Most of us grew up drinking milk and hearing the slogan, "milk, it does a body good." Milk is still recommended by most doctors, with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommending that toddlers between the ages of 1 and 2 get at least two servings of milk a day. While there are lots of milk alternatives currently available for families who have children who don't tolerate milk well or are vegan, there are many health reasons why doctors still recommend milk for children.
There are many ways for children to get all the nutrients, vitamins and protein they need in their diet, but drinking milk is definitely one of the easier ways. Milk provides children with a rich source of protein and calories not mention is also a great source of calcium, which is crucial for the development of strong bones and minds of young children. It's also fortified with vitamin D which is often hard for children to get from food sources alone and is a source of a multitude of other vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin a and vitamin b.
If you don't want your child to drink cow's milk there are plenty of other dairy and non-dairy options available, such as almond milk, coconut milk, goat's milk, and soy milk. Make sure you check the nutrition labels to ensure your choices are fortified with the vitamins and minerals your child needs for development.
The AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding or the supplementation of an iron fortified formula until a child is a year old, and does not recommend giving them cow's milk until they reach their first birthday. After your child reaches their second birthday the amount of milk they need begins to change, with 2 servings recommended for children between the ages of 2 and 8 and 3 servings for kids between the ages of 9 and 18, Very Well Family writes.
There are definitely other ways for your child to get their daily dose of vitamins and minerals, including eating other dairy products like cheese and yogurt and leafy green vegetables and beans and other foods, but drinking milk really is an easier way for your child to get all they need in one glass. While some cheeses and yogurts may give your child the calcium they need, they may not give them the vitamin D. Milk is one beverage that packs a punch in terms of vitamins, minerals, calcium and protein.
While milk is important for growing children, like most things too much isn't a good thing. Milk can be filling and if your child is drinking too much they may not be eating enough and getting the calories and nutrients they need from their food, so ensure you're following the servings guidelines and not letting your children drink too much milk.