How Safe it is to Feed Cow’s Milk to Babies Less Than 1 Year?

Milk is the most important part of an infant’s diet. From birth till the six months, the best meal for them is the breast milk and the next best thing is the formula recommended by the doctor. But as the baby grows, you can introduce small amounts of cow milk along with some semi-solids between the age of 6 months to 12 months. Parents are always confused about when to introduce dairy products in the diet of their babies, especially in India.

The goodness of cow’s milk is known to all. It is a rich source of calcium along with various other nutrients which are good for growth and development of a baby and also an adult. But if your baby is less than a year then it is advised that you feed him with cow’s milk in small quantities, usually in semi-solid foods. As a main drink, it should be introduced after he has completed 12 months as the chances of allergy from the milk reduce.

This article talks about why cow’s milk should not be given to babies of age less than 12 months. Here are a few reasons which explain.

  • We know that cow’s milk is rich in Calcium and various other nutrients but when we compare it with breast milk, it is richer in some of the vital nutrients which are very much essential for the growth and development of a baby at this age.
  • When compared with cow’s milk, breast milk is easier for the babies to digest. Cow’s milk is high in proteins and minerals which make it heavy to digest thereby adversely affecting the developing kidneys of your child.
  • Infants are sometimes allergic to cow’s milk and sometimes it is also the reason for diabetes. It is observed that babies who feed on cow’s milk in their earlier months then they have higher chances of developing diabetes. This is so because of high proteins in it. The calcium content in it is almost four times higher than the breast milk. This makes it not a good choice for the baby as it is harmful.
  • Breast milk is higher in Vitamin E, essential fatty acids and iron which are the need of the baby. These are present in lesser quantity in cow’s milk. On the contrary, cow’s milk is rich in proteins along with sodium and potassium which make it very tough to digest for the baby.
  • Cow’s milk contains higher quantity of salt as compared to breast milk which again causes increased intake of salt thereby encouraging liking for salt for lifetime. This can be really very damaging for the kidneys of the baby.
  • It has also been observed that the babies, below the age of 12 months, who started intake of cow’s milk over breastfeed are more likely to develop anemia. This is because the milk impedes the absorption of iron by the body which is very much important for the growth of the infant.

All these points explain that it is surely not a good idea to feed your babies below 12 months of age with cow’s milk. Though you can use it in small quantities but substituting it completely with cow’s milk is surely not recommended.

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