03 August

Is cow's milk safe for babies?

Is cow's milk safe for babies?

Man is probably the only mammal who drinks the milk of other mammals. A cow produces milk during her lactation period for her calf. So, Cow’s milk is more specific to a baby cow than a baby human. Many infants have problems with cow’s milk. Babies who are exposed to cow’s milk before their first birthday are more likely to be anemic, have diarrhea or vomiting, and/or experience an allergic reaction.

The protein content of the cow’s milk is way higher and may not be able to be digested by the immature and developing kidneys of the baby.

The excessive protein load in cow’s milk can thus overload a baby’s kidneys. Cow’s milk is also deficient in vitamins C, E, and copper. It is also very low in iron and the calcium in the milk inhibits the absorption of iron. It is harder to digest as well, and can sometimes cause intestinal blood loss in the babies leading to anemia.

Supplemental milk of any kind is not necessary if the baby is allowed to nurse frequently until the age of one. Once the baby is past one year old, whole cow's milk may be given, provided the baby has a balanced diet of solid foods (cereals, vegetables, fruits). But limit intake of milk to no more than 1 to 1 and a half glass a day. More than this can provide too many calories and may decrease the baby’s appetite for the other foods that he/she needs. If your baby is not yet eating a broad range of solid foods, talk to your pediatrician about the best nutrition for him or her.

Children need a higher fat content, which is why whole vitamin D milk is recommended for most infants after one year of age. But, always give baby’s pasteurized milk. One glass of cow’s milk gets the child ( 1 to 3 year old) nearly 40 percent of the recommended amount of calcium and 20 percent of the recommended amount of vitamin D.

Well! in conclusion, Cow’s milk is definitely a “NO” for babies below age one - For three primary reasons -

  • Contains too many proteins causing load on kidneys
  • Babies can become anemic due to iron deficiency
  • The early introduction can make their body intolerant to milk

It may be wise to wait until the baby turns one and then slowly complement it with other foods to make the diet of a baby wholesome.

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 August 2018 13:21
Dr Padma

Dr Padma is a Family care physician and is the Founder and CEO of MedHealthTV.


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