How To Introduce Cow’s Milk for Babies?

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How to introduce cow’s milk for babies? This is a common question asked by a lot many moms whose toddler is about to turn one. Well today’s topic is all about introducing cow’s milk for babies – how, when and why.

Cow’s milk is a wholesome food that is easily available. As a parent you will be in a hurry to introduce cow’s milk in your little one’s diet.

But wait!!!

Before introducing cow’s milk for babies, you should be aware of certain facts.

how to introduce cow's milk

Do you know that cow’s milk is not an apt drink for infants up to a certain age? If so what is the ideal age and how to introduce cow’s milk?

This post answers all your doubts regarding your baby’s cow-milk intake.

What is the ideal age for introducing cow’s milk?

You would be poured with advices from grandmas and all the old aunties about how safe and important cow’s milk is for an infant and how they used to feed it to their babies.

Let these advises not affect you and please do make sure that cow’s milk is introduced to your baby only after she is 1 year old.

You must have already read the topic why yogurt and cheese is ok for babies, but cows milk is not.

Infants should be exclusively fed with breast milk up to 6 months and then breast milk/ formula milk up to one year.

A baby who is breastfed doesn’t require cows milk for the first 6 months. Your breast milk is the best for your baby. So let cow’s milk be part of your baby’s diet only after her first birthday.

Why shouldn’t we give cow’s milk to infants?

An infant’s digestive system is not developed enough to digest cow’s milk till she is one year of age.

Babies’ kidney is not matured enough for the handling the high level of proteins and minerals in the cow’s milk.

One of the other reasons is that cow’s milk do not have adequate amount of fat required for babies growth in the initial times. Also the protein in cow’s milk affects the lining of digestive system thereby causing iron deficiency anemia.

How to introduce cow’s milk to babies?

Introduce cow’s milk to your baby only after her first birthday.

As any other new food that you introduce to your baby, cow’s milk also should be introduced following the 3-day rule.

When you start giving cow’s milk as a main drink, always begin by giving diluted milk. As in add one part of cow’s milk to baby’s formula, pumped breast milk or boiled and cooled water. Slowly only increase the quantity of milk making sure that your baby is ok with it.

Once you make sure there are no rashes or allergies you can offer the cow’s milk as it is as a main drink.

Always choose whole milk for your baby until he turns two years of age. No reduced fat or fat free milk should be given until then.

Do not add sugar to your baby’s milk as it causes dental issues. Also once you add sugar baby would always want to have milk with sugar only.  You can also refer to the dental hygiene required for babies from the start.

You can add milk to baby’s cereal for breakfast or shakes.

If your little one is fussy over drinking plain milk, refer to the 8 unique natural flavors by which you can introduce milk to your kids.

How much cow’s milk should your baby have?

Ensuring that your baby drinks only the correct amount of cow’s milk is also equally important.

If too much of cow’s milk is given to your kid, it would affect her normal diet and she would be full without having any space to eat her other food.

So the ideal quantity of milk in babies’ diet should be 2-3 glasses maximum daily. Not more than that.

How to know if your baby is allergic to cow’s milk?

Some babies develop allergy to cow’s milk.

Cow’s milk allergy is not very common in India whereas in places outside babies are checked for lactose tolerant issues from the age of one.

Rashes, blood in stool, breathing issues or wheezing are few of the allergy symptoms. But in case if the symptom persists do check with your pediatrician.

Anyways please make sure that when you give cow’s milk for the first time you check for allergies.

As in my daughter’s case I introduced cow’s milk after her first birthday. But she had to stop it after she developed rashes.

So I waited and again introduced cow’s milk after 1.5 years. Of course no rashes this time and it was successful.

Most of the allergy related issues would be gone by the age of three. You can also read about signs and symptoms of food allergies in babies.

Do let us know how you started with giving milk for your little ones? Was he or she allergic to milk? Is your little one fussy over milk? Do share with me in comments.

Image : Julia Shinkareva

About Author

A working mom who balances both her professional as well as personal life, Roshni tries to be a best friend to her 2 year old Lynette, fondly called as Linu. She along with her husband try to bring up their little one in the best possible way.

8 Comments

  1. Hii, my daughter is one month old and was exclusively on formula milk for one month as didn’t had enough milk to Brest feed her… Have started her cow milk since today as my mom said it’s better than the formula once..but after every feed she started pooping atleast 5times but not runny…please advise

  2. please advise how to gradually wean off from breast feeding and make my infant take cow milk…he only wants breast milk no other milk??

  3. Hi, My baby is 7 months old now and its been 1 month I have started giving him cow’s milk. I had read that it should be given after 1 year only as it has too much protiens and affects their kidney. I was not ready to give but due to continous saying from my mom that is good and I was grown on milk only (she had started when I was 4 month old) and there was no problem. My baby has not get any allergy mentioned above. Reading that it should be given only after 1 year I am worried now whether I should continue giving him cows milk? My only concern is that it should not affect my baby health.

    Please advise.

  4. Hi

    Just read your article for introducing cow milk…My daughter is 15 months and i was giving her cow milk when she was nine month from 4 month she was not feeding properly so i gave her express bf..she poo after a week so we are worried till six month I gave her bf but after that tried to introduce formula and cow milk but she refuses after eight month i was with my mother in law who say add some sugar to cow milk but i added jaggery powder from then she started drinking cow milk but she started constipated having hard stool like pebbles. She not eat alot and just want milk and she still constipated. Want to know is cow milk b d reason of constipation?

    • Roshni Ann Mathew on

      Hi Parul,

      Thanks for going thru . Few kids experience constipation once cows milk is introduced to them. Sangeetha has already mentioned about this in how to tackle constipation in babies. Give her prunes and papaya, both relieves constipation. Another option is soak raisins overnight or in warm water , drain the raisins and give the water to baby. Keep the baby well hydrated. Give her water in between . if none of these help, consult a pediatrician. The raisins method works most of the time.

      You may read through these articles to get a clearer picture

      http://www.bumpsnbaby.com/5-ways-to-tackle-constipation-in-babies/

      http://www.bumpsnbaby.com/papaya-constipation-babies/

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Roshni

  5. Hai. My son Devarsh is 17 months old now. From the birth itself we found that he is having a very sensitive stomach. He always have gassy problems , indigestion. But when he turns one, we introduced both whole milk and also 2%milk . But he has problems like not sleeping during night. Very restless . Gave the milk mixing with water , still we found he is having some difficulties. But then only we came to know some toddlers will have allergies over lactogen. His father was also having the same problem during this age. Then I read somewhere these problems can happen through hereditary. I am not sure have far this is right. But then his pediatrician adviced us in using 2% lactose free milk. He also have some indigestion problems when we give lactose free whole milk. Anyways this time the 2% lactose free milk worked! But I want to give him whole milk because, I want my baby to gain some weigh. He is not under weight but he is lil tall when compared to his age. So he seems to be a slim baby . I can try some other weight gaining food, but he is fond of milk than his normal food. Well, I am not sure when can I start whole milk and I what him to outgrow the lactose problem in future like his dad does. He has no rashes in his skin when we gave whole milk or whole milk lactose free. I am little worried about his health like whether he will outgrow this difficulty or not. I want him to grow as a normal kid like any other moms. Because as I mentioned above he has always been a sensitive stomach baby given lot of worries. Can you please help me how to get rid of this lactose problem? And also the ingestion. For his dad he too was a sensitive baby because he was a premature. My inlwas they too had a pretty tuff time with him too. But then anyhow he has outgrow the lactose problem. Hope my son too will be ok like his dad. I want him to grow as a normal and healthy baby like another kids. His pediatrician says keep trying the whole milk. Hoping for a better advice.

    • Roshni Ann Mathew on

      Hi Sujitha,

      Thanks for going through the article and we are much happy to help you back with your query.

      From what you have mentioned your son might not be lactose intolerant, as he takes 2% milk. I would suggest to slowly start trying whole milk. Kids normally develop the ability to digest whole milk in such cases. You may try giving him desserts that use whole milk like rice kheer,caramel custard or fruit salad with custard sauce, and if he is fine taking them ,then you may switch to whole milk.

      Also check with your pediatrician for alternatives to whole milk. If your lil one still finds it hard to take whole milk ,then I would suggest you to give him other calcium rich products like Almond milk, Broccoli etc. And we shall soon write an article about Lactose intolerance so that you will get a clearer picture about it.

      Thanks and hope this helped you 🙂

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