Your growing baby needs a good blend of nutrients - proteins, carbohydrates and fats, as well as vitamins and minerals - to support healthy growth and development. Proteins are especially important for a rapidly growing infant. They help with healthy weight gain, growth, and tissue repair and development. As a result, protein is an essential nutrient for a baby in the early years. You may often find yourself wondering if your baby is getting enough protein.
During this time, breast milk is the primary source of nutrition and protein for your infant. As a mother concerned about nourishing the baby, you may wonder if you should introduce cow’s milk as an alternative to breastfeeding, or because you are not able to breastfeed. But the introduction of cow’s milk does more harm than good. Breastfeeding remains essential for your baby, and it is advisable to consult a pediatrician before you introduce cow’s milk.
Cow’s milk has a high casein protein content, which can make it very tough for a baby’s digestive system to process. Breast milk has a 65:35 ratio of whey and casein, whereas cow’s milk has a whey and casein ratio of 19:81. While your baby can digest whey protein, casein is tougher to digest. It forms an insoluble curd, making it indigestible for the immature digestive system of an infant.
The composition of mother’s milk is designed to suit the growth needs of the infant. Cow’s milk is suited to a calf’s rapid growth, and as a result, has a higher protein content, which is excessive and unsuitable for a human infant.
Infants don’t need as much protein as what is supplied by cow’s milk, and so the excess protein from cow’s milk has to be excreted in urine. This increases the concentration of urine, straining the immature kidneys of your baby.
Cow’s milk has an excessive protein and mineral content, which can be harmful rather than beneficial for your infant. Breast milk, on the other hand, is a tummy-friendly, nutritionally balanced food for your little one, and is the best choice you can make for your baby’s health.
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.