During early infancy, babies get all their nutritional needs met by having breast milk. It is important for mothers to consume nutrient dense foods during the breastfeeding stage to help ensure that the breast milk contains all the right nutrients. However, babies don’t even need a lot of minerals and vitamins during their first year of life.
Consuming mineral-rich foods is enough to help meet your baby’s mineral needs. There is no need to supplement breast milk with cow’s milk. Cow’s milk may contain similar amounts of iron and copper but it is not as easily absorbed. Breast milk contains protein components like lactoferrin which help absorb the iron from breast milk.
Cow’s milk also contains a number of other minerals in very high amounts. Young calves grow very fast and hence they need that extra nutrition. But the excessive minerals in cow’s milk combined with the high protein levels makes it too much for our babies to handle. This can result in dehydration, acidosis and renal solute overload:
Your baby’s body can get severely dehydrated since her only source of water is present in breast milk. Renal solute load refers to the waste that need to be excreted from the kidneys. Renal solute overload happens when the loss of water from the kidney is too high or the fluid intake is too low. Cow’s milk contains high amounts of sodium, potassium and chloride which is dangerous for babies.
Hence, the best and safest option for babies would be to stick to breast milk for the entire first year of your baby’s life. Breast milk should continue to be the main source of nutrition for as long as it is possible, as it is a tummy-friendly and growth-promoting source of nutrition for your little one during these crucial early months.
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.