Babies, Toddlers and the Essential Benefits of Whole Milk

  • by Anna Tomlinson

Babies, Toddlers and the Essential Benefits of Whole Milk

There are several of us on the Mission 4 Milk team with young children. And when you have kids, all you want to do is give them the best start in life. You want to make sure they have absolutely everything you can possibly give them to thrive.

Milk is one of those things.

It starts from when they’re born

Breast milk is always the recommended option for mums and their babies wherever possible, but for many women, this isn’t always practical or possible.

Fortunately, there is a whole range of infant formula milk to choose from, made from cow’s milk. Cow’s milk contains two types of essential proteins that babies need – whey and casein.

Moving onto cow’s milk

When babies turn six months old, the NHS and other nutritional guidelines recommend introducing them to cow’s milk in cooking. This might be in scrambled eggs or omelettes for example, or porridge perhaps.

Then when they turn one, full-fat whole milk is recommended as their main drink, besides water.

Why whole milk?

Because whole milk is full of loads of beneficial ingredients for babies and for toddlers. It’s recommended over semi-skimmed and skimmed milk for all children up to age two.

That’s because whole milk contains all the dietary fats that little ones need for good, healthy brain development and growth. It contains the calories and energy that children need, which they can’t get from low-fat or other food/drink sources.

It contains:

  • – Calcium for good healthy bone development as toddlers grow
  • – Vitamin D, an essential vitamin for good health, along with lots of other vitamins and minerals
  • – Protein to help build strong muscles as babies become more and more active.

Whole milk provides all these essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

It might seem strange that the NHS promotes whole milk over semi or skimmed milk, but that’s because children need whole milk! It has the energy and calories that their busy, super active bodies need as they go through growth spurts.

Once they are over two years old, you could switch to semi-skimmed milk if they’re eating well and have a varied diet, but skimmed milk doesn’t contain the good fats and calories that any child under five years old needs.

But what about dairy-free alternatives?

Some children may be lactose intolerant or follow a lifestyle that avoids dairy products. This is OK, generally, but the NHS has this recommendation:

“Remember that milk and dairy foods are good sources of important nutrients, so do not cut them out of your or your child’s diet without first speaking to a GP or dietitian.”

There are dairy-free alternatives, but they may not be suitable, which is why you need to talk to a trained dietician or doctor.

So wherever possible – stick with the goodness and all the benefits of whole milk!

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