When Should Kids Switch to Skim Milk?

When Should Kids Switch to Skim Milk?

I know that at some point kids should drink skim milk as part of a low-fat diet. But what's the right age to switch kids from whole milk to skim milk?
- Sheila

Breast milk is the food of choice for at least the first year or beyond. Cow's milk should be avoided until after kids reach their first birthday.

Babies and toddlers need fat in their diets for a variety of reasons, including neurological development. So it's usually recommended that kids 1 to 2 years old drink whole milk (although the American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] says that kids at risk of becoming overweight can be switched to lower-fat milk before turning 2). Then, if their growth is steady, it's safe to switch to low-fat or skim milk.

Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your child's growth or nutritional needs.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: July 2013





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.





Bookmark and Share

Related Resources
Web SiteNational Center for Nutrition and Dietetics Offering nutrition information, resources, and access to registered dietitians.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
Web SiteChooseMyPlate.gov ChooseMyPlate.gov provides practical information on how to follow the U.S. government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It includes resources and tools to help families lead healthier lives.
Web SiteMilk Matters: Calcium Education from the National Institutes of Health Milk Matters is a public health education campaign launched by the National Institutes of Health to promote calcium consumption among tweens and teens, especially during the ages of 11 to 15, a time of critical bone growth.
Related Articles
Mouth and Teeth Our mouth and teeth play an important role in our daily lives. Here's a course on the basics - including common problems of the mouth and teeth.
Feeding Your 1- to 2-Year-Old Toddlers have little tummies, so serve foods that are packed with the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong, and limit the sweets and empty calories.
Calcium and Your Child Milk and other calcium-rich foods help build strong, healthy bones. But more than 85% of girls and 60% of boys don't get enough calcium each day.
Lactose Intolerance Many kids have lactose intolerance - trouble digesting lactose, the main sugar in milk and milk products - which can cause cramps, diarrhea, and gas.
Healthy Drinks for Kids What kids drink can drastically affect the amount of calories consumed, as well as the amount of calcium needed to build strong bones.
Does Skim Milk Provide the Same Nutrients as Whole Milk? Find out what the experts have to say.
Nutrition Guide for Toddlers While growth slows somewhat during the toddler years, it's a new era where kids will eat and drink more independently.
iGrow iGrow
Sign up for our parent enewsletter