The importance of milk for your little one
When growing up, the reason why we drank milk was clear: It was good for you and your parents told you to drink it (which you did or defiantly didn't), end of story. Since then, researchers have been taking a closer look at the benefits of dairy products, and this has raised many questions like, when do children need milk? Do you choose infant formula or cow’s milk? How much of it do they need?
Here are the facts:
Infants need milk from the day they’re born; mainly and exclusively breast milk as it is the best milk you can provide. Exclusive breastfeeding should continue for the first 6 months and then along with solid food for at least 12 months as recommended by the World Health Organisation.
What happens next? Do you move to fresh cow’s milk or a growing up milk?
If a mother decides to stop breastfeeding, choosing the right milk for her toddler is one of the biggest decisions she will make.
As a nutritionist, I believe that the right milk for your toddler (if breastfeeding is not possible) is a specialized growing-up milk designed for your toddler’s nutritional needs.
I chose NAN 3 for Kenan as soon as he turned 1 and now that he’s almost 3 years old, he still loves it.
Here are my reasons for choosing NAN 3:
- Optimized Proteins (OPTIPRO®): It provides him with the right amount of high quality optimized proteins that strengthen his muscles, are essential for his health and support his growth and development.
- Vitamins and Minerals: It gives him the right amount of vitamins and minerals such as, Iron, Zinc, Selenium, Vitamins A, C and E that play an important role in strengthening his immune system during these first years of life as well as promoting cognitive, social, and motor skill development.
Remember, insufficient supply of specific vitamins and minerals during this important growth stage could impair a child’s development and health.
- Essential Fatty Acids: It provides him with a unique fat blend, including Omega 3 and Omega 6, which helps in brain development.
- Probiotics: It also contains probiotics which promote a healthy gut and reduce the incidence of diarrhea among toddlers.
- Also not to forget, Kenan loves its taste!
Why I didn’t choose fresh cow’s milk:
- Cow’s milk is high in protein content which may overload the maturing kidneys of your child
- Fresh milk is not fortified with the right vitamins and minerals that my child highly needs, such as, iron for his brain development and immunity and Vitamin D, an important player in bone health.
- It doesn’t contain any probiotics
- It lacks essential fatty acids such as omega 3 and 6.
In short, I don’t give my toddler the same amount of food I eat, so it makes sense to give him the right milk which provides him with all the nutrients he needs to build a strong foundation.
How much is enough?
Make sure to offer your child 2 cups (250 mL each) of his milk daily to ensure that he receives optimal amount of vitamins and minerals. In addition, it is important to provide your child with a healthy balanced diet containing all the 4 food groups (grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables and protein).
But remember, quality over quantity! If your child consumes more than the 2 cups of milk per day it can fill him up easily, increasing the likelihood that he forgoes other nutrient-rich food. So try to limit him to the recommended servings per day along with a wide variety of nutritious foods.