As a new mom, feeding your baby is one of your primary concerns. Breastfeeding is the best choice for your little one, as you may already be aware. But it isn’t very easy and you might think about introducing alternatives like cow’s milk to your baby.
However, it is ideal to delay the introduction of cow’s milk until your paediatrician gives you the green signal, which is usually after the age of 1 year. The introduction of cow’s milk at an early age can have adverse effects on your infant’s health. Here are some of the reasons cow’s milk is an unsuitable alternative for your infant:
Tough To Digest
Cow’s milk is tough for a baby to digest due to their immature digestive system. It has a higher protein content, which is not tummy-friendly for your baby. Cow’s milk has an 80:20 casein to whey ratio. Casein protein is harder to digest, and the excessive protein content can strain an infant’s developing digestive system. This can cause problems like severe dehydration.
Excessive Mineral Content
Cow’s milk also has excessive amounts of sodium and chlorides. The excessive intake of protein, sodium and chlorides can strain the kidneys. The excessive mineral content in cow’s milk leads to a high renal solute load, and the strain it exerts on the kidneys increases the chances of dehydration in infants.
It also has a high calcium and phosphorus content which can inhibit iron absorption. The excessive quantities of protein and minerals can strain the kidneys, and cause symptoms like fever, heat stress, diarrhea, or dehydration as they affect the health of the baby’s gut.
Lacks Essential Nutrients
It also has a lower content of essential fats like linoleic acid and polyunsaturated fats which play an important role in the infant’s health and brain development.
Cow’s milk also has a lower content of zinc, niacin and Vitamins C and E, which are vital for healthy development during infancy. As a result cow’s milk may cause iron deficiency anaemia.
Cow’s milk can be introduced after your little one is at least a year old, and only based on the recommendations of a paediatrician. Introducing cow’s milk too early can have an adverse impact on your baby’s health and development. To ensure a healthy and happy tummy for your little one, follow a routine of breastfeeding your baby exclusively until they are 6 months old, and continuing to breastfeed until the age of at least 2 years.
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.