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Q&A: Is it OK to use powdered milk for a 1-year old?

Let me start by saying I’m glad you mentioned that your child is 1 year of age, as the current recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics is to hold off on the introduction of cow’s milk until 1 year of age. Once children turn 1, however, milk (and milk products) do have their dedicated place on the USDA’s MyPlate (OK—not on the plate, but right next to it), and stand to play a very important role in young children’s diets.

Usually when I’m asked about what type of milk is OK to serve toddlers, it relates to the question of vitamin D (whole) milk versus reduced-fat milk. In this case, the answer is relatively straightforward, in that whole milk is recommended for most toddlers between the ages of 1 and 2, while kids 2 and older can be switched to low-fat (1 percent) or fat-free (skim) milk. Both of these types of milk offer the same amount of important nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, but with less saturated fat and calories. Powdered milk, however, is not mentioned in any of the standard pediatric/nutrition recommendations I’m aware of. And from what I understand about the composition of powdered milk, it seems that it typically consists of nonfat milk. If this is the case, then it would be safe to say that giving it to a child under the age of 2 would go against current recommendations (i.e. whole milk until the age of 2). Even once children turn 2 and skim (or low-fat) milk is recommended, I would be sure to double check with your pediatrician that there aren’t any other important nutritional differences between regular cow’s milk and powdered milk.

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