How to introduce cow's milk to your baby
Cow's milk can be harmful for babies for a multitude of reasons. Find out how you can introduce cow's milk to your baby safely.
Breast milk or formula is best for your baby. But as he grows, his nutrition requirements will change, and so switching to an alternate milk source is almost inevitable.
Wait until your baby is a year old
Because cow’s milk is cheaper than toddlers’ formula, many parents want to introduce it to their baby earlier. But you should approach introducing cow’s milk to your infant with caution, because it’s difficult for babies under one year to digest cow’s milk.
The high potassium, sodium, and chloride levels in cow’s milk can even damage your baby’s kidneys. In addition, cow’s milk lacks vitamins and minerals that babies less than a year old need for proper growth. And so, it’s best to wait until your baby is a year old before switching to cow’s milk.
On the next page: How to introduce cow’s milk to toddlers and 6-month-old babies.
For 6-month-old babies
If your family does not have a history of lactose intolerance or allergies, and if your baby is eating a wide range of solid foods, you can introduce cow’s milk as an ingredient to their foods. However, you shouldn’t feed it to your child on its own, and their primary food should still be formula or breast milk.
How to introduce cow’s milk to toddlers
Some toddlers love drinking cow’s milk right away, which makes the whole transition easier. But some toddlers initially dislike cow’s milk because of how different it is from what they’re used to (formula is more similar to breast milk).
What parents can do is mix cow’s milk with your child’s regular milk, beginning with a ratio of one part whole milk to three parts of regular milk, gradually changing its ratio until your toddler is drinking whole milk.
Babies of 1 to 2 years old should have 2 to 3 cups daily for strong bones and teeth.
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