Q: After trying for 6 months, my 2-year old daughter refuses to drink milk or eat yogurt. I’m worried that she’s missing out on nutrients by not drinking milk. Can you please let me know what the impact of her not drinking milk is and provide some suggestions as to what I should be providing her via vitamins and/or food to make up for any deficiencies?
A: The most important nutrients in milk are calcium and vitamin D. Milk also has potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A and B vitamins but those are not difficult to find in other foods. At age 2 your daughter only needs 500mg of calcium daily. Because 1.5 oz of cheese contains 300mg, 2 ounces of cheese would almost get her there. See this list for nondairy sources of calcium.
You can also try fortified orange juice and smoothies with yogurt/milk. But because your daughter is only a toddler, I would continue to offer her milk with meals and with her cereal. When she gets older her calcium needs will go up and dairy is a great way to help her meet her needs.
Even kids who drink milk may not get enough vitamin D so talk to her pediatrician about supplementing with vitamin D ( 400IU). I like the Carlson D drops because you can just put it in food or drink and it has no taste.
I plan to talk more about the calcium needs of kids and adults in my upcoming “Nutrients Even Healthy Kids Miss” series.
The information on this site is for educational purposes only and does not take the place of medical advice. Please verify with your healthcare provider.