What type of milk is best for my one year old? Goats milk? Cows milk? And how much should she be drinking a day? Right now she's drinking about 24 oz of organic whole cows milk. She loves it but is it best for her?
I think the best milk for one year olds is breastmilk 🙂 – but cow's milk is OK. Whole milk is definitely fine.
In fact, I would not recommend you give, 2%, 1%, or skim milk, ever. If you feel like you need to give those, just take milk out of your diet. They are not good for you, especially not skim milk which has a lot of powdered milk added to give it body and make it palatable.
Whole milk is a complete food and the fat contains valuable nutrients for your child's growing brain.
Milk from grass-fed cows is best, and it's ideal if you can get it non-homogenized.
Goat's milk is also OK, again, full fat and from goats being fed on pasture/scrub/hay.
I would recommend staying away from other “milks,” especially soy milk. Soy in an un-fermented state is not healthy for children (or really, for anybody). Nut milks and soy milk are often stuffed with fillers including corn syrup or brown rice syrup which are not good for children. They're massively fortified to try and get them close to animal milk.
You are better off going without milk than using those.
Traditional cultures that did without milk tended to eat a lot of fish, shellfish, and organ meats to provide nutrient-dense meals to their children (and pregnant and nursing mothers), so that's something to keep in mind if you want to consider going without milk.
I give my kids milk and I think it's a wonderful food. But do watch to make sure that she's not filling up on milk and therefore not getting other foods. Kids who fill up on milk can tend towards anemia because they aren't getting enough iron. Again, meats, organ meats, and shellfish are good sources of iron. If she's drinking her milk and still has a good appetite for iron-rich foods, you don't need to worry.
As for how much to drink, I generally think between 2-4 cups is a good, and 24oz is right in there. As long as she's eating well at meals I think that amount is fine.
I go into more detail on what to feed your toddlers and babies (and why) in my ebook First Bites and Beyond.