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What Age Baby Can Start Drinking Cow Milk Safely?

By: Admin | 6 min read

Cow milk is the most nutritious food after mother's milk. Yet it can lead to serious consequences in babies below 12 months of age. Early introduction of cow milk can lead to microscopic gastrointestinal bleeding and this can cause the baby to lose as much as 40% of blood. Moreover, it can also cause allergic reaction in about 0.3 to 7.5% of all children who consume milk before they celebrate their first birthday.

Cow milk or whole milk is not recommended for babies under the age of one (under 12 months of age). Milk is packed with nutrition, so why is the entire doctor's community against feeding baby with cow milk? 

There is a reason for it. Cow milk is advised to be introduced to babies after their first birthday because babies digestive system is not completely developed. At least not so much that it can digest milk. Milk is loaded with rich protein and vitamins that will exert unusual pressure on the baby's kidney, during digestion process. 

Another reason for not giving babies cow milk is that it lack sufficient quantity of iron which is very essential for the development of blood and other essential nutrition such as vitamin c. It also doesn't provide healthy fat that the baby needs. Lastly, cow's milk is loaded with  potassium, sodium, chloride and protein which will unnecessarily burden the little baby's system. 

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Why not cow milk before 12 months:

  1. Early introduction of cow milk can lead to microscopic gastrointestinal bleeding. As a result the child may lose as much as up to 40% blood loss. This does not happen once the child completes the age of 1 year. 
  2. Cow milk can also lead to allergic reaction in about 0.3 to 7.5% of all children. 
  3. During the first year, child has special need for iron, lineoleic acid and Vitamin E. Breast milk and formula milk provide just the right quantity of these nutrition for optimum growth. But cow's milk lack iron and can lead to iron-deficiency anemia. 
  4. Cow milk contains way too much sodium, potassium, chloride and protein for the little baby's kidney to handle. 

Cow's milk leads to iron deficiency in babies less than 1 year

When a child is feed cow milk before the age of one, it puts the baby at risk of developing iron deficiency anemia. That's because certain ingredients in milk prevents body from absorbing iron. Infants needs plenty of iron for healthy development. 

Babies above 12 months and toddlers needs cow milk

Believe it or not, but babies above 1 year and toddlers needs cow milk and plenty of dairy products. Cow's milk is rich source of calcium and fat which is required by baby for proper development of teeth and bones. Moreover milk also regulates blood clotting and is also a good source of vitamin D. 

When there's no allergy 

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