Where to Get Calcium When Your Child Won’t Drink Milk

Milk is a good source of calcium. Some kids (and adults) don't enjoy drinking milk by the glass, but there are other ways to enjoy milk.

Question

My 7-year old daughter does not like to drink milk at all. Is it okay if I give her Tums as a supplement? She will drink half a glass of chocolate milk but won't finish it.

Dr. Greene's Answer

I’m glad you are paying attention to your daughter’s calcium intake. The AAP guidelines for calcium are 800mg per day from age 4 to 8, and then 1300 mg a day from 9 to 18. They also recommend at least 200 IU per day of Vitamin D, which is needed to properly take in calcium.

Tums are a fine supplement but I also like other alternatives for kids. If milk doesn’t appeal to her you might want to give plain, whole milk yogurt a try. A glass of milk or a serving of yogurt has about 250 mg of calcium.

Some children who refuse to drink milk will take milk if it is frozen into a popsicle, and it does stay packed with nutrition. And thankfully many foods can be obtained with added calcium. Just add up the amounts of calcium she gets from all sources on an average day to be sure she is getting at least the minimum amount for her age.

If you do decide to give her a calcium supplement such as Tums, Viactiv, or calcium gummy bears, be sure to check the label to confirm you are using the correct dose as calcium supplements come in various strengths. I also recommend you check for added sugar. No one needs added sugar!

Last medical review on: September 12, 2010
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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