Why Do Pediatricians Care How Much Milk Toddlers Drink?

Most pediatricians recommend switching your baby from formula or breast milk to regular cow's milk around the age of one. After this age, the doctor might recommend only giving your child a certain amount of regular milk per day though. This is because, when a child drinks too much milk, he or she is much more likely to develop iron deficiency anemia. Here are a few things to understand about this.

How much milk is the right amount?

Your pediatrician will probably tell you that your toddler can drink milk but that the child should not drink more than 24 ounces each day. This rule should continue until your child is around the age of five. Drinking milk is a great source of calcium for kids, which is vital for their teeth and bones, but drinking too much can lead to problems.

In addition, you should give your child whole milk if possible. Whole milk is the type of milk that contains the most fat compared to other types of milk, and young toddlers need fat for their brain health and nerve development.

What is iron deficiency anemia?

Iron is something that toddlers need because it helps the red blood cells deliver oxygen to the body. Without enough iron, your toddler's body might produce fewer red blood cells, and this could lead to health issues.

Milk is not a good source of iron, but this is not the reason drinking too much of it is bad for toddlers. When your child drinks milk, it actually stops the child's body from absorbing the iron he or she does consume, and this can lead to iron deficiency anemia.

A child that has iron deficiency anemia may seem tired all the time. He or she may also experience behavioral issues and learning difficulties. The child may also develop more infections and illnesses.

How else can you prevent this?

As a parent, you can control how much milk your child gets, but you can also make sure he or she is receiving a sufficient amount of iron by choosing the right foods to feed him or her. Some foods that are high in iron include fish, beans, and poultry. You can also purchase cereal that contains iron, and you may even want to give your child vitamins that contain iron.

If you have any concerns about your child or questions you would like to ask, schedule an appointment with your child's primary care provider.