Milk is very beneficial for your toddler's health. It is a source of calcium, which helps to build strong teeth and bones, and many varieties of milk are fortified with vitamin D, which helps with calcium absorption. It is possible to get too much of a good thing, so it's important to understand how much milk your toddler actually needs and how it can affect his body if he drinks too much.
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Calories and Fat
Beginning at 12 months of age, your toddler can begin drinking cow's milk. Until she is2 years old, she needs whole milk because the fat it contains contributes to her brain development and growth. Drinking too much milk can give her extra calories and fat that she doesn't need. Just 8 oz. of whole milk has 150 of the 1,000 to 1,400 calories that she needs at her age. Milk also is a source of saturated fat, and your toddler's doctor might recommend that she drink reduced fat milk if there is a history of heart disease and obesity in the family.
If your toddler drinks too much milk, he might be at an increased risk of iron deficiency. Cow's milk is low in iron and can decrease iron absorption, and filling up on it can cause him to be too full for iron-rich foods at meals. Iron deficiency can lead to behavioral and learning problems. To help prevent iron deficiency, limit your toddler's milk intake to 16 to 24 oz. a day.
According to Babycenter, consuming too many low-fiber foods and beverages like milk can have a binding effect and lead to constipation. Make sure your toddler's milk intake is balanced meals and snacks that contain sources of fiber, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Your toddler needs only two servings of dairy each day. One serving is equal to a cup of milk, a cup of yogurt or 2 oz. of cheese. Be sure to balance your toddler's diet with protein, fruits, vegetables and grains for a healthy variety. If she is thirsty and has had enough milk during the day, offer 100 percent fruit juice or water as an alternative.