Diet

Dairy products

Milk is an important part of the development of our children! Here is everything you need to know about the introduction of dairy products and the quantities recommended by age!

The importance of milk

Milk provides several benefits to our children’s growing bodies. It’s an excellent source of calcium, which strengthens our bones and keeps our teeth healthy, vitamin D, which ensures that the calcium is better absorbed by the body and a host of other nutrients essential to good development. But when should you begin to introduce dairy products in your baby’s diet and what are the recommended amounts?

The introduction of dairy products

From birth to six months, your baby only needs breast milk to meet his nutritional requirements. You can also choose to continue breastfeeding your child until he is 2 years of age, or even longer since breast milk offers many benefits for his health and development.

If you can’t breastfeed, it’s recommended you use a cow milk-based infant formula fortified with iron during the first 9 to 12 months of your baby’s life to meet his nutritional needs.

Table of introduction of dairy products

Age

Evolution

6 to 12 months

  • Maternal milk or infant formula enriched with iron
  • Start of solid foods (dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese, grated cheeses)

12 to 18 months

  • Maternal milk and/or whole milk (3,25 %)

18 to 24 months

  • Maternal milk and/or whole milk (3,25 %)
  • You can start giving 2 % milk if your child is growing properly and is eating a healthy and varied diet.

2 to 5 months

  • Maternal milk and/or 2 % milk

From Caring for kids

Quantities

As Canada’s Food Guide is designed for those aged 2 and older, it can be difficult to identify how much milk your baby is supposed to drink each day. Whether your child is breastfed or bottled fed, there are still minimal quantities that must be observed. A breastfed child who is breastfed on demand gets all the nutrients his body needs. If you are using the bottle or later when you start introducing dairy products, here are the recommended quantities to meet:

Age

Feedings (24hrs)

Quantity

Birth-15 days

6 to 10 feedings

45 to 115 ml or 1,5 to 3,5 ounces

15 days-1 month

6 to 8 feedings

60 to 125 ml or 2 to 4 ounces

1-3 months

5 to 6 feedings

150 to 210 ml or 5 to 7 ounces

3-7 months

5 to 6 feedings

180 to 240 ml or 6 to 8 ounces

8 to 12 months

3 to 4 feedings

180 to 240 ml or 6 to 8 ounces

1 to 2 years

 

725 ml or 25 ounces

Daily servings of milk and dairy products recommended by Canada’s Food Guide

Ages

Daily recommended portions

Children from 2 to 8 years old

2

Children from 9 to 13 years old

3-4

Teenagers from 14 to 18 years old

3-4

From Dairy goodness

Tips to consume more dairy products and substitutes

If your children don’t like to drink milk and you are worrying they are not absorbing the recommended amounts, there are many dairy products and substitutes that you can offer them to supplement their diet:

  • If it’s the taste of milk they don’t like, you can offer them fortified soy beverages.
  • Make healthy snacks with yogurt or different cheeses (kids particularly love cottage cheese and ricotta!)
  • Sprinkle your food with grated cheese
  • Find recipes that incorporate milk or fortified soy beverages
  • During the summer, you can make smoothies with yogurt or milkshake with ice cream.
  • Green leafy vegetables are known to be an excellent source of calcium, serve them as often as possible!
Image de Mariem Melainine

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