Some time ago, many mothers were feeding their children with cow’s milk. Either because they could not afford to buy formula , or because they did not know that giving baby cow’s milk is not recommended for some time.
When Can Baby Drink Cow’s Milk?
Officially, milk can be the primary drink for a one-year-old child . Before this milestone, cow’s milk should not be part of the baby’s diet.
Why not give?
The baby’s belly is not ready to digest cow’s milk in large volumes (600 to 1 liter daily, such as breast milk or formula) until he is approximately one year old.
Baby cow’s milk is not recommended for the following reasons:
- Compared to breast milk and formula, baby cow’s milk is low in iron, linoleic acid and vitamin E
- Cow’s milk has a lot of sodium, potassium, chloride and protein which can be very harmful to the baby’s kidneys.
- Early introduction of cow’s milk can cause microscopic gastrointestinal bleeding and blood loss by up to 40% in term babies (this risk is greater in premature babies)
- Cow’s milk can cause an allergic reaction , approximately 0.3 to 7.5% of all children who consume it.
- The consumption of cow’s milk before the 1st year has been associated with iron deficiency anemia in children.
Importance of Milk at the Right Age
But once the baby is ready to receive cow’s milk, it will play an important role in the child’s healthy diet . According to nutritionists, cow’s milk for babies, the consumption of its derivatives causes children to receive important nutrients and have healthier diets than those who do not. Because? Because milk:
- Provides nutrients like protein, calcium and potassium;
- Contains important vitamins, including vitamins A, B and D;
- Helps build strong bones, teeth and muscles;
- Decreases the risk of osteoporosis in old age.
How is the transition made to cow’s milk?
Understanding how to introduce cow’s milk is as important as knowing when babies can drink milk. Many mothers wonder if giving baby cow’s milk means they need to stop breastfeeding, but the answer is no.
They can still breastfeed when making the transition to cow’s milk, remembering that the choice to stop breastfeeding is a personal decision, and there is no deadline for that.
How Much Milk Should Children Drink?
In general, the recommended amount is about 480 ml, that is, 2 glasses of milk per day. Of course, 2 glasses don’t seem like much, but offering baby cow’s milk is different from giving formula or breast milk.
Milk does not become the child’s main source of nutrition , and there is no need to increase the amount as the baby grows. At most it can reach 600 ml daily , because if it exceeds that amount, milk can hinder the absorption of iron causing deficiency of it in the body.
Transition Tips for Cow’s Milk
Some babies just don’t like the taste of cow’s milk at first, but there are a few things that can be done to improve milk acceptance by little ones:
- Heat the milk – The cold temperature of the milk can be a little surprising, especially if the baby is used to the temperature of the breast milk.
- Mix in formula or breast milk – Mixing cow’s milk with formula or breast milk, adding more and more cow’s milk, will make the baby get used to the taste and make the complete transition. Eventually, the baby will get used to all types of milk.
Bottle or Transition Cup?
Doctors recommend switching from a baby bottle to a transition glass. That’s because the nipple of the bottle can cause problems for the baby’s teeth in the future.
But not all babies are ready to make both changes at the same time. First make the transition to cow’s milk and then change the bottle to a cup for a smoother transition.
How to Detect Lactose Intolerance or Milk Allergy
Sometimes, children do not drink milk not because of a taste problem, but because they are allergic to cow’s milk or are lactose intolerant. Usually parents will find out at the time of the transition to milk.
There is an important difference between a milk allergy and a lactose intolerance. Food allergy involves the immune system and is due to an overreaction to the food eaten, which triggers a series of unpleasant and potentially dangerous symptoms .
Lactose intolerance, on the other hand, is caused by the lack of the enzyme lactase, which is necessary to help digest milk. The biggest difference: while lactose intolerance can cause a great deal of discomfort, it will never lead to a fatal reaction, such as anaphylaxis , which can be caused by an allergy.
According to some scholars, about 2 to 3% of children under 3 years of age are allergic to milk, so the importance of not giving cow’s milk to baby before the appropriate age.
Lactose intolerance in childhood is less common, but it becomes more frequent with age: it is estimated that around 65% of people have a reduced ability to digest lactose after childhood.
So, how do you know if your child has a real milk allergy? According to Sujan Patel, MD, a pediatric allergist at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone in New York, the most common symptoms of a milk allergy are:
- Hives or itching, usually around the mouth, neck and arms
- Redness throughout the body
- Swelling of eyes, lips and ears during more severe reactions
Symptoms for lactose intolerance include:
“There are no skin rashes that occur with lactose intolerance,” says Patel. Another difference is that with a milk allergy, all dairy products will induce symptoms, while with lactose intolerance, some dairy products that are low in lactose, such as yogurt and certain cheeses, such as cheddar, parmesan and Swiss, may not cause problems.
If you suspect your child is allergic to milk, it is best to consult a pediatric allergist . If the child is allergic to cow’s milk, other mammalian-based milks, such as goat and sheep milk, are probably also off the table, because the proteins in these types of milk are very similar to those found in cow’s milk.
It is also important to know that a milk allergy may not last a lifetime. About 80% of children will overcome milk allergy by the age of 16, and most of these children will overcome it by kindergarten.
Lactose Free Baby Milk
Yes, for lactose intolerance, ensuring the necessary amount of calcium, it is important to offer baby cow ‘s milk and lactose-free dairy products . Also invest in foods rich in calcium such as broccoli, almonds, peanuts and spinach, if he is more than 6 months old.
When the baby who only breastfeeds has lactose intolerance, it is important that the mother remove lactose products from her own food because they can pass into breast milk, causing symptoms such as a swollen belly, gas and discomfort in the baby. If the baby only takes a bottle, a lactose-free formula should be used
Today in the markets there are a number of lactose-free milks and formulas. The important thing is to talk to the pediatrician to see the right type of milk that suits your child.
See also: APLV – Allergy to Cow’s Milk Protein
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.