Milk is nature's ideal food for infants and growing children. It contains all the nutrients required for normal growth. The importance of milk in our diet has been recognized since Vedic times, and all modern research has only supported and reinforced this view. It supplies almost all the essential nutrients in significant amounts, more than any other single food. It is essential for the growth and development of infants. It is not just an important food during early childhood but, in one form or the other, continues to provide benefits throughout life. In fact, milk is now considered not only desirable but essential from the time the child is born. The baby is recommended to be breast-fed until it is weaned and thereafter given cow/buffalo/goat milk till he or she reaches 12 years of age.
Milk should find a place in any balanced diet, particularly in a vegetarian diet, to provide some good quality protein, sufficient calcium and riboflavin which are difficult to obtain in adequate quantities solely from plant foods. The National Institute of Nutrition has recommended a minimum of 300g daily intake of milk for children between 1-3 years of age and 250g for those between 10-12 years.