3 Tricks to Get Your Toddler to Drink Milk

As a mom who works for the dairy council, as you can imagine, I get dairy questions from friends. I also double as a “nutrition whisperer,” a title recently bestowed upon me. I like it so much; I may have new business cards made.

So, here’s a question I get a lot.  Actually, it usually comes in the form of a statement. “My kid won’t drink milk.” To put this in context, this comes up when children turn one, the age when they go from breast milk or formula to cows' milk. I have discovered it may not be about the milk, but the delivery method:

1.  It’s a new drinking vessel.

  • Introduce a cup early
  • Around 6 months, and when they are secure in a high chair.
  • Drinking from a cup is a new skill. One that takes practice.
  • Try a sippy cup. Remove the spill-free valve if your cup has one, the powerful suck required can often throw off those young ones.
  • Start with water at meals, just to master the cup.

2.  Milk is cold.

  • Warm it up. 
  • Warm the cows’ milk to the same temperature you fed breast milk or formula.
  • Warm it less and less until they drink it cold, straight from the fridge.
  • Don’t expect your sweetie to like a cold beverage when they have only drank warm drinks before.

3.  It’s just new and different. 

  • Mix part milk and part formula/breast milk.
  • Gradually increase the amount of milk until it is all milk. 

Voilà. Milk drinker! I circled back around with my friends who used this advice, and it worked for them. 

Surprisingly, less than 90% of children in the one-year-old age group drink adequate amounts of milk. And, the numbers get worse as kids get older. Here are nine reasons to believe in milk, and how much milk you should drink. 

Start them off right and stick with it, just like I did with my two. You will be glad you did. 

By Susan Allen

Susan grew up on a farm in northwest Oklahoma and has over 30 years of experience working in agriculture. She has been part of the Dairy MAX team since 2007 and has worked with schools, health and wellness professionals and farmers. When she's not working, Susan is usually helping one of her kids with a 4-H project. Learn more about Susan

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