Powder vs. Fresh Milk - حليب بودرة أو طازج | Mirna Sabbagh nutritionist and IBCLC in Dubai

The below video and article are written by Mirna Sabbagh.


Mirna Sabbagh, an adult and child dietitian, nutritionist, and lactation consultant. She also has several digital courses: Pregnancy Nutrition Course, breastfeeding course,  starting solids 6-12 months courseand also child nutrition for all children including picky eaters, that you can sign up for from the comfort of your home.

The courses are pre-recorded. As soon as you make the course purchase, you will receive a link to watch the course from your phone or laptop.

You can also e-mail Mirna for questions on info@mirnaelsabbagh.com

Mirna is no longer doing consultations. Her online courses and webinars cover 95% of parents common concerns. 

What does Mirna, adult and child nutritionist think about giving powdered milk after the age of 1?

Well, Mirna thinks powdered milk is expensive and definitely not needed as part of the healthy toddler's diet. Her opinion coincides with the CDC, AAP, and WHO! They all think toddler formula is not needed as part of a healthy child's diet. They even say IF you have a picky eater, you can opt for a multivitamin instead. There are much more details below.

Here is a quote directly from AAP about toddler milk:

  • Toddler milk. Toddler milks, often marketed by formula companies as "transitional" to wean from breast milk or formula, are unnecessary and potentially harmful to young children. These products contain added sugars and may fill a baby's stomach up so he or she is not hungry for healthier foods.


What should I give my child after the age of one? Powder milk (formulas) or fresh cow milk?

This is one of the most asked questions I get as a nutritionist for kids. Some parents think powdered milk is healthier and others think fresh milk is not suitable. 

The answer to this question is simple. Read the ingredients. As I read the ingredients of this particular powdered milk, I find: skimmed cow milk, vegetable oil, corn syrup, sucrose, lactose, milk fat, honey, oligofructose, calcium carbonate, emulsifier, lactobacillus, vanilla, vitamins and minerals.

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) supports this opinion and says: 

The added oils and sugars are not what a child needs at all. They can have a negative health impact on the child later on. A high sugar intake is associated with a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, and lowered immunity. Processed oils also have a negative impact on the body including increased inflammation which affects the heart and increases the risk of heart disease.

Our main objective as parts is to provide our kids with wholesome foods and to stay away from unhealthy ingredients such as sugars and processed oils.

Okay, now how about the fresh milk? What is inside?

Fresh milk contains the following ingredients: Fresh cow milk and vitamin D.

The list is very simple and free from added sugars and unhealthy oils. Please check the specific brand in the supermarket that you have.

How about the vitamins and minerals in powdered milk?

The benefit of powdered formula milk is that it has ADDED vitamins and minerals. This is great if your child's diet is missing vitamins and minerals. However, you can skip it all together and simple give a multivitamin if your child's diet is really inadequate. Below is what the AAP has to say:

There is no evidence of advantage over whole milk in terms of growth or development; head-to-head trials are needed. Because toddler formulas are significantly more expensive than whole milk, family physicians can counsel parents against routine use. Parents who remain concerned about picky eaters could be directed toward a multivitamin instead.

So you have a few options:

If your child has normal eating habits and is eating well, you can give them fresh cow's milk for the extra vitamin D it has.

If your child does not have a healthy diet and is not getting the necessary vitamins and minerals, you can give them the formula as it has these vitamins as supplements. Alternatively, you can give your child cow milk and multivitamins on the side if you wish to avoid the formula and the vegetable oil it could have.

Remember different products have different ingredients. You might also find a powdered product which only contains dehydrated cow's milk along with added vitamins and minerals only. Or a multivitamin. The most important find is to read the labels before making a choice.

At the end, it is your decision. You be the judge. Assess your child’s needs and decide accordingly!

My child has been used to dehydrated milk (formula), isn't regular cow's milk too hard to digest?

In fact, powdered formula (toddler milk) is simply dehydrated milk with added sugars or fats. So it terms of digestion, it is the same! It's the same proteins found in both but one has been dehydrated and one isn't. So there is no advantage in terms of digestions. They both have around 7g of protein per serving!

How much milk does a child need after the age of 1?

After the age of 1 it is recommended that a child does not take more than 750 ml of milk per day as it can affect his intake of other food groups and therefor his health and growth. 750 ml is an average of 3 servings (250ml cups) of milk. This is re-affirmed by the CDC, AAP, and most health organizations.

Should a toddler have full fat or skimmed cow's milk?

Toddlers who are not overweight should have full fat cow's milk as children need more fat and also the skimmed milk contains more protein which is not what the child needs. This opinion is agreed upon by most health agencies.

I would definitely recommend full fat but preferably organic milk for your child unless you notice their weight is increasing quickly and they are overweight or obese which you can check in a different article.

What is my child doesn't like cow's milk or I do not wish to give cow's milk due to the controversial opinions?

Well, after the age of 1, the only reason you really needs cow's milk is because it's a source of lots of vitamins and minerals mostly Calcium. Luckily though, a healthy toddler diet will provide the majority of the vitamins and minerals (except Calcium and Vitamin D). So, we still need 2-3 servings of calcium rich foods. Calcium rich foods such as milk contain 250 mg of calcium per day and the child needs around 750 mg.

The good news is, nowadays, almost all the milk found In the supermarket is fortified with calcium. You want to see that the milk you have such as coconut milk or almond milk or oat milk contains 250mg of calcium per cup (per 240 ml) and most of them do.

Yogurt can also serve as a calcium source giving the same amount of calcium per serving. In addition, white beans, sardines, sesame seeds, sesame paste, chia seeds, kale and salmon are all great sources of calcium as well. A nutritionist can help you ensure your child is getting 100% of their calcium needs if your child does not consume dairy. Aim for 750 mg of calcium per day or 1000 for older kids.

Which milk did I give my son as a nutritionist who's always working with kids, I get used, which milk did you give?

I breastfed my son for 2 years and after he turned 2 I gave him fresh organic cow's milk and I still do until today. I will talk about why I prefer organic milk in a separate post.

I hope this answers your question!


Testimonial about Mirna Sabbagh:

"I went to Mirna for a consultation for my daughter for being obese, and she helped through the whole process all while making each member of the family feel comfortable. I told everyone about our success and how she is the best nutritionist in Dubai. I even recommended her for my family members in Jordan and they have done online consultations with her for adult weight loss with great success." - Nour Bouhari