Come milk time, most mommies also have to prepare for running time! Feeding kids their daily glass of milk can become a tiring affair that needs running around the house, cajoling, tricks, and promises of something-special at dinner. But we do it, every day, for milk is VERY important for a growing child. On World Milk Day, June 1, let’s make a note of some important considerations in feeding milk to our babies. This will guarantee that they derive 100% benefit from this nutritious drink.
Mothers experience all sorts of fussiness from their kids at meal-times. Milk is one of the most fussed-over foods with kids complaining of its taste, smell or even colour. While it was all very well when the baby was nursing (or consuming formula milk), the real challenge begins after age 1, when babies are introduced to cow’s milk.
Pooja Patil, a mom from Pune with a 4-year-old daughter Vaidahi, shared with us her milk-time experiences with her baby girl. Like many kids this age, her little one is also a fussy eater. But her fussiness is very different: she does not say ‘no’ to milk; she ONLY wants milk!
My Little Baby – A Thorough Milk Fan!
My child Vaidahi is like a brand-ambassador for milk brands. All moms complain that their kids hate milk, but I’ve a unique fussy-eater at home. She loves milk and wants milk all the time! When I was pregnant, I had almost 2 glasses of milk every day, for meeting the extra calcium needs during pregnancy. But, hardly did I know then that my child will become a thorough milk fan when she grows up…
Tip 1: Enjoy These Benefits of Milk For Babies
As moms, we vouch for milk as the top source of calcium for kids – something they need for strong bones and overall health. However, milk also has many other benefits for babies that we learn about over time and can put to use. Pooja shares the top benefits milk has for her baby girl:
“Milk soothes her when she’s not slept well and is crying. It acts as a fulfilling meal-replacer when she doesn’t wish to have food.
Feeding milk has been very useful at times, when Vaidahi was unwell and didn’t feel like having any solid foods. The doctor had warned me to watch for dehydration and keep feeding her fluids. At that time, milk was the only source of nutrition that she had.”
Tip 2: Limit Milk Consumption At These Times
While milk certainly has numerous benefits for our babies, there are times when we must limit its consumption. As per doctors, it is best to restrict milk to two to three 8-ounce cups per day, after your child is 1 year old. This will ensure they also focus on eating other foods.
Pooja shares the times she avoids feeding milk to her baby, in consultation with the doctor:
“There are times when I need to hide her mug or sippy cup or tell her that there’s no milk left in the house. This way she at least eats her meals.
Also, when her stomach is upset or when she suffers from cough congestion, my doctor recommends not to give her milk.”
If your baby is suffering from cold and cough and is producing too much phlegm, discuss with your doctor to decide if milk could be causing the problem. Milk has several macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that can stimulate mucus production in the mouth. This is why, drinking milk at this time may worsen the congestion. However, do NOT discontinue milk without asking the doctor first as your baby needs the nutrition – even more during illness.
Tip 3: Do NOT Rely Only on Milk For Calcium
Milk is the most popular (and certainly one of the most effective) sources of calcium. However, paediatricians advise that we must not rely only on milk to fulfill our child’s calcium needs. As they grow up, children need to derive calcium from other foods sources such as spinach, eggs and fish.
Also, drinking too much milk can affect their appetite and lower their chances of eating a balanced diet. It can also increase risk of fibre-deficiency (and thus constipation) and iron deficiency, mainly because milk does not have either fibre or iron, and your baby is likely to refuse other foods when their tummy is full with milk.
Pooja understands this problem completely, as her little one is such a milk-fan! Many other mothers also face a problem when their child refuses to consume wholesome foods in favour of a preferred, favourite food. Pooja shares her solution for this:
“I become helpless seeing my baccha upset over not having milk. It seems like she simply can’t survive without milk. I’m sure all moms must be explaining their kids the importance of milk for becoming strong. But I have to explain to her that milk is not the only food that will make her strong and she needs to eat a wholesome diet.
For ensuring she eats all the other necessary foods, I try and make these recipes for her:
- Milk-based shakes
- Smoothies with fruits, nuts and even veggies
- Simple recipes like Rajgeera Laddoo in milk (for snack-times)
All-in-all, Vaidahi loves milk to the core and I’ve realized I’m one of those few lucky moms who’s blessed to have a milk-lover like her!”
Indeed, blessed are those moms whose kids don’t fuss at meal-times and are willing to consume a healthy, balanced diet! But then again, no matter how challenging this phase of life is, it is also a memorable time. Years later, when our kids are all grown up and have become healthy eaters, we will always have interesting stories to share on the dinner table. 🙂