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What should I do if my child refuses to drink milk?

 In Ask an Expert, Health Tips, Pediatrics, Pulse Blog

Q: My child isn’t interested in drinking milk. What should I do?

First of all, don’t stress. It is very common that when kids first come off a bottle (which is recommended at 12 months), or are first offered cow’s milk in a cup, that they are not interested in drinking very much. Though they may eventually enjoy drinking milk, some kids simply don’t like milk and, despite your best efforts, may never consume much of it.

Though milk is an easy way to get calcium into a kid who likes milk, it is not an essential part of a healthy diet. Other dairy products, such as yogurt and kefir, can provide as much calcium per serving as milk does. There are lots of other foods that can provide calcium as well.

If your child doesn’t eat much in the way of dairy products, it is probably a good idea to familiarize yourself with the recommended daily amount of calcium at various ages and the list of calcium-containing foods from the National Institutes of Health to ensure that they are getting an adequate amount of calcium.

If you are concerned that your child is not getting enough calcium daily, you can choose to give a calcium supplement. Make sure to give calcium separately from any other supplemental vitamins to ensure that the calcium doesn’t inhibit the absorption of the other vitamins.

Finally, it’s important to check that your child is taking in adequate amounts of Vitamin D, which enables calcium to be absorbed into the gut.

Dr. Stacy Drasen, pediatrician at Vancouver Clinic

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