Recently I followed a thread of parents talking about their toddlers meal timing. There was one thing that struck me: almost every parent gave their toddler milk first thing in the morning without breakfast. (The information on this post relates for toddlers over the age of one year old.) To some this may not be significant, but here is why I question this timing:
Often parents are concerned with their child’s intake and consider their kids picky eaters. If a child is full of milk, s/he is not going to want food put in front of him/her at mealtime. It doesn’t mean s/he is a picky eater, it means s/he is full.
I understand if a parent is breastfeeding a toddler still, typically, morning and evening feeds are the last feeds to go, which is also convenient if a mother has gone back to work. For those who are not breast feeding, by giving milk/formula first thing in the morning without food, you are not giving your child the opportunity to eat breakfast when the child is likely, most hungry. By the child filling up on milk first, when food is given 1-2 hours later, the child may still be full on milk and not have much room for food.
From a year of age, children can be transitioned from formula to whole milk. In Asia, there are many who continue to provide formula many years into toddler-hood. For many, there is a fear of children receiving insufficient nutrition. This is probably also the reason why many parents are providing formula/milk first thing in the morning. If you are concerned your child is a picky eater or not eating well at meals, look at the timing of the milk/formula. It may be the culprit.