Pre-Toddler Milk Intake

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A common concern with the pre-toddler age group is the child’s milk intake, especially if mom has previously been breastfeeding and unused to knowing the exact number of ounces going into baby.Milk Intake


The exact number of ounces a pre-toddler should get per day varies from pediatrician to pediatrician. Some suggest as few as 16 ounces and some are closer to 30. Mine said 24, so that is what I shot for. That is also the recommended number in On Becoming Pre-Toddlerwise (see page 45). 


Brayden was perfection at meeting that each day. We gave him 6 ounces, four times a day. 


Kaitlyn sometimes drank more–I had no problem with that. But typically, she was right at 24 ounces. She had 8 ounces three  times a day.


McKenna drank maybe 8 ounces a day. Yes, a day. Let me say that had she been my oldest, I would have spent much time stressing about that. Very much. It still worried me some, but I had told enough of you to not worry about it that I was able to get that in my head for the most part. 


I put some effort into looking into dairy substitutes, and do have a post on that: Adding Milk/Dairy to the Diet.


So, with the pre-toddler, you are wanting to get about 24 ounce of milk in per day. But remember back that nutrition is about averages. Some might want 30 ounces one day and 18 the next. No problem. And if you get one like McKenna, I assure you that you can have a normal, healthy child and that you can get the necessary dairy into the diet quite easily. No need to stress šŸ™‚


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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book,Ā The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on theĀ AboutĀ page. Follow her onĀ Facebook,Ā Pinterest, andĀ InstagramĀ for more tips and helps.

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  1. The Young Family
    May 16, 2011 / 5:54 PM

    Thanks for this! My daughter (child #3) is 10 months now, and I've been thinking about this very thing because I can't even remember what I did with my boys when they got past a year old…I love when questions that have been plaguing me get answered! šŸ™‚

  2. Brad and Amanda
    May 16, 2011 / 9:06 PM

    Thank you so much for this. I went to the Dr. today and he said that my 1 year old should be drinking 40oz a day!!! I about fell over! My DS is like your McKenna and only drinks 8oz a day. I don't see how I can get 24 oz…let alone 40! Thanks for the ideas to add dairy into his diet.

  3. aaron&yuka
    May 17, 2011 / 2:57 AM

    I think mom's should take their ped.'s opinions into consideration but do their own thinking as well. My ped. said to not worry about a specific number at all and that if there is not another protein source in the meal then milk can be served. This makes sense to me since in other countries like Japan where my mom is from milk is rarely consumed (and the people there looked healthy to me). I serve my little one cheese and yogurt daily but I never give her milk to drink and she has always been in the 75 % range for height and weight. I really think these numbers might be arbitrary and are created by doctors as a least common denominator of sorts.

  4. Sabrina
    May 17, 2011 / 6:02 PM

    I agree wu the previous poster. My daughter is 15 months and we have chosen to not feed her any milk (by itself) after I stopped breast feeding (this past month). There is compelling information out there that cows milk really isnt very healthy and doesn't need to be a main source of nutrition for toddlers. I do feed my child yogurt and cheese, which she loves! So she is getting dairy in other places. But I strive for a well balanced diet to be sure she gets all the vitamins she needs. She only ever drinks water.So rest assured, if your child isn't drinking "enough" milk, it's okay. There are many toddlers that aren't getting any and are growing perfectly!

  5. Sarah V.
    May 18, 2011 / 10:37 PM

    As a doctor, I would like to point out that, in fact, your child doesn't 'need' *any* milk a day. What children need is enough of the various nutrients that keep the human body helpful. Milk is a useful source of a lot of nutrients, particularly protein and calcium, but there is nothing at all in milk that can't be found in other sources. So, if your child won't drink milk, don't worry about it – just look for other ways to get those nutrients in. For starters, remember that milk doesn't have to be drunk to be milk – if your child is eating cheese or yoghurt, then they're taking in milk. If they won't take any dairy products (or have an intolerance that means they can't), then just research other options for giving them the nutrients that would be found in the milk. But there isn't any particular food or drink that's necessary for a child, as long as they're getting their needed nutrients some way or another.

  6. Plowmanators
    June 1, 2011 / 8:19 PM

    Glad to help Young Family!Wow Brad and Amanda–40 is definitely the highest number I have ever heard.Thanks for your comments Aaron and Yuka.Thanks for your added thoughts Sarah V.!

  7. daniellaprice30
    July 23, 2012 / 6:19 AM

    I am pregnant and I want to breast feed my baby as much as possible. My only problem is that I'm not sure if my baby would still get enough milk after I had a breast implant with the Long Island plastic surgery group. Do you have any idea if it's still healthy to breast feed?

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