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1 year old refusing milk

My daughter is not quite 13 months, has been transitioned completely off the bottle, but is refusing to drink even one ounce of milk a day.  I have tried everything from initially combining half formula/half milk, warming her milk, putting just a touch of chocolate syrup in it, etc. but she just will not drink it.  Should I continue to offer it or offer her something like Almond Milk instead?  Will she get enough calcium, fat, etc. if she eats 3 servings of cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt instead each day? 

For a 13 month old, milk should just be part of her diet. As a pediatrician, I worry more about excess milk intake than limited intake. Often toddlers who drink 30 plus ounces of milk a day eat very few other things. A milk only diet will quickly lead to iron deficiency anemia.

Continue to serve her milk with lunch and dinner. Set a good example and drink milk yourself. I agree that you should encourage other sources of calcium until her milk intake improves.

Good sources of calcium are:
1.) Dairy like cheeses, yogurt
2.) Green veggies like broccoli and
3.) Fortified foods like Nutrigrain bars and orange juice

You are welcome to try chocolate/strawberry milk, but this rarely works. You could try almond or other types of milk. If you do check the calcium content as almond milk needs to fortified with calcium.

Prior to becoming a father, I had always heard that children loved cow’s milk. In Birmingham, locals called it “sweet milk”. In practice, I find the number of toddlers who initially refuse cow’s milk equal to those who crave it.

Our first two children refused to drink cow’s milk for 6 months. By persistently serving it and setting a good example they learned to drink cow’s milk. At 13 months, your daughter should be drinking from a sippy cup. You may want to experiment with an open cup as this really helped our kids.

Remember your long term goal is good nutrition for lifelong health. It may take some time for your daughter to learn to drink milk, but eventually she will.



Written August 2010 by
Gregory Gordon MD, Orlando Pediatrician


 is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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