21 answers

2 Year Old Won't Drink Milk Anymore

We stopped, cold-turkey, giving our 2.5 year old daughter a baby bottle and now she won't drink any milk at all! She went from about 4 to 5 cups of milk a day to none. It's been almost two weeks now and although she's eating more and drinking more water I really want her to drink some milk too! I think she's lost some weight too but that could just be my own paranoia. Perhaps cold turkey wasn't the best strategy but what is done is done and I hesitate to give in and let her have it back. We tried taking her to the market and letting her pick out her own sippy cup, that didn't work. We tried explaining that the bottles needed to go to the babies, she didn't buy that either. Any moms out there have a similar story or advice? We could use it!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Often as they get older the Milk has to be really cold. Also, pick up some fun things to add maybe Ovaltine or something else which may be healther. If she doesn't like it try Silk brand "Soy Milk" they have vanilla and regular she might like that better. My son loves it. Oh one more thing, use other things as well for Calcium. They have Orange Juice with Calcium etc. They also have a Calcium powder you can add to drinks. Good luck!

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i think at 2 they only need 12 oz of milk, the rest should be water. What i did with my daughter was made a smoothie every morning. I did 8 oz yogurt and 4 oz fruit/veg. With that she had more then 1/2 her milk taken care of and half her fruit/veg for the day.
Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Often as they get older the Milk has to be really cold. Also, pick up some fun things to add maybe Ovaltine or something else which may be healther. If she doesn't like it try Silk brand "Soy Milk" they have vanilla and regular she might like that better. My son loves it. Oh one more thing, use other things as well for Calcium. They have Orange Juice with Calcium etc. They also have a Calcium powder you can add to drinks. Good luck!

Don't stress yourself out she will get over it. You could put it in a sippy cup with just a bit of strawberry or chocolate mix. Just make sure she is eating yogurt or cheese to get her dairy if she won't drink it.

I had a similar experience, but I stopped my daughter w/ the bottle at 1 year and 5 mos because I didn't want her teeth to decay. After she stopped the bottle, she refused to drink milk on her sippy cup. Instead of stressing about it (I stress a lot!), I would just feed her food that she can eat w/ milk such as cereal, oatmeal, yogurt several times a day. I talked to her pediatrician about it and he said that it was fine that she has milk that way. In fact, my daughter has beautiful, white and healthy teeth as she gets enough milk. Don't worry about her not drinking milk just as long as she eats food that you can add milk.

Good luck!

As long as she is eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes other sources of calcium - certain veggies, yogurt, cheese, etc - don't worry about her milk consumption. At 2 1/2, the fact that her diet included 4-5 cups of milk a day was a little overkill as it is: children of her age shouldn't be drinking that much milk during the day anyway, as she should be filling her tummy with healthful food instead of all of that unnecessary fat in milk. Its GOOD that she is eating more and drinking more water - she should be drinking mostly water, and filling up on food at mealtime as opposed to milk. Children also don't need to drink juice either, so try to refrain from starting on that habit now too.

Offer her one cup of milk a day in a sippy cup ONLY - if she can drink water from one, she can also drink milk from it. If she chooses not to drink it, don't worry about it, she doesn't need the dietary fat any longer - in fact, it is commonly believed in the medical world that both type 2 childhood diabetes and pediatric diabetes in general has a VERY strong connection to over-consumption of milk (not dairy products) past age 1.

Hi A.-

I didn't have your problem exactly but I think my advice might help. My daughter is 2-1/2 as well and doesn't get a lot of vegetables. I turned to "Pediasure". I have her drink that mixed with milk, this way she is getting all of the nutrients she needs and is getting her milk. She also didn't like the taste of regular milk either, so I killed two birds with one stone. Milk is very constipating too, which is definitly an issue of ours.....the Vanilla flavored Pediasure comes with extra fiber.

Good luck!

B., 28
Mother of 2-1/2 year old little girl & 2 week old little boy

Don't worry about the milk, but don't go back to the bottle!!! If she is losing weight, it's probably ok, milk does have considerably more calories than water.

Well A.,
Everything that happens with our kids seems so much more magnified that it normally would with someone else's kids. I've been an offender, too! However, At 2 1/2 years, it really is okay for her to take a break from milk. She'll start taking it again in her own time. Meanwhile, if she's getting dairy in other things, cheese (kids usually LOVE cheese..especially string cheese for a snack), grilled cheese sandwiches, yogurt etc, and veggies with Vitamin D in it, there's not a thing to worry about. I would continue to offer it to her however you choose (I like straw cups myself), there's no worry. She'll come back to milk when she's ready. Besides, summer is comming and it's better for them to push the water most of the time in the heat, anyway. Kids don't get near enough water. Pedialyte or Gatorade are good, too. But the main thing is sticking to your decision and not giving up. If you cave, even one time, you've set yourself back years. I went cold turkey with my kids, too, and believe it or not, they're perfectly fine today! Except for the sibbling rivally that I wish there was a magic pill for! Anyway, try not to stress about it. It's normal and kids won't let themselves get low on anything. Their bodys tell them what they're low on and they usually correct it themselves. God Bless.

If you are really desperate for her to drink milk, why not try and add some Nestles Quick or Carnation Instant Breakfast for flavor? Just a small amount....maybe that will get her to try it!

Dear A.,
Your little one will be fine. Just make sure she gets plenty of dairy in other forms such as yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.
My son wouldn't drink milk unless it had ice cubes in it. He still prefers it that way. Whatever works!

i dont think you have worry about the milk cause my daughter was 16 months when she gave up the milk and i was so worried but the doctor said just find other things to give her that have the same vitamins in it. like cheese and yogurt orange juice. i understand i freaked out cause i thought she was too young to be giving up milk! i hope this you. also just talk to your doctor.

I had the same exact thing happen with my now 28th month old when he turned 2 years old. He refused milk--went from loving milk to hating it.

I changed his snack to bananas and plain yogurt to get calcium in him and I added milk to his oatmeal every morning. Just recently I dscovered that he likes "mommy's watery milk"--non-fat milk. He still won't drink full fat or low fat milk, but I usually can get at least 4 ounces of non-fat milk in him.

Friends have suggested adding chocolate to the milk to get him to drink more, but I decided that wasn't the route I wanted to take. If your daughter is losing weight, that may be a good route for you.

Oh, one more thing--My son LOVES smoothies like mango, milk and yogurt blended and served with a straw--that is another way to get some high calorie calcium in!

Good luck!

Our children are allergic to milk and have done fine w/o it. I wouldn't worry. There are many other better sources of calcium, such as spinach or even cheese is better than milk. Humans are the only species that continue to give milk to adults. All other animals stop giving milk to their young once they are a few yrs old and are eating solid food. Best!

I am 57, and my 87 year old mother still worries because I don't drink milk, and because I don't insist that my kids drink milk. She refuses to believe that many people, African Americans and Asians, in particular, are lactose-intolerant to some degree, and that my African American sons get upset stomachs if they drink milk. (I think it's because when my mother was little, milk and bread was about all she had to eat, and she believes that milk is the perfect food.) In reality, though, not everyone thrives on milk! Your daughter may have a slight allergy to milk. You could try soy milk, or you could try the lactose-free milk, or just give her water in her bottle. And if she's losing weight, it's probably not because she's not drinking milk. If she keeps losing weight, you might want to check with her pediatrician, but generally, if a child needs to gain weight, they'll eat more food, milk or no milk.

My son did the same at about age three. Just give her other milk products: cheese, yogurt, ice cream, yogurt drink with whole milk/fruits you can prepare yourself, etc.

It's not the milk we need, it's the vitamins and nutrients within. My little ones take a multi vitamin everyday (Shaklee brand) and I dont worry about their nutrient intake. - Well, obviously I worry, but with the protien and vitamins, I know they are getting what they need regardless of specific food intake.

I gave up milk myself as a 3 year old--one of my first memories is pouring a glass of the stuff, newly disgusting, down the sink. If it's calcium you're concerned about it's found in many foods:


My pediatrician told me that despite all the hoopla about calcium, those with deficiencies are most often adolescents. I think we are fine without cow's milk ;)


We went cold turkey too with my son when he was 18 months old. Per a friend who's also a pediatrician, we didn't give him any liquids except for milk in a sippy cup or cups with straws. She said his survival instinct would kick in eventually and he would drink the milk. It took 3 days, but he eventually drank the milk. It was hard on me, because he would sign "water", "juice" and "thirsty" to me constantly, but I only offered him the milk in non-bottle containers.

In the meanwhile, you can give her calcium in other forms, yogurt, cereal with milk, and cheese.

Good luck and stay strong!

I transitioned from the bottle to a NUBY sippy cup. It has the soft nipple like a bottle but looks like a sippy cup. The hard plastic on traditional sippy cups are very different feeling then drinking from a bottle, so the NUBY helped bridge the gap for us. I think you can get them almost anywhere, I know I bought them at Rite Aid.

Good Luck,J.

Though we had the opposite problem with my son (drank TOO MUCH milk), we got some info from the doc that you may find reassuring. The doctor said that kids that age should drink no more than 24oz. of milk a day. Too much milk can lead to poor iron absorption and less appetite for food with other important nutrients. Furthermore, he said (I'm paraphrasing) that although the American Dairy Council would like you to think otherwise, toddlers of that age DO NOT require cow's milk. Aside from the vitamin D that milk is fortified with, you can easily get the other nutrients in from other places. I don't recall what he said about replacing vitamin D (as we were trying to get our kid off milk due to low iron count and poor appetite), but I'm sure your doctor could tell you. Anyway, as someone who was brought up being forced to drink lots of milk (that I didn't like) I was really surprised to hear that from the doctor.

Both of my girls loved chocolate milk. Yes, I know some people complain about the sugar and all, but there are some syrups or powders that are low in sugar, and my girls will both drink either plain or chocolate milk now. I also substituted cheese and yogurt.

Also remember that at age 2 children start to learn what they have "control" over. And if this is child #2, they are learning faster than ever from #1. At least my second one did. It seemed like she was definitely ahead of the game.


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