17 answers

1 Year Old Doesn't Drink milk...what to Give Him

My one year old was on Nutramigen as an infant and refused it at 10 1/2 months. We tried whole milk but it was tough on his system. We tried Rice Milk and he would drink a little but not much. I've also tried Soy and he just spits it out. I'm at a loss on what to give him. He will drink juice but I can't give him juice all day. Right now I'm giving him a total of 4-6 oz of juice a day...basically mixing 1 oz with water in each cup I give him. That way the water is flavored a little. He will drink plain water but very little of it and I don't want him getting dehydrated. He also prefers apple juice...I've tried white grape. I've also tried the organic apple+carrot so he is getting some veggies with it. Any suggestions...what about V8 or similar?

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I mix carnation powder milk in most of my cooking. It hides well in food and actually makes things creamier. Easier for my family to stomach...ha ha!

If you want him to drink milk you might try Goat milk. My daughter who will be one in Sept has been on it since she was 4 months old and LOVES it. What I give her is RAW Organic goat milk and organic carrot juice 50/50. It is great and she gets lots of nutrition from it. The recipe came from a mid-wife. If you want it let me know and I will send it to you. Hope this helps.

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I would definitely suggest you look into allergies, as well as other food intolerances such as gluten. If whole milk gave him grief, he likely is allergic and it's probably not just the lactose. Soy is just about as bad in terms of allergens (due to its protein structure).

I don't think apple juice if mixed is water is really too bad. You could also get a juicer and try making your own - the advantage of that is that it is typically more nutritious and has some more fiber than regular juice - you can dilute that as well. The reason it's more nutritious is that it's not pasteurized, but that means also that it doesn't keep well, but you could freeze in ice cube trays and just mix one cube with water.

You also don't mention at all what he is eating or how well he is eating. If he is eating well and still getting lots of veggies in his food, then you shouldn't worry too much, unless he has other symptoms - e.g., fussy, loose stools (or constipation), etc. If that's the case or he's not eating well overall, you do need to get him screened for allergies and other food intolerances. The allergies are usually easy to get tested, it's the latter that's really difficult because alot of doctors don't understand that food reactions can be delayed.

The best test for the basics is from enterolab: www.enterolab.com (tests for wheat/gluten and dairy and optionally egg, soy and yeast). I was allergic to all those things. My oldest just the first 2 and my younger son all but the last. You do not need a doctor to order that test.

It also may seem obvious that doctors should be looking for this stuff, but most get just one course in nutrition, thus they are clueless in terms of the health impact of foods. Also, it was only recently discovered that things like gluten intolerance (or celiac disease) are far more common than most doctors were taught in medical school.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D.,

I have 2yo that stop drinking milk once she was weaned from her bottle at 17 months. She drinks Motts for Tots(apple juice) and I searched to web for foods that had calcium. I then started to prepare the foods on the list and we've had great success. I also give her yogurt daily. The pediatrician told me not to worry about..because milk causes a lot of problems with kids. She informed me that I was doing the right thing about finding foods with calcium. They also make calcium fortified juices that your little one could drink. I just try to watch the sodium and sugar content.

My little does not take vitamins. She gets enough in her foods.

Check out this site:

I hope this helps like it did for me!


If you want him to drink milk you might try Goat milk. My daughter who will be one in Sept has been on it since she was 4 months old and LOVES it. What I give her is RAW Organic goat milk and organic carrot juice 50/50. It is great and she gets lots of nutrition from it. The recipe came from a mid-wife. If you want it let me know and I will send it to you. Hope this helps.

Get the book: Don't Drink Your Milk.

It explains that humans are the only animal that continues to give their babies milk after weaning. It is not really necessary. It also explains ways to get the nutrient that you would normally get from milk that your body needs.

Did you know that if you gave a baby cow the milk we buy in the store, it would KILL it.

Don't get too upset. Lot's of kids don't drink milk and are just fine.


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Hi D., you might try yogurt & yogurt drinks. They even have yogurt milk mixed with fruit juice in the baby food section.
Good luck

I mix carnation powder milk in most of my cooking. It hides well in food and actually makes things creamier. Easier for my family to stomach...ha ha!

He started refusing Nutramigen at 10 1/2 months? Did you mix formula and milk together when transitioning? My kids did not like cold milk. I added Ovaltine and heated the milk up a little. Are you giving in a sippy cup or bottle? My kids wanted their milk in the bottle first, then later would take in a sippy cup. As far as apple juice to drink. My middle child was a big drinker. The dr also told me to limit milk and juice. I asked what I was supposed to give him to drink when he had met his milk and juice max. He said Gatorade, no limit on ounces.

Hope you find the answer that works for your little one.

I never had this issue but my daughter for the longest time refused to eat any form of meat unless it was meatloaf..go figure. So to make sure she was getting the vitamins and minerals she needed daily, I bought the liquid infant vitamins and put them into her apple juice in the morning. She could not taste the vitamins so she would drink the whole thing. She refused to take chewable vitamins until this summer and she is now 5 years old.

I would talk to your pediatrician to see what the best route is for your son getting the calcium too. There is some good advice here but it could not hurt to ask.


Hello D.,

has he been tested for allergies? have him tested to make sure he's not allergic to any of the new milks you're trying. also, try different brands. there is a big difference in taste and consistency from one brand to the next. it's unbelievable! go to www.nomilk.com and read until you find the right info for you. it does have some good links and information about milk alternatives. good luck and keep trying! maybe he has sensory issues too. ~C.~

my pediatrician said it is no big deal for them to not drink milk as long as they are getting calcium from other sources. I think continuing on the diluted juice route would be just fine. As far as nutrition, you should not look at his liquids as nutrition...the food should be that, and any gets from liquids are just bonus points.

My son used to drink soy formula. When it came time to transition him to soy milk (digestion problems with cow's milk), I did something similar to diluting fruit juice with water and diluted the soy formula with soy milk. You can try the familiar (Nutramigen) mixed with a small part of alternative milk (soy, rice, etc.). Gradually, after 2-3 days, increase the amount of milk to formula so it isn't that much of a taste transition to your child.

I have a small suggestion. Three of my children were "lactose intolerant" as infants. Soy formula did not work either, as the same with me. I am lactose intolerant, however soy milk does a number on my stomach as well. My now 6-month old son went through a few formulas before we settled for Similac Sensitive which was a lactose-free, milk-based formula... To make a long story short, there is a milk-based lactose-free MILK made and is in the same section as the rice milk and soy milk. It has the EXACT same taste as milk, minus the lactose. A try so that you don't have to add extra sugar or hide the taste of soy and just a thought for you to try, as it has the same vitamins, etc. Also, 2 of the 3 older children no longer have a sensitivity to regular milk. We go through 8 gallons of regular milk a week and 2 gallons of lactose free milk. I hope you get this figured out! Best of luck to your family... L.

At a year old, he probably still needs milk for the calcium and for the calories. We put ovaltine or malted milk in my daughter's milk and she likes it better. If you can't get him to take anything, or it is all tough on his system, you should talk to the doc about an alternative. Mine was going to put my daughter back on formula if I couldn't get her to take the milk. Ovaltine is what worked.


D., I have to say my son was breastfeed until 16mths, and i tried everything, we soon found out he has a milk allergy and he hated soymilk.. but my sister called me and said to try getting very vanilla soymilk and add a bit of sugar to it, and voila.. he begin drinking the milk.. he has loved his milk ever since.. so I learned my milk apparently was very sweet... but eventually i took away the additional sugar and sweetened soymilk... but hey its worth a try..

Hi D.

My daughter didn't drink alot of milk if any. I found that she liked yogort, So i use to give the the drinkable yogarts and gave that to her. One in morning and one at night so she'll get her calcume.
Good Luck.

Add Ovaltine to the milk to flavor it with the chocolate maybe. That is the only way my six year old drinks milk. As for V8, the V8 Fusion is good. My 2 1/2 year old drinks it. He likes the Blueberry/Pomegranite the best.
Also, yogurt, cottage cheese, regular cheese, etc are other sources of Calcium. Also, Rhinocalicum gummies are good. Or maybe Tums that are Tropical flavored.

Is it that his system can't handle the milk, or he just doesn't like the taste of it? If it's that his body can't digest it, I'd talk to the doctor about other alternatives. If it's just the taste, could you try mixing a tiny dab of chocolate or strawberry flavoring to it? Or, maybe try yogurt as an alternative? Did you heat his formula? If so, maybe try heating the milk the same way you did the formula, heating a little less each time he gets it until he's used to getting it cold.

As for juice, he doesn't sound like he's getting too much of that. Just make sure it's the 100% natural juice. My kids always like Juicy Juice. My nephew has milk allergies, and my sister gave him the calcium fortefied orange juice. He's 19 now, but it helps him get the calcium he needs and he's had it since he was a baby.

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