When to Introduce Cow’s Milk to Your Baby?


Is Cow’s Milk Good for Babies?

Wondering when is it safe to start cow’s milk for your baby? Well, this post will answer this buzzing question.
Feeding the newborn is not a piece of cake. Many parents want to feed organic food and natural milk to their little ones, even before they celebrate their first birthday. But, this is not at all a smart and healthy approach. Cow’s milk is for babies above one year. Breastmilk and Formula milk are comprised of many essential elements that a newborn needs for a healthy growth.
I am sharing here my own experience related to feeding my two babies. Paediatrician and Paediatric Dietician, Dr. Sharma advised me to avoid cow milk (or any animal milk) when my sons were below 1 year. Once the babies turn 1 year-old, their body is ready and it becomes easy to digest the cow milk. Many new moms can’t decode the prohibition of feeding cow milk to the babies below one-year-old. Let’s understand this science in details.

Why You can’t Feed Cow’s Milk to Your Baby below 1 Year?

Babies below one year are recommended to give breast milk or formula milk instead of cow’s milk as their digestive system is developing. The whole cow milk comprises of protein, minerals and many other elements that are difficult to digest for the babies. These elements are present in high concentration in the cow milk which can affect the baby’s kidney and digestive system.

When can I Introduce Cow’s Milk to My Baby?

Try to be patient and stick to the breastfeeding till your baby turns one. Paediatricians suggest that cow’s milk can be healthy for the babies above 1-year-old. Brest milk is the only milk that your newborn needs in first few weeks. Later, when you introduce solids at 6 month age, if you need to use the milk for baby food, use expressed breast milk or formula milk till your baby becomes one-year-old. When you start Cow’s milk, Start his milk intake with 900-950ml per day and then increase it gradually considering his diet. This will keep the calories balanced in his diet.

Can I add Cow’s Milk to My Baby’s Food?

Well, the answer is negative. It’s better to stick with the breast milk if you are a breastfeeding mom. You can either add your breast milk to your baby’s food or count on the formula milk. Avoiding the animal milk completely in your baby’s diet till he turns one is strictly recommended for his health and growth.

How to Introduce Cow’s Milk to a 1-Year-Old Baby?

Cow Milk is a rich source of Calcium which is needed to strengthen your baby’s bones. After 1 year, you can introduce it to your baby mixing it with formula or breast milk. 8 to 12 ounces of cow milk is sufficient to meet the calcium and vitamin requirement of your baby. You can use a Sippy cup or simple cup filled with ¼ cow milk and ¾ breast milk or formula milk. You can try this for the first 6-7 days after introducing the cow milk to your baby. Gradually increase the amount of cow milk, say mix cow milk and formula milk or breast milk in equal proportions and try this for the next 6-7 days. After two weeks of introducing the cow milk, you can go for ¾ cow milk and ¼ formula milk or breast milk. When your baby is completely ready to drink and digest the cow milk, there is no need of mixing it with formula or breast milk.

Which Milk is the Best for Baby Before 12 Months?

Exclusively breastfeeding ( if a mom cant breastfeed then formula milk feeding ) is recommended for the newborns and babies below 12 months. When a baby is small, his/her nutrient needs are very low and breast milk only can cater to it. Formula milk is also a rich source of many elements that are needed by a newborn or a baby below 12 months. It’s easy to digest as well. Other types of milk like cow milk, Soy milk, goat milk, camel milk or rice milk is not suggested by the paediatricians for the small babies below 1 year.

Can A2 Cow Milk be Considered?

There are many types of milk available in the market. A1 and A2 are two major types of milk. The A2 cow milk is a type of cow milk which lacks A1 beta-casein. The A2 milk is considered as healthier than A1 milk. Even the breast milk contains A2 beta-casein. The cow breeds like Jersey, Charolais and Guernsey produce A2 milk. The presence of BCM-7 in regular milk can cause digestive issues in the babies below 12 months and hence A2 milk is considered as a safer choice but that too after age 1 year. The Indian Gir Cows have hump which absorbs the sunrays that improve the quality of the milk and makes it enriched with proteins and anti-cancer agents.

Cow Milk or Buffalo Milk – Which is Better?

Cow milk is very different from Buffalo milk in terms of protein content, water content, fat content and calorie content. Buffalo milk is heavier than cow milk and it contains more fat, more proteins and more calories. But Cow milk is richer in water content and other vital nutrients too. The water helps in easy digestion and meets the hydration needs of your baby’s body. Cow milk is better for the small babies in comparison to the buffalo milk.
With every feeding, the babies consume more milk according to their nutrient cravings. Your baby’s appetite is pretty low in the first 3 months and then increases gradually. After 1 year, your baby needs a change in diet and more protein, calories and many other elements for a positive growth. All you need to do is follow your paediatrician’s diet instructions, pay attention to your baby’s hunger calls and track his everyday health and growth.

Read : Food Chart for Babies


About Author


An IT professional, a mom of two, Sapana had belly-only pregnancies in her life & has lost 15Kg weight twice. Along with fitness, Sapana is an expert in Indian names & has helped scores of Indian parents to shortlist suitable baby names by virtue of her years of expertise in Sanskrit origin names & logical approach towards cultures & trends during the name research. Drop a comment to get help from her.


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