I am not drinking that

Susan posted, “My 19-month old does not like whole milk. He nursed exclusively for a year. Then I would nurse him and pump. I would mix the pumped breastmilk with whole milk for when he went to daycare. Now I am trying to wean him completely but am reluctant to because he does not like to drink anything. He still nurses when he wakes up and just before he goes to bed. I feel like I need to keep doing this so that he gets some hydration. He does not like to drink in general, only taking sips of water or juice from a sippy cup at mealtime. He has had lots of problems with constipation and I have to give him Miralax in small doses every day. I can’t force him to drink but I don’t know what to do. I have also tried soy milk and giving the milk a flavor like chocolate or strawberry. He still has no interest. Help!”

You’re going to have to take a leap of faith here: when your son is thirsty, he will drink. If he’s neurologically normal, his hypothalamus will provide him with an irresistible desire to drink when his body needs fluids. He may not drink as much as you think he needs, but he will drink enough to stay healthy.

Regarding weaning: if you like nursing, and want to continue, it’s perfectly fine to continue breastfeeding. But if you’d like to wean, and you’re only continuing to nurse because you’re worried about your son’s fluid intake, it’s time to stop. You’re not going to hurt him by weaning at this age, and you are allowed to say “no.”

Regarding “does not like whole milk,” you can try reduced-fat milk instead of whole milk for toddlers. If your child refuses that, too, than you’ll need to find another source of calcium and vitamin D. Though most children get these nutrients from milk, they’re also readily available from other dairy sources, fortified juices and vegetarian milk substitutes, and supplements.

One other point: be sure that the adults in the household are setting a good example by frequently drinking both milk and water. A good Jedi Mind Trick is for mom and dad to drink out of sippy cups for a while—and when Junior asks for mom’s cup, mom can pretend to say “no” at first. One of the best ways to get a toddler interested in something is to say, “Oh, you don’t want this. It’s Mommy’s drink!” Give “your” sippy cup to him, grudgingly, after acting like you don’t want to. Then do not watch to see how much he’ll take. Remember, if he thinks it’s important to you that he drink more, he’s not going to do it.

When he’s older, you can start to encourage a child to drink more water by talking about how it will help him do better in sports, or help keep his teeth healthy. Sometimes, getting a water cooler with spring water and those little disposable cups shaped like hats is a fun and not-too-expensive way to encourage more fluids in an older child. But for now, the bottom line is that you cannot make a child drink. Until you drop that particular rope, he’s going to win any tug-of-war you choose to fight over this issue.

Explore posts in the same categories: Behavior, Nutrition

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