A: By the time children are two years old, they should be consuming around two cups of dairy products a day, which might include a mixture of milk, cheese, yogurt or pudding made with milk. Milk is a good source of calcium and other minerals, as well as vitamins A, D, and B12. Up to the age of two years, children generally need to consume whole milk, because normal brain development requires sufficient dietary fat. After the age of two, most children are ready to switch to either reduced fat milk (either 1 percent or 2 percent fat), since by this time they’ve typically got other sources of fat in their diets.
My oldest son loved milk, and I had a really hard time getting him to drink anything else. Because he drank so much and because he didn’t need the extra calories, I gave him reduced fat milk as soon as he turned two. But my middle son didn’t drink nearly as much milk and he was a very thin toddler, so I gave him whole milk until he was much older. Since every child is different, it’s always wise to check with your pediatrician if you think your child is drinking too much milk or not enough.