I have an adorable new grand nephew. On Christmas day during dinner, his mother, who by the way is an awesome new mother, was asking me about weaning babies to whole milk versus 2% or fat free. Gee don’t you wish you could have your Christmas dinner with a dietitian? We have such fun dinner topics. One of the favorite games my family enjoys playing during our meals is “stump the dietitian.”
The answer to this question is very complicated and involves issues such as fat needed for brain development, the difficulty in digesting protein in cow’s milk, and a whole host of other issues. The short answer is, breast feed as long as possible and as often as possible. This is the absolute unqualified best for your baby. (I tend to shoot straight with no mercy.) It is great if you are able to continue breastfeeding well into the second year of your baby’s life. Mother’s milk is naturally designed to meet your child’s needs as he/she grows. When it is time to add in additional milk choose fat free. Make certain your child is getting a diet rich in grains and fruits and veggies and lean protein. There is no reason to give your 1-2 year old whole milk which is high in saturated fat unless there is a low weight issue. Your toddler will enjoy finger foods which include a variety of fatty acids to keep them healthy. If you have questions about this please ask your pediatrician to explain why he is advising you to give your toddler whole milk. He may have a very valid reason. I am not giving you medical advice. (You will see this statement in many of my blogs because I also have a nephew who is an attorney and I don’t want to get in any trouble.) I’m going to brag here for just a few words. I have 3 of the smartest and prettiest young women for daughters and none of them have ever drunk anything but skim milk. So, now you know why you are blessed if you do not have to endure sharing your holiday meals with a dietitian. Thanks Katie and Owen for keeping me on my toes.