How to introduce cow’s milk for babies? This is a common question asked by a lot many moms whose toddler is about to turn one. Well today’s topic is all about introducing cow’s milk for babies – how, when and why.
Cow’s milk is a wholesome food that is easily available. As a parent you will be in a hurry to introduce cow’s milk in your little one’s diet.
Before introducing cow’s milk for babies, you should be aware of certain facts.
Do you know that cow’s milk is not an apt drink for infants up to a certain age? If so what is the ideal age and how to introduce cow’s milk?
This post answers all your doubts regarding your baby’s cow-milk intake.
What is the ideal age for introducing cow’s milk?
You would be poured with advices from grandmas and all the old aunties about how safe and important cow’s milk is for an infant and how they used to feed it to their babies.
Let these advises not affect you and please do make sure that cow’s milk is introduced to your baby only after she is 1 year old.
You must have already read the topic why yogurt and cheese is ok for babies, but cows milk is not.
Infants should be exclusively fed with breast milk up to 6 months and then breast milk/ formula milk up to one year.
A baby who is breastfed doesn’t require cows milk for the first 6 months. Your breast milk is the best for your baby. So let cow’s milk be part of your baby’s diet only after her first birthday.
Why shouldn’t we give cow’s milk to infants?
An infant’s digestive system is not developed enough to digest cow’s milk till she is one year of age.
Babies’ kidney is not matured enough for the handling the high level of proteins and minerals in the cow’s milk.
One of the other reasons is that cow’s milk do not have adequate amount of fat required for babies growth in the initial times. Also the protein in cow’s milk affects the lining of digestive system thereby causing iron deficiency anemia.
How to introduce cow’s milk to babies?
Introduce cow’s milk to your baby only after her first birthday.
As any other new food that you introduce to your baby, cow’s milk also should be introduced following the 3-day rule.
When you start giving cow’s milk as a main drink, always begin by giving diluted milk. As in add one part of cow’s milk to baby’s formula, pumped breast milk or boiled and cooled water. Slowly only increase the quantity of milk making sure that your baby is ok with it.
Once you make sure there are no rashes or allergies you can offer the cow’s milk as it is as a main drink.
Always choose whole milk for your baby until he turns two years of age. No reduced fat or fat free milk should be given until then.
Do not add sugar to your baby’s milk as it causes dental issues. Also once you add sugar baby would always want to have milk with sugar only. You can also refer to the dental hygiene required for babies from the start.
You can add milk to baby’s cereal for breakfast or shakes.
If your little one is fussy over drinking plain milk, refer to the 8 unique natural flavors by which you can introduce milk to your kids.
How much cow’s milk should your baby have?
Ensuring that your baby drinks only the correct amount of cow’s milk is also equally important.
If too much of cow’s milk is given to your kid, it would affect her normal diet and she would be full without having any space to eat her other food.
So the ideal quantity of milk in babies’ diet should be 2-3 glasses maximum daily. Not more than that.
How to know if your baby is allergic to cow’s milk?
Some babies develop allergy to cow’s milk.
Cow’s milk allergy is not very common in India whereas in places outside babies are checked for lactose tolerant issues from the age of one.
Rashes, blood in stool, breathing issues or wheezing are few of the allergy symptoms. But in case if the symptom persists do check with your pediatrician.
Anyways please make sure that when you give cow’s milk for the first time you check for allergies.
As in my daughter’s case I introduced cow’s milk after her first birthday. But she had to stop it after she developed rashes.
So I waited and again introduced cow’s milk after 1.5 years. Of course no rashes this time and it was successful.
Most of the allergy related issues would be gone by the age of three. You can also read about signs and symptoms of food allergies in babies.
Do let us know how you started with giving milk for your little ones? Was he or she allergic to milk? Is your little one fussy over milk? Do share with me in comments.
Image : Julia Shinkareva