Monday, June 21, 2010

New Milk Recommendations for Children 12 to 24 months

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended whole milk for children starting at the age of 12 months and continuing until 24 months. This all changed after research was evaluated and discussed among the AAP.

In July 2008, the AAP changed its stance to recommend that some children should start with 2% milk at the age of 12 months. However, of course those children still receiving breast milk should continue as long as mommy is up for it! Children who are candidates for this new recommendation are those who have a family history of:


Dyslipidemia (elevated cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, low HDL-cholesterol, or elevated triglycerides)


Cardiovascular Disease

Don’t children need fat for brain development?

Absolutely! However, research found no difference in the growth and development of children who drank low fat milk versus children who drank whole milk.

How can I supplement fat so that I know my child is getting enough?

Cook with olive oil, serve avocado, and serve hummus dip with whole grain crackers. Look for foods high in unsaturated fats.

Why do experts keep changing their minds?

Research, research, research! Every topic imaginable has not been studied so some recommendations are based on speculation or inferences from other research. As research develops and we get more detailed in our techniques, we learn more and more. Recommendations and position statements change based on evolving research. If recommendations never changed, I would wonder why we fund research.

So what should I do?

First, take a look at your child’s family history. Does your child have obesity, dyslipidemia, or cardiovascular disease in his/her family history? If so, discuss options with your pediatrician.

Motivational Monday
I exercise so that when I’m older, I’ll have the strength to take care of myself!


  1. Especially if your child attends day care, you should ask what kind of milk they serve. We were surprised that our previous day care served all children whole milk, including to 3 and 4 year-olds. You had to request to be part of the "no whole milk" group.

    "Serve avocado, and serve hummus dip with whole grain crackers." Good luck with Big Brother and Little Brother, vegetable eaters that they are. Bab-E Brother, however, may buck the picky trend, so we'll keep our fingers crossed.

  2. We'll definitely talk to the pediatrician about this when I see him in a couple weeks. Obviously, Baby Brother isn't at that stage, but I am curious to hear what the doc has to say. He keeps pretty up to date with the latest research. Thanks for bringing this up!

  3. My sister-in-law gives her 4 and 2 year olds whole milk and tons of fruit juice. She's an educated person so I don't know why she doesn't care about what she gives her kids. They are normal weight, but it was very annoying at the beach when they never ate dinner because they drank so much milk (they went through over 2 gallons for the girls in a week) and ate popsicles constantly.

  4. My petite four year old was diagnosed with high cholesterol at her 3 year old check up (total was 335 at the time). We have a family history with my husbands being in the 300's without meds. At the time we switched to skim and she has been more active and at her four year old check up he total had dropped to the high 200's. When my son turns 1 we will for sure do the 2% for him!

  5. Thanks everyone for the great discussion!

    Busy-Dad-E: What a great point! I took my son out of daycare just before he hit 12 months, so we didn't have to venture into that battle (there were already so many!!). That is a great tip to all parents. You really should inquire about what daycare is giving your child.

    Statmom: I'd love to hear what your pediatrician says! Our office still has whole milk as a recommendation on their 12 month handout. I asked our pediatrician and she said she was fine with us using 2% and we would just monitor and make sure our son continued to gain appropriately. He has, so we are continuing.

    Flygracefully: That is frustrating! I have really found more and more that some of the most educated people do these things. I am starting to chalk it up to the fact that they may be very intelligent, but not well read on nutrition. That is part of why I'm loving blogging! I feel like I can help spread information, as long as people read it!

    Anonymous: That is so great to hear about your experience and I'm happy to hear about your success! Because cholesterol meds are pretty controversial for young children (and who wants to use them if they can be avoided anyway?) it is so awesome that you're taking steps to lower and avoid high cholesterol with diet and exercise!

  6. Very interesting information. Of course my children are grown, but I like to keep up with the latest so I'm not an out of touch Gramm-E.