Giving Cow’s Milk
Before 12 Months
It seems like it would be so much easier, as your baby gets older, to just give him a bottle or sippy cup full of cow’s milk from the fridge. For formula feeding moms not only is it easier, but much cheaper. However, your doctor tells you not too. This brings up the question, why is cow’s milk bad for your baby?
Breast milk and formula are specifically designed to be sensitive for your baby’s belly. Cow’s milk has certain proteins in it that breast milk and formula do not have. A baby’s digestive system is not capable of processing these proteins, and the lack of processing can make your baby sick. Cow’s milk also has a large amount of sodium, potassium and chloride that can be hard on your baby’s kidneys.
During your baby’s first year, it is important that he get the right amount of vitamin E, zinc, iron and other vitamins and minerals that cow’s milk does not have. These vitamins are found naturally in breast milk and are added to formula. Cow’s milk could lead to an iron deficiency in your baby and in some rare cases cause internal bleeding. It can also lead to dairy allergies as your baby gets older.
There is no doubt that cow’s milk can be more convenient that formula, but until your baby turns a year you should steer clear of giving him cow’s milk.
After 12 Months
Once your baby hits his first birthday and has his one year well-check, if your pediatrician gives the ok for you to give your baby cow’s milk, there are a lot of benefits to your baby. In most cases, for that second year of life, you will be told to give your baby whole, vitamin D milk. It is because this milk has the highest concentrate of vitamins that your baby still needs to grow. A great source of calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, and magnesium, whole milk will help your baby’s bones and teeth grow and become strong.
Now that your baby’s digestive system has matured, milk will give him the protein that he needs to run and play during the day. Calcium is important to a baby’s future health because it can help prevent later cases of certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, stroke and other medical emergencies later in life.
If Your Baby Won’t Switch
If you are lucky your baby will make the switch to cow’s milk smoothly and easily. If you are not lucky, your baby may fight the change. This could happen for any number of reasons. Milk has a different texture, temperature, color and taste from the breast milk or formula that you have been feeding your baby, and your baby may not want to adjust. If this happens try making it a gradual process. Try giving your baby cow’s milk straight from a sippy cup, instead of through a bottle. Also, try mixing cow’s milk and your breast milk or formula, slowly increasing the amount of cow’s milk, until it is only cow’s milk. If he won’t take it through a sippy cup, try spoon feeding it to him, or mixing it in with cereal and other baby food until he gets used to the taste.
To insure that your baby is as healthy as possible, ask your pediatrician about what he recommends when it comes to giving your baby cow’s milk. If you feel that your baby is not taking to cow’s milk well, then speak with your pediatrician to see if he thinks there is a problem, or has any suggestions for you to try.
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