13 answers

Whole Vs. Skim Milk for 18 Month Old


I give my almost 18 month old son whole milk. I feel that children need the extra fat it provides while they are still growing. For the last 3 months my sister in law keeps asking me if I have switched over to skim. She has 3 children, and usually has good advise. Am I missing something here? Should he be on skim milk? Any advise would be helpful.

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So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for so much great information!! I am so glad that my instincts were correct. My husband let my sister in law know why were are sticking with whole for now, and there has been no more talk about it.

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My 18 month old son is above the 97th percentile (off the charts) for his weight, and hi pediatrician told me not to give him skim milk for the same reasons that others have poste; the fat is essential for brain development.

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I think you should wait until at least age 2 for so many reasons!!!

I have to tell you this, because I recently changed my daughter to skim. My daughter's doctor said whole, she needs the fat and the vitamins that only whole milk provides. BUT, my daughter is in the 95th percintile range for her weight (75th for her height, so not too big a difference) and I worry for the added fat that she does not need. There is alot of organic skim milk ( 2%) that has added more vitimins, so when you do switch over, they can still get those nutrients. I think this should be your decision (not your sister in laws), unless your son's peditrician gives a better reason not to switch over.
Since I have told my daughter's dr of the change, all she has done was prescribe a vitamin suplament which she takes once a day.

Its interesting that I actually read something about this in my May issue of Parenting magazine, which I got today.

The question: My baby just turned 1, so should she be switched to: a)whole milk b)2% milk c)skim milk d)any of the above

Answer: a
The recommendation is that children need full-fat dairy until age 2 because fat is important for a young child's brain development; afterward, you can switch to 2% or skim milk. But this recommendation might be changing. Because of the high rate of childhood obesity, there's been a lot of talk in medical circles about switching to lower-fat milk sooner-and recent studies suggest it may be the way to go. "more and more people are realizing it's safe-and often healthier to do-especially if your child's weight is a concern," says Dr. Krebs. Just make sure to consult your pediatrician and watch that your child's growth stays on track. May 2008 Issue of Parenting Magazine, page 92

Okay, I feel very strongly on this. After 1 year old, a baby needs WHOLE milk.. they need the "fat" content in it for proper growth AND brain development. This "fat" content in whole milk is an intrinsic component they need in their diet. My Pediatrician emphasizes this as well. Besides, a baby should not be "dieting" at this age. They need the caloric content and fat content from whole milk for development, not to mention the nutrients.

If anything, just check with your Pediatrician. Do what is best for YOUR child, per your doctor, per your own child's health history and needs.

Just my opinion. Other's may differ, but whole milk is needed for children under 2 years old. Or even older. Do a Google search as well, or check with the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Good luck and you are wise to ask this question.
Take care,

Whole milk for your baby. I had read somewhere that babies' systems can't handle digesting low-fat or non-fat milk, because the protein to fat ratio is too high.

The watered down taste might be a problem?

Whole Milk, they need the fat to help their brains grow and develop, I know that it states till 2 but I've heard up to 4 as well.


I have been told by our pediatrician the same thing as the previous answer. They need whole milk until they turn 2. You can switch to whatever you want after that. They need the extra fat for brain development. If you have a concern please call your pediatrician. Tell your sister in law to mind her own business lol. I know it's hard to do, but I with I could do the same sometimes with my family. Good luck!


Babies don't Diet. If you baby is having 'weight' issues your doctor would have said something by now. For generations children drank whole milk and they were/are healthy active. Its good for them. More adults should drink it also, its just that too many adults sit at desk and computers than being active so they get fat. Whole milk is good for children. If all else fails ASK YOUR DOCTOR if you have concerns. They are trained and know your child.

Your sister in law means well, but probably doesn't realise how much a young child NEEDS that extra fats and stuff in the whole milk for proper brain development. I know moms that do everything the best they can for their kids, but ignore that fact, even though a doctor will tell them that as well. Heck, my doctors have always said to give it to them until they are five or older. My husband and I drink it as well, but we also don't drink a lot of sodas and fruit juices in our house. (crystal light rules here)
If you want, talk to your doctor about it, and see if he has any information you could show her about it.

My 18 month old son is above the 97th percentile (off the charts) for his weight, and hi pediatrician told me not to give him skim milk for the same reasons that others have poste; the fat is essential for brain development.

Don't switch yet- you can switch to 2% (NOT skim, kids shouldn't drink skim until grade school or later, depending on their body type) when he turns two since he doesn't need to gain any weight, but kids need the fat and cholesterol in whole milk for brain development. If you were to look at the amount that your child eats every day (and how much milk) you would see that he probably doesn't get that much fat due to normal toddler preferences- most don't eat much meat yet and mostly eat crackers, other grains, veggies, and fruits- you would see why toddlers need milk. Don't do it! If you're concerned with the fat, remember you should only be offering about 12oz of milk a day- about 1/2 a cup a meal. I only offer milk at meal times- the rest of the time she has to drink water. My own 19 month old is also in the 95th percentile, but there is no reason to be concerned about her weight. I would look at other areas of his diet if you are- toddlers don't eat much, so you have to make sure that nearly every bite is nutritious, and by nutritious I don't mean "reduced fat" versions of fatty foods. They need whole grains, lean meats, cheese, and lots of fresh fruits and veggies. And I can't state enough how unneccessary juice is for kids!

No you're not missing anything. Whole milk is ALWAYS best for your baby. It has all the vitamins and nutrients and FAT that a baby needs. Skim milk is not recommended for children PERIOD. Skim milk is for grown ups.

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