Cow's Milk For Infants: Good or Bad?
Created by Dr. Surbhi Saini Updated on Dec 03, 2018
It is one of the most frequently asked questions whether cow’s milk should be given to infants (less than 12 months of age) or not? This blog puts an end to all your queries regarding cow's milk as an alternative to breast milk. Read on...
Is Cow's Milk Good For My Baby?
The answer to this is quite simple - for infants, cow’s milk should be avoided at all costs. For some reason, if a supplement is to be given in addition to the breast milk, it should only be a formula feed. Reason? Well, there are a few. Let's take a look at them:
Your baby’s digestive tract is yet to mature to be able to digest the proteins that the cow's milk contains, hence, it could cause digestive issues. For instance, it contains elements like sodium, potassium, chloride that can affect your baby’s kidneys.
It lacks essential vitamins and nutrients that are needed for a baby’s growth in the first 12 months of life.
It lacks Vit E, Zinc, and iron which can manifest as iron-deficiency anaemia and even internal bleeding.
If by any reason, you are unable to breastfeed your baby, iron-fortified formula feed is advised.
Cow’s Milk After My Baby Has Turned One?
Yes, post your baby’s first birthday, you can gradually introduce cow’s milk provided your baby isn’t allergic to it or your pediatrician hasn’t advised otherwise.
Here’s the advantages that cow's milk provides to the baby:
It strengthens teeth, bone structure and helps in blood coagulation and muscle control.
It is a good source of vitamin A, phosphorus, and calcium.
It contains a good amount of vitamin D like most dairy products.
It provides the baby with enough energy that lasts the whole day.
However, skimmed cow’s milk should be avoided for babies under 2 years of age, and only full-fat cow’s milk should be given.
One more important thing - since most babies do not like the taste of cow’s milk, the transition should be gradual so that even the baby’s digestive tract gets adapted to it. It can be given alongside the regular formula feed or alternate with breast milk.
Hope this blog was useful to you. Do share your thoughts with me in the comments section below or do leave any questions you may have on this.