Toddler and milk
Behaviour, Toddlers

What do you do if your toddler won’t drink milk?

You must have heard from many moms that milk is important and their toddler don’t drink milk. Yeah! That’s right milk can be a great part of child’s diet because it provides energy and many other essential nutrition including protein, calcium and vitamin-D.  These are needed to grow healthy teeth and bones.

Milk is an important source of calcium and protein. It is recommended to have at least 500 ml of milk per day for 6 to 12 month baby and at least 300 ml of milk per day for toddler (1 to 3 year old).

Toddlers need about 700 milligrams of calcium per day and milk is the best source to meet that daily requirement. You should always choose whole milk for children less than 24 months of age and low-fat milk for children 24 months or older. Do not use unpasteurized or raw milk as it can cause serious illness.

Some babies refuses milk while transition from formula or breast milk to cow’s milk. This transition usually takes place around your baby’s first birthday. Some toddler simply can’t digest cow’s milk also called lactose intolerance and they won’t drink milk because of discomfort associated with this like bloating, diarrhea and cramps.

8 Tips to get toddler to drink milk

If your toddler won’t milk then try to find the reason why:

  • Check whether the taste of milk is problem. Because taste is a big problem as a result, they start refusing milk.
  • Maybe it’s hot or cold. Try to find out their temperature preference of milk
  • Are you are pressuring them to drink milk.
  • Maybe he is not having milk because other member in the family are also not having it
  • He or she is not able to digest the milk and are lactose intolerance.

If your toddler can digest milk but refuse to drink, here are some tips that you can try.

1. Start Slow

Offer milk to your toddler very calmly and don’t force your child to drink milk or do not beg your child to drink it. Try not to give any treat for drinking milk beacuse they can make it as a habit also. Start with 1 to 2 ounce at a time. At first he will only take in small amount, slowly increase the amount of milk.

2. Creative Serving

Serve milk in a creative way for example give some colorful cups, use straw, and spout cups or anything that your baby likes.

3. Warm or Cold Milk

Some children likes cold milk and some prefer warm milk and serving milk according to their preference can be appealing for them to have milk.

4. Add Milk to Foods

You can also try adding some milk to other food items like breakfast cereals, porridge, soups, custards, pudding, scrambled eggs, or smoothies. Basically, try to add milk rater than water in their meals and snacks.

5. Let them Prepare their own Milk

Some children finds it interesting to eat the food that they prepare so let them put their milk in cup and maybe they will have it.

6. Drink with them

Some children love copies their caretaker therefore you can also have milk with them and try to encourage them about it.

7. Try Flavored Milk

Always offer plain milk, but sometime children don’t like the taste of plain milk. You can add some fruit purees or add some chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavor to it.  Make it flavorful and offer your toddler.

8. Try with other milk products first or mix the milk with Breast-Milk

You can also give milk alternatives like yogurt, ice-creams and cheese and see whether he likes the taste and then first try to give small amount of milk or you can also mix breast milk with small amount of cow’s milk and slowly increase the amount of cow’s milk till he develop a taste.

10 alternative of milk to include in your child’s diet

Milk is an important part of toddler’s diet but sometime they won’t drink milk because of that they can miss many essential vitamins and mineral. Milk provides many essential vitamins and minerals like:

  • Calcium
  • Fat
  • Protein
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin A
  • B vitamins
  • Selenium
  • Folate
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Iodine

To get all the essential vitamins and mineral mentioned above, it’s important for the children to have milk. But in all cases it’s not possible. Some kids cannot digest milk and some simply refuse to drink it. I am also a mother of 3 year old and I can understand very well. After weaning off from breast milk he never likes the taste of milk and I tried every tip that I have mentioned above but nothing worked. He simply refuses to have milk and I was always worried about his calcium and protein intake but nothing worked.

 If your toddler is same like mine and won’t drink milk, I will simply say don’t panic.


There are other ways or I can say other alternates to milk that you can offer and your child will get necessary supplement that they would usually get from milk, without actually drinking milk. In other words milk alone is not the only source of all theses vitamins and minerals.

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Here are the following alternatives to milk that you can offer to your child.

1.    Yogurt and cheese

You can offer milk alternatives like yogurt, cheese slices and cottage cheese. They are full of calcium and protein like milk. You can offer yogurt as a desert or add in smoothies also. Cheese can be added to meals like pasta and egg or can be given as a snack. this is a very good alternative of milk for toddler who won’t drink milk.

2.    Oranges

All knows that oranges are full of vitamin c but they are full of calcium also. You can add fresh oranges to your kid’s diet or add some orange juice, make sure that juice is full of calcium.

3.    Non-dairy milk

Some kids want to have milk but they cannot because of lactose intolerance. There are so many non dairy milk options are available for the toddlers who don’t drink milk. You can offer other non-dairy milk for instance, coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk or any lactose free milk. They are full of calcium, fats and other vitamins.

4.    Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are full of vitamins and mineral and are rich source of calcium and protein. You can use some nuts flour like almond flour, flex seeds flour while cooking. Offer nuts while snacking or add their flour while backing. You can also give them nut butters like almond and peanut butters. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium.

5.    Beans and legumes

You can give them boiled beans like chickpeas or green beans, peas while snacking or add them in soups or as a side dish in meals also. They are full of nutritious.

6.    Tofu

Tofu is a great source of calcium and protein. You can give them as a snack or add them with vegetables during meal time. Tofu is high in protein, fat, vitamins, mineral and this can be one of the good option to include in your toddler diet who don’t drink milk.

7.    Green leafy vegetables

Green leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, lettuce, turnip greens and spinach are great source of calcium, magnesium and iron. Include them in your kids diet will provide them calcium and necessary mineral. 

8.    Salmon

Salmon is rich in vitamin D and you can include this in your kids diet for the better absorption of calcium because Vitamin D is very important for the absorption of calcium.

9.    Sun light

Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D. without enough vitamin-D calcium will not be able to absorb in your body. Daily requirement of your kid is to get 400 IU vitamin-D per day. By spending some time in sun will do the wonder or you can try supplementing with vitamin-D after consulting your health care provider.

10. Fish

Fish contains healthy omega 3 fatty acid in addition its a great source of iodine, zinc, selenium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin D, B-vitamins, vitamin A, fats and protein. Add this super food in your kid’s diet for the necessary vitamins, minerals and protein.

These are the variety of foods that you can give to your toddler, who don’t want milk and still you can complete his essential requirements.

Here are the key points to remember while doing this

  1. Add variety of foods during each meal.
  2. You can do experiment with milk and try adding milk to the different type of meals and snacks.
  3. By giving other dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and ice-creams
  4. You can also try adding some dairy free milk like almond milk, soya milk etc.

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