23 answers

How Much Milk Does a 16 Month Old Need?

I have 16 month old triplet boys. They are still drinking out of a bottle. I have been have difficulty getting them to learn to hold their own bottle, let alone get used to useing a sippy cup. I attributed this to their prematurity, born 2 months early, but I think they should have caught up by now. Anyway, my husband and I feed them 3 meals a day, with an 8 ounce bottle of whole milk after each meal. Plus another bottle before bed, and if they wake up at night we offer more milk. I think that during the day we don't need to give them so much milk. They don't have to finish their bottles. If they take a few ounces, then that's OK. We can offer more later. But my husband wants them to finish or get down to about 2 ounces. What is correct? How much milk do they need?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Well, I called their Dr. and he told me 16 oz. of milk at a minimum, and that's if they aren't eating that well...so they won't be filled up on milk, and 32 oz. at a max. if they are eating well. So, it turns out that what my husband and I are doing was right all along. We know our babies, and we trust their Dr. He is a specialist in neonatology as well, so he had tremendous experience with preemies, which of course my boys were.

Featured Answers

Do you really want to start enforcing food intake now?

Also what kind of milk? If you are giving them homogenized, pasterized milk please go to WestonPrice Foundation and get info on why they may not want to drink this, and why you may want them to & to re think this"food" option. Maybe try them on barley milk- easier to digest and so much better for them.
Best of luck,k

Congrats first of all on the triplet boys! Wow! I have twin boys and couldn't imagine 3 of them.
On the milk thing, I was told at 14 months that they were to only have 2 cups a day of milk or it would cause them iron defiency. So the pediatrician recommended a cup in the morning, in a bottle or sippy cup, and one before bed.
I hope this helps.
Enjoy them, they grow up way too fast.

More Answers

Congrats on keeping it together with triplets!

How much milk do they need? None. Cows milk is for baby cows just like our breast milk is for human babies. The proteins, etc are not correctly balanced for a human diet. Confused as the charts say you need milk? Look at the back of the charts or the bottom, see who makes them, the dairy council. Hmmmmmmmm makes you think.
Dairy is what causes most illness, allergies, etc. It creates cancers, tumors, growths, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, obesity, constipation, acne, arthritis, anemia, ADD, Autism, depression, kidney stones and even diabetes. Check out a site: www.notmilk.com Concerned about calcium? There are many many healthy ways to get calcium that is not going to destroy your body. Sesame seeds (give your sons some beans whipped in a blender with some tahini and a bit of sea salt and lemon juice they get protein and calcium and vit c all in one. Here is an interesting link:
other natural sources of calcium are collards, tofu, orange juice, bok choy, broccoli and almonds (think almond butter).
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with the mom that said the answer to how much cow's milk a baby human NEEDS equals zero. Humans are the only animal who drinks milk past weaning, and the only animal that drinks another animal's milk. I don't think there is anything horribly wrong with cow's milk-- I just don't find it necessary to stress over how much your child drinks. My daughter drinks zero, my oldest son only drinks chocolate milk, and my youngest only drinks a bit of it occasionaly and sometimes with cereal. My husband and I drink none. We are just not a big milk drinking family and just never have been. As long as you offer a well balanced diet from all of the food groups, you don't need to stress about milk intake at all. As a matter of fact, they should start drinking more water. They need to stay hydrated in the Florida heat, and they need water for zillions of other reasons to keep their bodies healthy.

1 mom found this helpful

Congrats first of all on the triplet boys! Wow! I have twin boys and couldn't imagine 3 of them.
On the milk thing, I was told at 14 months that they were to only have 2 cups a day of milk or it would cause them iron defiency. So the pediatrician recommended a cup in the morning, in a bottle or sippy cup, and one before bed.
I hope this helps.
Enjoy them, they grow up way too fast.

Milk is usually considered to be very good for you, and it is a good source of protein, fat, and calcium, at least for those children who don't have a milk protein allergy or lactose intolerance. But you can get too much of a good thing.

Infants and toddlers who drink much more than 16-24 ounces of milk each day can have problems with constipation, but the biggest problem is usually all of the extra calories that they are getting from the milk they are drinking. These extra calories usually either cause a child to be full and not want to eat many other nutritious foods and become underweight, or if they are still eating well, then all of the extra calories can lead to their becoming overweight.

Consider that he is drinking 32 to 48 ounces of milk each day, which at 19 calories per ounce, means that he is getting about 600 to 900 calories just from milk. And that is 1/2 to 2/3 of the estimated 1300 calories that a toddler needs each day.

Plus if your child also drinks a lot of juice, he could be getting almost all of the calories he needs from the milk and juice he is drinking, even though that wouldn't provide him with the right mix of fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

Another big problem is that toddlers who drink too much milk are often at risk for iron deficiency anemia. This is usually because milk doesn't have any iron in it, and because if they fill up on milk, then they don't eat many other foods with iron either.

I recently saw a toddler with severe iron deficiency anemia, who ended up requiring a blood transfusion, and the problem ended up being that he was drinking too much milk and not eating enough healthy foods.

(Taken from Vincent Iannelli, M.D.)

Considering that they are 16 months old AND eating solid meals, I'm wondering why your husband feels they MUST drink more milk than they want. Does anyone eat or drink more of anything once they are full? At 16 months of age, your babies can tell the difference between being full and thirsty ~~ or not. Let your babies decide if they want more milk. IF they want more, they will drink. I don't have any experience with premature babies but I'd say they should be on a sippy cup and not a bottle, regardless of whether or not they were born premature. They will learn if you take the time to teach them so begin encouraging it now. Be patient and they will learn.

And as for your husband, ask him to eat one more bite once he is full and that should be enough to convince him that his sons know when they are full too. Also, as for getting up during the night, I would not offer milk during the night at all. At 16 months, they should be sleeping through the night and IF they wake up during the night, they should be offered water only. And, once they are accustomed to the sippy cup, I'd offer that water in a sippy cup so they will have nothing exciting to look forward to during the night...and that alone should encourage them to sleep through the night.
Good luck.

From what I remember when my daughter was that age, it's 16 - 20 ounces a day. Good luck!!

They will stop when they're full. You shouldn't give them milk when they wake up at night or they'll get used to it and then that's the only way they'll fall back asleep. Better to let them go back to bed without anything so they can be extra hungry in the morning and eat more food and less milk. Too much milk isn't good.


I think each baby is different so it is difficult to say how much they 'should' be getting. By the time my dd was 16 months old she was having an 8oz sippy of milk with breakfast plus milk in her cereal or oat meal, and an 8oz sippy with her evening meal. From about 5 months old I only every gave her her milk with her evening meal never one before bed..

Good luck.


Age 12-24 months: 16 ounces minimum, 20 ounces max. Sounds like you are giving them a bit much. I would cut out the nighttime bottles altogether, and cut back to two bottles during the day. Don't worry about the sippies, IMO a bottle is still fine at that age.

Thats is definatly too much milk......It should be less than 22 oz. a day. Usually between 16 -22 oz. I would suggest stopping the midnight snack bottles....lol. If they wake up and are crying, try giving them water. They most likely will cry for the milk for a few nights, but once the realize that all you are going to give them is water they should start sleeping through the night.
Good luck, this, in my opinion, is one of the harder things to drop( bottles) b/c lets face it ....who wants to hear their babies cry:( Just remeber you are doing the right thing and they will be ok.

Do you really want to start enforcing food intake now?

Also what kind of milk? If you are giving them homogenized, pasterized milk please go to WestonPrice Foundation and get info on why they may not want to drink this, and why you may want them to & to re think this"food" option. Maybe try them on barley milk- easier to digest and so much better for them.
Best of luck,k

Hi, D.:

My response is like some others - 16oz is about what they should have, with a max at 20 oz. This is due to calcium's interference with iron; if there is too much calcium, iron absorption is inhibited and anemia can occur (which is nothing you want to deal with - trust me - esp with triplets). I am also one for not giving milk with a meal. Milk should really be given at snack times because it will fill them up and they won't be getting full from the food, but milk. Try adjusting their milk consumption and only giving them milk at "snack times." If they wake at night, there is no reason for them to have any milk. If they MUST have something, only give them a few sips of water. At their age, they can afford a lot of water consumption throughout the day. Are they on any vitamin/food product supplement? You may want to consider one, especially right now (google Juice Plus).

Also, my daughter had no issue going from bottle to sippy cup once we found the RIGHT sippy cup! She tried ALL of them and didn't like any, until I tried one with a straw :) She LOVES that cup! I think the cup we use is by Munchkin and says 18+ months, but she was around 11-12months when she started using it.

I've been told that they should have between 16-20 oz per day after they turn 1 year old. That is so they don't fill up on milk and are too full to eat more calorie rich foods. I offered my son water or watered down juice at other times. I also stopped giving the nighttime milk around 1 year. A good rule of thumb if you can stop the milk at night is if they wake up in the middle of the night hungry then they probably aren't hungry.
Don't sweat it too much, sounds like you have your hands full. Good luck.

I just got a feeding chart and your children should only be drinking 16 oz a day. And no milk at bedtime or nap, only water. If you have anymore questions I can tell you what is recommended!

For starters some boys never hold their bottles. They just one day refuse to drink from them.
I wouldn't worry to much about how much milk they are drinking if they are getting calcium and vitamins in other foods. Every child is different. I have seven brothers and my Mom said to tell you that they will drink what they need. If they aren't drinking it then they don't need it.
My girlfriend that's a nurse said that there are a lot of babies that never hold their bottle. She she also said they will drink what they need but to make sure the foods you are feeding them are healthy foods and not junk foods. Give them finger foods...

Hope this info helps.

They only really need about 16-24oz per day, less if they eat well and their diet contains other sources of calcium and fat and Vitamin D.

Have you tried different types of sippy cups? When my daughter was learning to use a sippy cup she had the most success with very soft spouted cups, like the Avent or Nuby brands, and also with straw type sippy. I'd put water in the cup and just have it in her general vicinity whenever she was playing. She'd pick it up and gnaw on various ends and eventually discovered how to hold it so that she could get the water out. Now she can drink out any type of sippy.

I'm not sure what you could try to help the to hold their own bottles beyond physically clasping their own hands around the bottle and showing them how to hold it up. It's possible that they just enjoy the cuddles and choose not to hold it by themselves!

I remember our pediatrician recommending 16-24 ounces per day. If you think they aren't getting quite that much, maybe try to get them to drink some milk with their meal instead of only afterward when they are full? I know this creates more work for you since you said they can't really do it on their own, but maybe set it on the table beside their plate (or on their high chair tray - whatever you use) and if they are thirsty, maybe they'll take some initiative to try? Good luck! Oh, and don't give milk in the middle of the night or at bedtime unless you are brushing their teeth afterward. Causes tooth decay.

Wow triplet... congratulations :)

I actually read the answers to see... My son NEVER took formula or Milk so I have been pushing it for weight (mix carnation breakfast & quick in it :) If you are like me anything with calories is good (22 lbs @ 25 months)

My one tip is at bedtime- I give him a sippy (nonleaking & shaped like a bottle) & I put it in bed with him so he can drink it if he gets thirsty, Better for their teeth to have water at night & he can sip on it in the middle of the night or AM... I know you said they wont hold it - but if you aren't there- MAYBE they'll try?! Just an idea- good luck!

They are definitely getting way too much milk during the day. The amount they should be getting total is 16 oz (can be a little more but not the 32+ they are getting a day). Couple of things that I see as an outsider:
-You need to work with them on sippy cup use. Try warming the milk a bit and putting it in the cup. My 13 month old can use a straw cup if it's the Foogo straw sippy. She hasn't figure out the other straws just yet. So experiment and stick with it to see what will work for them.
-Make sure you are brushing their teeth after giving them a bottle before bed. Don't want the milk sugars sitting on their teeth
-Work on other ways to get them back to sleep rather than giving them a bottle. They are old enough that they aren't hungry most likely during the night but it a habit. Start cutting the bottle with water until it's nothing but water then be done with it all together. They need to learn how to sleep now or you'll be in for it once they are out of their cribs lol Dr. Sears has a great section on toddler sleep in The Baby Sleep Book
-Don't force them to finish or "get down to 2 ounces" They are babies and you (or your husband) don't want to start those kinds of food habits. Kids eat when they are hungry and you want them to learn to stop when they are full. There are days when my kids eat like there is no tomorrow and days they don't eat much. They won't starve. But you can teach them to overeat and that's not good.
It's a lot to do and very tiring but you guys can do it! Good luck!

At this stage they should be holding there own bottles. I know you have probably tried to do so, so keep insisting. They are suppose to have no more than 16 oz a day. My daugter who is now 2 takes a bottle to nap and to sleep.

You really need to ignore all of our comments on here and ask your pediatrician. That's the only advice that you should be following, because they know your children, and what's best for them. My daughter's pediatrician told me about 16-20 ounces a day, but no more than 20.

Wow, that's a lot of milk! They're still pooping, lol? My son (18 mos) went thru a period around 12-13 mos when we first switched over where if we gave him too much dairy in a day (not just milk, but cheese, yogurt, etc) he would get so constipated, he wouldn't poop for days. His pedi said no more than 20 oz total of DAIRY/day. So we've cut his milk intake back to 15 oz/day & he does great with it. He only gets milk just before nap & just before bed. Otherwise we give him water or juice. My son also had difficulty holding his bottle or even a sippy, but he was just stubborn, lol. He would do it if he didn't think you were looking. What finally got him to do it was daycare just refusing to hold it anymore for him, once they knew he was capable. He fought it a little, but he did it. Same thing w/sippy cups, but he had to be drinking from them for daycare by 13 mos, so we just went cold turkey. GL!

i want to say it's about 16oz of milk they need a day. my kids are HUGE mild drinkers. i've never given them a full cup or bottle because of this bc it cuts down on what they eat and also can make them constipated. mine never did juice which is ok bc of all the sugar and they're hyper enough. but i have found the flavored water that they both LOVE. but i always offered them milk whenever they wanted it and at night also. if yours are still waking up try offering them water at night instead. this will cut down on that also more than likely. but the drs told me 12-16oz if i remember correctly.

That is to much milk for 16 months.You should offer water and is it whole milk they are drinking? Water is better especially before bed. Going to bed with a bottle can cause a condition called bottle carries which the acid from the liquid they drink at night eat at their teeth.You should talk to their doctor a bout their development if they are not holding their own bottles. I understand that they were premature. They don't have to finish the bottle. Instead of bottles at dinner give them sippy cups with the 2 handles if you can find them that way it will help them have more of a control on it. You will have to aide them in using it.

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