23 answers

Why Wait Until 12 Months Before Starting Whole Cow's Milk?

Just wondering if anyone knows why it is recommended that babies not be given cow's milk until they are at least 12 months old? Is it too hard for their systems to digest (because my daughter--who is now 11 months old--has been eating yoghurt and cottage cheese since she was 5.5 months old and has never had any problems digesting dairy)? Or does the recommendation have something to do with the nutritional composition of cow's milk? Do babies' nutritional needs change so dramatically after one year?

Just keep wondering about these things because my daughter is rapidly approaching the one year mark. Thus far she has been exclusively breastfed, but unfortunately my factory is starting to shut down (in spite of my best wishes to continue breastfeeding) and I need to transition her.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi Sabine,

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002448.htm

Cow's milk is not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for children under 1 year old. Infants fed whole cow's milk don't get enough vitamin E, iron, and essential fatty acids. They also get too much protein, sodium, and potassium. These levels may be too high for the infant's system to handle. Also, whole cow's milk protein and fat are more difficult for an infant to digest and absorb.
Cow's milk can have dramatic effects on the infant's iron levels. Infants fed breast milk or iron-fortified formula have normal iron levels. Studies show infants often have low iron levels when started on cow's milk at 6 months of age.

In other words, cow's milk is for cow babies, not humans.

: ) M.

1 mom found this helpful

Cow milk is very high in protein, a lot more than human or store bought formula, which has gone through a process to lower it.
If I'm not mistaken it might be a diferent tipe as well.

More Answers

It has to do with the large protein in cow's milk and the immaturity of a baby's kidneys. When you think about it, cow's milk is designed for calves, which are a whole lot bigger than human babies.
As for the yogurt, I believe that the naturally occuring bacteria in yogurt helps break down the protein (and lactose) so it's easier to digest.
My son is 12 months old and has been eating whole milk yogurt for a couple of months with no problem. However, regular whole milk was giving him diaper rash so I had to switch him to lactose free whole milk which is working much better.
Hope this answers your question :)

V.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Sabine,

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002448.htm

Cow's milk is not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for children under 1 year old. Infants fed whole cow's milk don't get enough vitamin E, iron, and essential fatty acids. They also get too much protein, sodium, and potassium. These levels may be too high for the infant's system to handle. Also, whole cow's milk protein and fat are more difficult for an infant to digest and absorb.
Cow's milk can have dramatic effects on the infant's iron levels. Infants fed breast milk or iron-fortified formula have normal iron levels. Studies show infants often have low iron levels when started on cow's milk at 6 months of age.

In other words, cow's milk is for cow babies, not humans.

: ) M.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Sabine,
Yogurt has ascidopholus (pardone the spelling) which helps with digestion which is probably why it doesn't bother your daughter. My husband (he's a chiropractor) and I believe that cow's milk was not meant for us to drink...think about all of the growth hormones that baby cows need...we don't need that in our bodies. So our son and the both of us only drink rice, almond or oat milk. They are easy to digest and as long as you're finding calcium elsewhere, your baby will do absolutely fine.
Hope this helps!
E. K :-)

Hi, I think I remember my pediatrician saying something about it being a different kind of fat for your baby. But, you are so close to the year mark, I wouldn't worry about switching to supplement the feeding your factory can't handle, my kid weened himself before I was ready, sigh...

oh well good luck, Nat

I am not totally sure why the wait but I think it is because of digestion and also allergies. I started my son on cows milk at 10 months and started the transition with no issues.

Hi Sabine,
I'm not sure why your suppose to wait but I switched my daughter to whole milk at 6 months and she was fine. I breast fed her exclusively until she switched to milk.

She was over 9lbs at birth so needless to say she was hungry all the time and I started her on cereal with breast milk early as well.

She's 18 now. However, knowing what I know now about steroids, etc. I'd be more cautious of the milk I gave her.

Enjoy every minute with her....it saddens me how fast the time has gone.

-K.

Not sure the exact answer but went through the same thing with my milk supply. At 11 mths I started 1 bottle a day of cow's milk and the rest breast milk and slowly increased to cow's milk. By 1 year, it was simple to stop. Good luck!

I just wanted to add something. Recently my pediatrician said to switch the child to skim milk instead of whole milk when they turn 1! Apparently there was as study done that linked whole milk to diabetes later in life. I was very suprised by this.

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