Your baby’s first birthday is probably something you are very excited about. You may have already decided the kind of party you want to throw and how you are going to dress up your precious little one. For a truly happy first birthday, you need to make sure that your baby is happy, healthy and comfortable.
Breast milk is the best way to ensure that your baby stays healthy and happy throughout their life. Being naturally produced by your body, it provides them with the nourishment they need. If either the mother or the baby falls ill, the breast milk will then contain antibodies to help protect the baby’s body. It also happens to be gentle on the tummy.
Why Breast Milk Is The Best For Your Baby
Breast milk is tummy friendly and contains the right quantity of growth-promoting nutrients to fulfill your baby’s requirements. With a higher whey than casein protein content, it gives your baby digestible and easily absorbed protein. It also contains iron, vital for the production of haemoglobin which helps in the absorption of oxygen.
Introducing any other kind of milk to your baby before their first birthday can have negative effects on your baby’s health. The WHO recommends that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of their life. Even after introducing solid foods, breast milk should continue to be the main source of nutrition until at least their first birthday. It would be best to continue breastfeeding until the 2nd year if you are able to.
The Proteins Present In Breast Milk
Although cow’s milk does contain more proteins than breast milk, the kind of proteins present in breast milk are far gentler on an infant’s tummy. This is why you should stick to breast milk for your baby at least for the first 12 months.
Breast milk contains two main types of proteins - whey and casein.
i) Whey helps build your baby’s ability to protect herself from infections. It is easily digestible and constitutes 60% (approx) of the breast milk.
ii) Casein is comparatively more difficult to digest as it forms a curd like substance when digested. It constitutes 40% (approx) of breast milk.
Cow’s milk has a much higher casein to whey ratio and this is the reason why babies can have digestion problems if they are given cow’s milk too early.
Introducing Cow’s Milk To Your Baby (After 12 months)
Once your baby turns one, ask your doctor if you can start introducing cow’s milk along with breast milk.
NOTE: Make sure that you only offer whole milk to your baby.
However, it is recommended that you continue to breastfeed as long as you can and in case you cannot breastfeed your child, ask your pediatrician for a suitable alternative that is tummy friendly and has the right amount of nutrients for your little one’s growth.
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.