The great Indian milk debate: How much milk does an Indian child actually need?

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theindusparent spoke to leading paediatrician and neonatologist Dr Taher Kagalwala to seek all the answers related to the milk intake of an Indian baby

It is a matter of concern for every Indian mother, one that gives her sleepless nights. We’re talking about milk here and how all mums are worried about their child’s milk intake.

This is why theindusparent spoke to leading paediatrician and neonatologist Dr Taher Kagalwala to seek all the answers related to the milk intake of an Indian baby.

“The requirement of milk changes with the age of the child. Usually, an infant needs milk – wholly before six months, and partly after that. In the first six months, quantity is irrelevant if the baby is breastfeeding and is putting on weight appropriately,” says Dr Taher.

However, if the baby is only on top feed, then she would need about 140-150 ml of milk per kg weight of her body per day, he adds.

“This can be in the form of infant formulas, ready-to-drink infant milk, or adult milk that is suitably modified to make it easily digestible by the child,” says Dr Taher.

Age-wise milk requirement of an Indian baby

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Dr Taher says that based on the above-mentioned criteria, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • A baby that is less than 3 months would need 2-3 oz(around 60ml to 90ml) of milk 5-6 times a day to start with;
  • The quantity would increase quickly, as babies put on nearly a kg of weight every month in this period.
  • By six months, they would be easily taking 7-8 oz (200 ml)every 4-6 hours.
  • By 1 year, it is expected that infants would already be begun on non-milk foods, so that they would still take only 3-4 feeds, or even less, of top milks, about 6-8 oz (200ml) per feed.

“After infancy, and especially once the child is on full family diet (which can be any time between 1 to 2 years), there is no specific compulsion to give top milk,” says Dr Taher.

Continue reading on the next page to know why you should not be adding any powder to your baby’s milk!

It is important here to mention that many Indians are vegetarians and do not consume a lot of meat which is why their diet might be deficient in protein.

“The baby should not be given more than a glass or two of milk each day. Even that can be skipped if the child takes a balanced diet and partakes of milk-containing (dairy) foods like butter, cheese, yoghurt, etc,” says Dr Taher.

Indian children are falling sick and developing immunodeficiency at an alarming rate due to the milk they are given, most of which is highly adulterated in India

Indian children are falling sick and developing immunodeficiency at an alarming rate due to the milk they are given, most of which is highly adulterated in India

Indian mothers also have a habit of mixing additives in their babies milk, which come in various flavours such as chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, so that their baby has milk someway. But is it really required? Dr Taher says no.

“Not really, unless the child is definitely a picky eater or does not drink milk without a chocolate flavoured protein powder,” he says.

Also read: Top 5 mantras to soothe a baby

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