1. What kind of milk is recommended for children 12 months and up and why?
The AAP recommends breast milk up to age 1 and if that is unavailable, formula. After age 12 months, the recommendation is for 100% (whole) cow’s milk. Children should not be given low-fat, skim, or fat-free milk until after the age of 2 as the fats are needed for healthy brain development. For children who are found to have a true cow’s milk protein allergy (manifested either by true allergic symptoms (hives, wheezing, anaphylaxis) or by bloody stools or fatty, watery stools caused by a protein-losing enteropathy) there are alternatives such as soy or, as the incidence of cross-allergy between soy and cow’s milk can be as high as 20-30%, there are ‘formulas’ for older children that use amino acids or pre-digested protein to avoid causing an allergic response.
If a child refuses to drink milk one can try a few things. While the official recommendations of pediatricians do not include chocolate milk, many parents find that adding a very small amount of chocolate powder adds enough sweetness and flavor to help encourage kids to drink. However, between the age of 1 and 2, most children should betransitioning to 1 8-oz container a day plus other dairy sources such as yogurt and cheese. If a child really will not drink milk, substituting an equivalent additional amount of yogurt or cheese should be perfectly adequate for fat, calorie, and calcium needs.
As above, if a child is replacing that milk with an equivalent amount of cheese or yogurtor other dairy milk-containing products, then no, they are not missing out. But without dairy, a child is definitely nutritionally deficient and it is unhealthy, for example, for a young child to be vegan entirely.