Whole, 2% or Skim: What Milk is Best for Your Child?

Hello Mommies and Daddies! Welcome back to Happy, Healthy Children with Pamela Cunningham, M.D. Thanks for reading!

If you have read my blog before, you know that my goal is to help you raise the happiest, healthiest children possible! Keeping that goal in mind, let’s talk about milk. Why is milk good for your child and what type of milk is best?

When your baby is first born, the healthiest milk to nourish your child is mommy’s milk*. But what is the best type of milk after children have weaned? Whole milk, 2%, skim? What about cow milk alternatives, like goat or almond? 

First, let’s talk about why milk is good for your child.  Milk is jam-packed with nutrients, including fats.  And, it turns out that the developing human brain uses fat as its building blocks.  In fact, the human brain is made up of 60% fat!

Breast milk is high in fat, which is one of the reasons it is the perfect nourishment for babies. But a person’s brain actually continues to develop until they turn 25 years old!  So doesn’t it make sense that you want to keep that high percentage of milk fat going through at least age 25? 

With all of this being true, why do most pediatricians recommend low fat or skim milk rather than whole-fat milk? The American Academy of Pediatrics began recommending decreased fat in children’s milk when obesity and diabetes rates began to rise in children. Seems logical, doesn’t it? 

But, actually, as nutritional science has developed, we have seen that moderate levels of fat in our children’s diet does not make them fat at all!

What makes children, and adults for that matter, gain weight are processed carbohydrates. How many children are given either a sugary drink, like chocolate milk, juice, or even soda with their lunches?  What about sugary treats for snack at school? These will all cause weight gain in children and provide minimal-to-no nutritional benefit. 

Whole milk for children won’t put them at risk of obesity as long as the rest of their diet is healthy. But the higher levels of fat will provide them with good building blocks that help their little bodies grow and flourish.

What if your child doesn’t care for cow’s milk? Or it’s your preference, as a parent, not to give it to them? I have an upcoming post about cow’s milk alternatives; please join me for that!

In the meantime, please make sure to provide ample sources of healthy fats in your child’s diet so their developing brains get the fat they need.  Healthy fats are not your child’s enemy. To the contrary, they are a crucial component of proper development. So let your children enjoy whole milk!

Thank you again for reading with me today!  Please enter your email address below to subscribe to my blog which will allow my new postings to come directly to your inbox.  Also please share my Facebook page, YouTube videos and Instagram account with your friends and family so they too can raise happy, healthy children!

*For those of you who might be, or were, unable to breastfeed, please do not feel discouraged! Circumstances vary.  Check out my video on breastfeeding and its alternatives.  The important things to focus on are what decisions you make for your child going forward. These decisions and your positive attitude will help you raise happy, healthy children!

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