The Interval Between Meat and Milk for Children and for the Sick (Part 1)

  1. Even though the Torah forbids feeding a child something that is forbidden
    (and this prohibition also applies to food that is forbidden by the rabbis)
    even if he is too young to realize it,  the Acharonim have written that
    a young child need not wait six hours between meat and milk because he needs
    milk to grow and to be healthy. Accordingly, there is an opinion that for children
    who can understand, this leniency applies only to milk, cheese, etc.—not to
    candies that may have milk in them because they don’t need them to grow and
    be healthy. Nevertheless, if the child has already eaten cheese or drunk some
    milk, there is no point in withholding a milky treat.
  2. Of course, this principle does not apply equally to children of different
    ages. There is no clear consensus among the poskim on when  and how long
    children should wait between eating meat and milk. Those who have a custom to
    guide them in this matter should adhere to it. For those who don’t, here are
    some guidelines. The main issue is the  maturity of the child. The ages
    listed are not intended to be precise, but rather an indication of the level
    of the child’s maturity.
  3. A child who is less than three years old can have milk immediately after
    eating meat, so long as his mouth has been wiped clean of any pieces of meat. 
    There is no need to wait at all with such a young child because milk is considered
    a vital food for him, a food that cannot be withheld without endangering his
    health.   And even those who distinguish between milk and  milky
    candies agree that the distinction does not apply to such a young child. 
    Of course, a nursing child can nurse at any time, without wiping his mouth,
    for the prohibition of eating meat and milk together does not apply to mothers’
  4. Between the ages of three and five or six, a child should be educated to
    wait one hour after eating meat before drinking milk. But if he makes a fuss
    or starts crying, he should be permitted to have his milk immediately after
    wiping his mouth.
  5. Between the ages of six to nine, the child should be educated to wait three
    or four hours, but a weak child who needs milk need not wait more than an hour.

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