Toddler drinks

It is ideal for children to be breastfed until 1 year or longer. After 1 year, most children can drink cow’s milk. Homogenised (standard) milk is the best type of cow’s milk for them.

It’s ideal if you can keep breastfeeding your baby for one year or more. For most babies, you can start using cows’ milk after they turn 1. The homogenised milk (that comes with the dark-blue lid) is the best type of cows’ milk for toddlers.

Milk for toddlers

Lighter, reduced-fat milks don’t have enough fat for toddlers. You can consider other milks after their second birthday.

Toddlers need to drink about two cups of milk a day (500mls). However, if they drink too much milk they might not eat enough, because milk is filling. It can be good to offer the milk at the end of meals - and water between meals.

Other drinks

Apart from milk, water is the only other drink really recommended for toddlers. Because they love to copy you, you can encourage your child by drinking water yourself.

It’s best to avoid:

  • flavoured milks
  • Milo
  • fruit juice
  • fizzy drinks
  • tea
  • coffee
  • cola drinks.

These are high in sugar and can cause teeth problems.  Some of these drinks can also reduce the amount of iron children’s bodies can absorb and so can make children anaemic (not having enough iron in their body). Iron is important for growth, brain development, and energy.

Never give alcohol to children. It can seriously harm them.

Changing from a bottle to a cup

If your baby is drinking from a bottle, when they’re about 1 year old can be a good time to change to drinking from a cup instead.

Many toddlers enjoy drinking water and milk from feeding cups, and often like using straws.

Cups are good because toddlers tend to drink less than from a bottle and so they eat better.

But remember, toddlers need about two cups worth of milk a day.

If your toddler refuses to drink milk from a cup, they can get the calcium and other nutrients that come in milk from some foods instead—and also by having their milk on cereal. Foods that can give toddlers the calcium they need include cheese, yoghurt, custards and milk substitutes such as soy, that have calcium added.

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