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Breaking My Daughter of Her Milk Habit

First we heard it from our pediatrician. Then we heard it from Mazzy’s dentist. Drinking too much milk is not a good thing.

For one thing, Mazzy is not a big eater and obviously if we keep giving her milk every time she asks, she’s not going to be that hungry for dinner. Plus the dentist said that kids can get cavities from too much milk just like they can from drinking soda.

The pediatrician recommended no more than 18-24oz. a day. My guess is that Mazzy was drinking more in the neighborhood of 32oz. but on some days, when it seemed like she couldn’t be satisfied any other way, probably much more. Granted, it was skim milk and often even further watered down, but it was still not healthy for her to be dependent on milk for sustenance and comfort instead of looking towards a more varied diet.

Our first attempts to cut back on milk failed.

Mazzy is fed by three different people— me, my husband and our nanny, so we needed to better monitor how much each of us was giving a day. Plus, because we had no official system in place, Mazzy had no way of knowing when we would allow her milk and when we would not— it all must have seemed incredibly arbitrary and unfair to a two-year-old.

That’s when we instituted a simple chart.

The back of our front door is a chalk board, so I drew the chart in the photo up top. Each time someone fed Mazzy a cup of milk, the person checked one of three boxes.

It took Mazzy a grand total of two days before she caught on to the new system and stopped asking for as much milk. At first, it seemed like she was weary of using up all her milk checks too early in the day. But soon, it became clear that by drinking less milk, it had become less top of mind for her as well.

It’s now been about three weeks and we have totally cured Mazzy of her milk habit. She still wants it to feel comforted when she wakes up in the morning but she will never ask for a refill. And then she usually asks one other time per day.

The best part is we’ve noticed her appetite growing for real food, which has made meal times much less of a battle.

Read more of Ilana’s writing at Mommy Shorts. 
And don’t miss a post! Follow Ilana on Twitter and Facebook!

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