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Cow’s Milk - Is It Actually Good For Your Baby?

Life after having a baby is more colourful and fun because you look forward to doing so many wonderful things for your little one. But, when it comes to feeding a newborn, many new moms have a huge question mark in their head!

Although breastfeeding is the first step towards motherhood, a lot of new moms have difficulties doing it. They have questions like for how many months should they breastfeed their baby, the right age to wean the child from breast milk, whether to continue breast milk or make a quick transition to cow’s milk!

Babies often get introduced to cow’s milk at a very young age, as early as 1 year old! There is a lot of debate on this topic and that’s why we’re here to help you understand the difference between the two.

Antibodies

Without these, the baby won’t be able to develop a strong digestive, respiratory and immune system.

Breast Milk Cow’s milk

It has all the vital antibodies, produced and transferred from the mother’s body, which help in developing the baby’s digestive system and maintaining good gut health. It also aids the growth of the immune system and shields the baby from diseases.

According to ncbi, introducing the baby to cow’s milk proteins too early can increase the risk of developing an allergy to milk proteins.


Proteins

Proteins help in building the baby’s development especially for their soft tissue development and bodily repairs.

Breast Milk Cow’s milk

Although the proteins are present in a small amount, it is just perfect for the baby’s needs. Breast milk contains 60% of whey protein and 40% of casein. This balance of proteins is important to provide protection against infections and for quick, easy digestion.

Cow milk contains high amounts of proteins as compared to breastmilk, but these are predominantly casein proteins which curdle in the stomach. They may end up doing more harm than good for babies as these proteins are not as easily digestible as the ones present in breast milk.  


Digestion

Whatever goes in has to come out in some form or the other. You must be cautious about how the baby is being nursed as she might be unable to digest what she is consuming.

Breast Milk Cow’s milk

It is very easy to digest this milk as it contains an adequate amount of nutrients which can be easily digested by the baby’s stomach. As mentioned in the previous point, the whey to casein ratio in breast milk makes it easier to digest. According to ncbi, 50% of the total iron content in breastmilk gets absorbed in the body possibly due to the presence of lactoferrin and lower calcium, phosphorus content in breastmilk.

The constituents of cow’s milk could harm the baby’s stomach and colon. It is comparatively hard on the stomach since his/her digestive system is still not used to breaking down such complex form of nutrients. According to ncbi, only 10% of the total iron content in cow’s milk can be absorbed, as bovine milk proteins are potent inhibitors of iron absorption. This can result in an increased risk of iron deficiency anaemia.

By now you must have realized that your breastmilk is absolutely precious and is an all-natural nutrition for your newborn. Breast milk is rich in antibodies and produces the perfect amount of nutrients like vitamins, carbohydrates, omega fatty acid, minerals etc. Moreover, breastfeeding helps in baby-mama bonding as it involves skin-to-skin contact.

To conclude, breast milk is the only nourishment required by a baby below the age of 6 months. If you want to make the transition to cow’s milk, you must wait for your baby to be over the age of 1 year so that chances of developing allergies and digestive problems are minimized. Breastfeed your baby for as long as both of you enjoy it and you’ll be left with a happy, smiling baby in your arms!

Note- This blog has been reviewed by Tinystep Medical Advisory Board

Disclaimer:
All the information provided in the blog is for reference purposes only. Please do not consider this as a medical advice. Start Healthy Stay Healthy programme is for educational purposes only, in partnership with doctors. Always consult a doctor if you have any questions related to your own health or the health of your child.

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