
Soy milk cannot be used until the age of 2, assuming the child is eating a balanced diet and growing normally, but it can be used in small amounts when cooking, starting when the child is a year old. Some types of soy milk have added calcium, containing as much calcium as cow’s milk – read the label. Soy milk has a protein content that is roughly equivalent to cow’s milk, but it has a lower natural content of vitamins and minerals. Soy contains a lot of isoflavonoids, i.e. substances with subtle estrogen-like functions. More information is needed about the shortterm and longterm effects of a high intake of these substances in early childhood, both for girls and boys.
Rice milk is not recommended for children because of the arsenic content.
Oat, almond, and rice milk are not appropriate as a replacement for milk and breastmilk, but they may be used in smaller amounts when cooking for people with lactose intolerance, such as in casseroles and sauces. These beverages contain very little protein and contain no natural vitamins and minerals.
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