Yvette J. Brown | CWK Network
"Too much of anything can be bad for you."
- Dr. Sandra Moore, pediatrician -
Two-year-old Sam likes milk a lot. "From when he was a baby, when we switched him from formula to milk, he just has always loved the stuff," says Sam's mother, Terri Cohen. "He'd wake up in the middle of the night and say, 'I want milk.' He just loves milk."
Sam drinks almost 30 ounces a day. Doctors recommend between 16 and 24 ounces. But is there anything wrong with a little extra? "If you're drinking large quantities of milk, you're excluding other nutritious foods, and you're not necessarily getting all the vitamins and minerals you need for the day," explains pediatrician Dr. Sandra Moore.
In other words, she says, when kids fill up on milk, it can ruin their appetite for the rest of their meal. "If he has milk before he's gonna eat, then he won't eat," says Terri Cohen. "He would rather just have milk."
Doctors say excess milk can also lead to weight gain, constipation and anemia because it lacks iron. So, experts say, create a balance. "Instead of offering your child or toddler eight ounces of milk, for example, you may want to offer your child four ounces of milk," Dr. Moore suggests. "You also may want to offer milk with a meal and offer other things in between."
Water and limited amounts of juice are good alternatives. Still, doctors say milk, in moderation, is an important food for kids. "Milk is an excellent source of nutrition for children, as are many things," says Dr. Moore. "But once again, it's all about balance. You never want to do one thing to the exclusion of others, especially for growing children who need all of their vitamins and minerals."