Parenting Tips /

3 Questions Parents Have about Milk

#1 Do my children still need growing-up milk now that they are eating solid food?

Milk is a good source of nutrients, especially calcium, vitamin D and protein. Calcium and vitamin D are essential for the development of strong, healthy teeth, while protein helps to support optimal development of strong, healthy muscles. Therefore, regular drinking of milk helps your child meet the recommended daily intake of these nutrients.

Furthermore, regular milk drinking helps your child build enough calcium during childhood and adolescence, which will reduce the risk of bone diseases such as osteoporosis developing later in life.

Recognizing this, the Ministry of Health Malaysia recommends giving your child two to three servings of milk and dairy products every day. Growing up milk is one simple way to meet this recommendation. Just serve a glass with your child’s breakfast, and another as a nutritious snack time drink!

#2 Is it true that cow’s milk contains hormones that can be dangerous to my child’s health?

Not true. Normal, healthy cows produce a growth hormone, bovine somatotropin (BST) which helps support milk production. There are numerous studies conducted in the US which show that this BST has little to no impact on human health – it only works on cows.

Furthermore, cow’s milk undergoes a series of processing in order to be made into milk powder, and during the heating stage called pasteurization, about 90% of the BST present in the milk is destroyed. The rest is easily and safely digested by the body with no side effects. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that BST can cause early puberty or other unwanted side effects.

#3 If my child is lactose intolerant, should he or she avoid milk completely?

Interestingly, research found that lactose-intolerant people who consume milk and dairy products regularly develop stronger tolerance for lactose over time. Considering the benefits of milk to a child’s growth and development, it may be good to talk to your child’s paediatrician or dietitian if you have a lactose intolerant child. He or she can advise you on how to allow your child to still safely and comfortably enjoy the nutritional benefits of a growing up milk.

This article was originally published in the May 2017 issue of HealthToday.