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my 18 month old, milk, and weight

My 18 month old was breastfed until 16.5 months, won't drink milk (unless it's in her cereal bowl, then only a few sips). She doesn't drink anything but water. Our pediatrician at our last appointment suggested we withhold water until she had had x number of ounces of milk in a given day. I decided not to do that. She eats 1-2 containers of yogurt a day and loves cheese. And she was growing fine... Well, about that. At her 18 month well visit, she had dropped significantly in percentiles. (she was around 40th, now is 10th). My pediatrician feels vindicated and is back on the "she needs milk" thing. But I'm thinking, all that we've proven is that she isn't growing at the exact same rate as all those kids drinking milk. Does that really prove that she's less healthy? or that their weight is better? I absolutely want to do what's best for my child, and am open to changing my mind. What do you think?

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Asked by Anonymous at 1:51 PM on Mar. 18, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (10)
  • In all reality, humans do not need to drink milk from another animal source (other than human milk during at least the first full year of life) as long as they are getting their calcium from another source, like other dairy products or leafy green vegetables. There are other reasons for your child to not be growing at the same rate. But as long as she's not dropping in weight, it shouldn't be that big of a deal.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:54 PM on Mar. 18, 2010

  • I would look at finding another pediatrician - one who listens to what you are saying. 2 of my 3 kids would not drink milk after they stopped nursing. They ate other, fully fatted, dairy products like full fat yogurt (harder to find these days), cheese and cream cheese. They only really started to drink milk in kindergarten, but even now, not so regularly. One was super tiny (less that 5th percentile) and the other was over the 50th. The calcium is the real issue, and as long as she is getting enough, then I wouldn't worry.

    Answer by balagan_imma at 2:00 PM on Mar. 18, 2010

  • Kids do need more fat than adults for proper brain development, but it doesn't have to come from milk. Yes - make sure she's getting other calcium sources, but also make sure she's getting enough fat in her diet. My 8 and 10 year olds don't drink milk, at all but when they were young I had to make a concerted effort to make sure that I was adding "good" fats into their diet (they were always in the lowest 10% for weight).

    Answer by missanc at 2:49 PM on Mar. 18, 2010

  • My kids don't drink much milk either. All they get is what is in their cereal in the mornings. They do have yogurt with lunch every day and both love cheese. Both are doing AWESOME for their growth and have stayed pretty much in the same percentile since they were born.

    I understand how your dr thinks she may need the extra calcium and the fat, but try other things like nuts and avacados. They are high in the healthy fat. I understand that kids need "milk" for certain vitamins and minerals but I can't imagine how they HAVE to have COW milk.... There are other ways to supplement those vitamins and minerals. As long as your are feeding your daughter healthy things and she's eating good, she should be just fine. I'd recommend seeking advice from another pediatrician.

    Answer by things_not_sane at 3:45 PM on Mar. 18, 2010

  • milk is the #1 food intolerance/ allergen. it is not necessary. the milk is all pumped up with growth wonder milk drinking kids are bigger...
    sometimes kids grow tall, and then catch up with their weight. sometimes kids grow faster and then plateau.
    i agree with looking for other sources of fat, like fish and nuts.
    calcium easily comes from green veggies, and vit d from the sun.
    it can't be fun having a dr. not be on your side!

    Answer by happy2bmom25 at 4:19 PM on Mar. 18, 2010

  • Just make sure the dairy she s getting is full fat. There are plenty of other sources for her to get the fat she'd get from whole milk. I'd look at getting a new doctor. My son is pretty low in the weight percentile also and he drinks milk pretty re. Some kids are just skinny. Doesn't mean they're not healthy. Avocados are a great alternative. I wouldn't worry about it. No one actually needs dairy to live. find a doctor more aware of the big picture of health rather than your guy who wants to just read off his paper.

    Answer by flitpixie at 4:29 PM on Mar. 18, 2010

  • If it makes you feel any better, my daughter is the same age, drinks plenty of whole milk, and is still a bitty thing. She's in the lower end of the percentiles, too. It think it's just the way she grows. She gets chubby, then gets a growth spurt and gets longer. Like other people said, as long as she is getting a source of fats - cheese, butter, yogurt - I wouldn't think it would be that concerning. Your kid could drink milk all day every day. It's still not going to push her into the 40th percentile. Besides, your doctor should know that percentiles are just a snapshot in time at a given time. One measurement is not indicative of future development.

    Answer by lvpenguino at 4:38 PM on Mar. 18, 2010

  • I wouldn't worry about it at all as long as she is getting calcium from other sources like you said... yogurt and cheese. I think the weight drop is related to the change in breastmilk vs no breast milk... not so much not drinking cow's milk. I didn't breastfeed as long but I did notice a large drop in his weight when we stopped breastfeeding... he had been in the 98th% and dropped to the 65% but he was also more active and eating habits have changed... so I would assume it's the same with your daughter... she's probably running around like crazy. As long as she is still gaining weight I wouldn't about where she falls on the curve. And to use my son as an example again, between his 15-18 month check he gained only 9 oz but then between 18-19 months he's gained 3 1/2 lbs!!! So you just never know what they are going to do.

    Answer by AmiJanell at 5:08 PM on Mar. 18, 2010

  • Time for a new doctor!

    Kids don't need to drink cow's milk. Toddlers, just like everyone else, are supposed to drink water. The last 5-10 years the American Academy of Pediatrics has been on a big education program to encourage baby and young children to only drink like 4 oz of juice a day and to drink water. Your doctor tries to get your child to stop drinking water.

    Milk is for baby cows. Baby humans don't need any at all. Only 2 toddler size servings milk products are recommended a day. Doctors aren't trained in nutrition. I'm serious about finding a new doctor. I would never be able to trust this one.

    Milk can cause constipation, diarrhea, other digestive problems, anemia, obesity, and other problems. Go to google and you can find some sites with lots of bad info about milk. Be careful about the milk you get.

    Answer by Gailll at 8:13 PM on Mar. 18, 2010

  • OP here: Thanks for your advice and suggestions. She eats about 1/2 an avocado a day. She can't have nuts as she is allergic to them. I'll just keep up the yogurt, cheese, avocado, and overall healthy diet and not worry...

    Answer by EmilySusan at 9:38 AM on Mar. 19, 2010

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