Refusing milk

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A glass of milk

Cows' milk capers

Say cheese! Refusing milk? Once solids have been introduced, some babies go off milk altogether. But it's not enough to swap to water or juice. Your baby still needs the calcium, fat and vitamins A and D that are provided by a pint a day of full-fat milk or formula.

Fortunately, lots of milk-less monsters will cheerfully chomp on cheese. Sticks of Cheddar make a great early finger food provided no dairy intolerances have been discovered. For many frustrated parents, smothering vegetables in a cheese sauce is a great way to smuggle in a few greens. Unsalted butter is handy for making mashed potato or padding out scrambled egg and toast.

For little ones with a sweet tooth, pots of fromage frais have saved many a mum's sanity. A baby may even go back to drinking milk if it contains a touch of something else, such as mashed banana or crushed strawberries.

However, whether through dislike or dietary necessity, some babies simply don't do dairy. You can provide your child with protein and fat by giving him fish, eggs and meat. Protein can also be found in tofu, chickpeas and wholegrain pasta, all of which can be cooked into soft first foods, as well as being the basis for more interesting meals later on.

You can buy fortified juices and water, but the calcium you get in milk is also found in green vegetables. Green veg and small children aren't always the best of friends so it may prove difficult to introduce this essential mineral in this way.

Eliminating dairy can mean a few essential vitamins and minerals are missing, so a supplement may be required. As with any restrictive diet and very small children, it's important to discuss this with your GP.

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