Won't drink milk from cup or bottle

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14-month-old won't drink milk from cup or bottle

Nov 1999

Does anyone have advice for a 14 month old who won't drink milk from a cup or a bottle? He still breastfeeds a few times a day. I've tried whole milk, soy milk (different brands and flavors) and he doesn't seem to like any of them. (I should add too that he never was a breast milk drinker from a bottle or cup.) He does eat quite a bit of yogurt but I'd like to get him in the habit of drinking some milk. Is there some tasty flavor I could add? Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks! I just want to clarify that he will happily drink everything but milk from a cup or a bottle. It's only milk that he doesn't like. Any suggestions appreciated!

I could have written this letter! My 14 month old does not drink milk in any form either (only breastmilk). He also doesn't drink juice, but will drink two to three cups of water a day. I spoke with my pediatrician about it and she said as long as he gets breastmilk he will be fine. She said that yogurt and cheese (cottage cheese, firm, etc.) helps. Basically, the benefits to milk are that is a cheap source of protein and calcium. Well, she pointed out, he could get his calcium from fortified orange juice (I think it's fortified with the same ratio of calcium as cow's milk?). She also pointed out that it is possible to fulfill his protein needs in other ways, like meat, beans, eggs, or tofu. I guess you just have to be creative. My son no longer takes breastmilk from a bottle during the day while he's with his nanny, but he usually gets plenty of cheese and yogurt.

I have tried plain, carob, and vanilla soy and rice milk and regular cow's milk to no avail. I plan on trying again later on. I do make his cereal with fortified rice milk (since that's what we drink), so he gets some nutritional benefits that way. I know some people give chocolate milk to their toddlers (!) to get them to transition to cow's milk but that is not something I want to do.

There are studies that show that the nutritional benefits from breastmilk get more concentrated as the baby gets older and nurses less often. I don't know how exactly, but you can probably find out at www.lalecheleague.org. Good luck.

You toddler very likely doesn't really need milk. You make want to read about milk consumption for this age -- as far as I understand babies this age don't need more than 16 oz of dairy per day, which would include yogurt, cottage cheese, other cheeses, and any foods which use any of the above. If he's eating well he's probably getting all the nutrition he needs. If he's breastfeeding a couple of times a day in addition, he may be getting all he needs.

However, if you're really wanting him to have milk, you may try an herbal tea mixed with some water and milk -- I know one baby who loves drinking this mixture.

My daughter also drank almost no milk at that age. She would drink juice and water from a cup. I tried milk in both bottles and cups, but she really was not interested, so I put the bottles away (This is great now, since I'm not struggling to wean her from bottles at 18-24 months like many of my friends.) She was still nursing 1-2 times a day, and we continued to offer milk at meals. I completely weaned her at 15 months, and within days she was drinking 8-16 ounces of milk per day. She was apparently getting enough milk when breastfeeding, but when that source was gone she replaced it with whole milk. So I guess my advice is not to worry about milk consumption while you are still breastfeeding. I would provide plenty of opportunities to drink milk and other liquids from a cup so he knows how to use it (you did not say whether he drinks anything else). I would hesitate to add anything to the milk, or you may never get your son to drink plain milk.
I had this same experience with my son and short of putting all sorts of flavorings and sugar in it there was not way to get him to drink milk (and that didn't even work most of the time). I decided to give up and on his pediatrician's recommendation give him Organge juice with Calcium - he's nine now, still won't touch milk except to get his rare bowl of cereal wet, he does eat yogurt and sometimes cheese. I'm convinced milk is just not for him and his body knows it so I don't push it.