Dairy – Whole Milk – is not recommended for babies under 12 months of age. Learn why babies should not drink whole milk prior to 1 year of age. Babies should receive breast milk and/or formula as their main source of “drink” until they are 12 months of age.Introducing dairy products is often a source of confusion for parents. Many pediatricians will tell parents “no dairy until age 1 year” and neglect to go into further detail.
This “no dairy until 12 months” rule is really targeted to whole cow’s milk. You see whole cow milk does not contain enough nutrients, vitamins or minerals to adequately and properly sustain an infant’s growth. “Infants fed whole cow’s milk receive inadequate amounts of Vitamin E, iron, essential fatty acids, and excessive amounts of protein, sodium, and potassium. These levels may be too high for the infant’s system to handle.
” (AAP) Whole Cow’s Milk Is Not Recommended for Baby for the Following Reasons: Compared to breast milk and formula, whole cow’s milk is low in iron, lineoleic acid and Vitamin E Cow’s milk has too much sodium, potassium, chloride and protein for little kidneys to handle Early introduction to cows milk may cause microscopic gastrointestinal bleeding and blood loss in up to 40% of normal infants (this risk mostly disappears after 12 months) Cow’s milk may cause an allergic reaction, approximately 0.
3 to 7.5% of all children are affected Cows milk consumption before 1 years of age has been linked to iron deficiency anemia in children Cow’s milk and iron deficiency anemia Indeed, prior to the age of 1 year old, consumption of a lot of dairy products may put baby at risk for iron deficient anemia. Milk impedes the proper absorption of iron and iron is one thing that an infant can not afford to have cut down or cut out of the diet.
Additionally, whole cow’s milk protein and fat are more difficult for an infant to digest and absorb. This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics also does not recommend giving babies whole milk until at least one year of age. “The most dramatic effects are on iron levels in the body. Recent studies show infants often have depleted levels when started on cow’s milk at six months of age.” MerckSource Dairy Facts – Infants Did you know that Toddlers aged 1 year through 2 years do not need as much milk/dairy as you may think.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that 16 ounces of whole milk per day is all your toddler will need. Calcium for Infants & Toddlers (AAP). It is thought that more than 16 ounces of milk per day may put an toddler at risk for anemia as well as nutrient displacement – a toddler who consumes too much milk will most likely not be eating all the whole foods that he needs. When can babies have skim milk? Children under the age of two should not be given low-fat (1%, 2% or skim) milk products.
Lucky babies, babies need all the fat they can get for proper brain development. Pediatricians recommend you switching your baby to low-fat, 1%, 2% and skim milk products at about 2 years of age. More Resources and Learning on Giving Milk to Babies Yogurt and Cheese – Did You Know? Yogurt and greek yogurt may be introduced to a baby as early as 6 months of age. Cheese is typically introduced around 8 months of age.
Transition Your Baby to Whole Milk Read about How to Transition Your Baby from Formula or Breast Milk to Whole MilkSee Also: Farm Milk The Cow
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Dr. Greene, our 19-month-old son has seemed to have trouble since his birth. He wouldn’t be miserable all the time, just a good portion of the time. At 1 year, he was introduced to cow’s milk. Before this time, he had consumed cheese and a few other dairy products. He is a very unsettled, miserable-acting child. As his mother, I know something is wrong. He has been having trouble with constipation for a while now.
We have tried increasing fruit, veggies, and whole grains to no avail. He goes for days between stools, and when he does eliminate, there is a very hard, very large “plug” of stool that comes out, followed by two to five diapers full of loose stool within a couple of hours. His father is lactose intolerant yet can drink skim milk with no problems. My question is: should we try skim milk? Or should we try a lactose-free type of milk or soymilk? Any help would be appreciated greatly!!!Shannon – Woodstock, Nebraska Dr.
Greene`s Answer: A cranky, unhappy toddler may well be responding to physical discomfort. Tummy troubles of one type or another can make anyone feel miserable. Milk is a major part of most children’s diets. If a child is intolerant to milk, this can affect how he feels every single day of his life. Nausea, cramps, and pain can squelch the normal joys of discovery and mastery. But the classic symptoms of milk intolerance are diarrhea, spitting up, or abdominal pain.
Many kids with milk intolerance also wheeze, especially when they get a cold. They can also have the dry, sensitive skin of eczema and their noses always seem to be running. Ear infections are also more common than in other kids. Constipation, however, has not been typically associated with milk intolerance — until now. The observation that constipation might sometimes be caused by milk intolerance has appeared in the medical literature from time to time, dating back as far as 1954 (Pediatric Clinics of North America, 1954; 4:940-962).
But only recently has there been a well-designed study published showing that this is indeed the case. The results of this study, when widely known, can set many children free to enjoy the exuberance of childhood without pain. Researchers at the University of Palermo in Italy worked with 65 children with chronic constipation. All of these children had been treated with laxatives when dietary measures had failed.
Even with the medical treatment, these children were still constipated, having hard, painful stools only every 3 to 15 days. Forty-nine of the their little bottoms had fissures and redness or swelling from the hard plugs of stool. Each child received either cow’s milk or soymilk for 2 weeks, with no one knowing which was which. Next, they had a week during which they could eat and drink anything they wanted to wash out the effects of the first 2 weeks.
Then they switched sides for 2 weeks and got the milk that they didn’t get the first time. Careful recordings of the bowel habits were made. When the secret code was broken at the end of the study, they found status quo constipation for each child while he or she was on cow’s milk. But while they were taking soymilk (which causes firmer stools in most kids), 68% of these kids were no longer constipated! The redness, swelling, and fissures on their bottoms healed (New England Journal of Medicine, 1998; 339:1100-1104).
How wonderful to finally have relief after diet and medicines hadn’t worked for so long! The results were most dramatic in kids who also had frequent runny noses, eczema, or wheezing. Nevertheless, sometimes constipation can be the only symptom of cow’s milk intolerance. This has broad implications. The children in this study were those with severe chronic constipation that was unresponsive to medications.
I am convinced that they are only the tip of the iceberg. There must be a much larger group of mildly allergic children whose constipation improves with laxatives. Time may prove that it is better for these children to avoid the offending protein by switching milks rather than being treated with laxatives. Presumably, swelling of the intestinal lining causes the constipation. Whatever the exact mechanism, the problem is likely with the protein in cow’s milk, not with the fat or lactose (the sugar).
Skim milk or lactose-free milk will not help with this one. Switching to soymilk and other soy products might transform the life of your son in only a couple of weeks! Unfortunately, some children are also soy protein intolerant. As it happens, this is more common in kids who are allergic to cow’s milk protein. If you don’t get good results within 2 weeks, I suggest also eliminating soy from the diet for 2 weeks as a trial.
You might use Alimentum or Nutramigen (protein hydrolysate infant formulas) as the milk for these next 2 weeks because your son is much less likely to be allergic to the protein in them. If they work, you can then experiment with other sources of calcium, protein, and fat for the future (perhaps rice milk). It’s not that common for simple changes to relieve relentless, longstanding problems. But when a child is made miserable by an allergy, removing the source can result in a rapid, dramatic improvement in the quality of life.
I hope, Shannon, that this turns out to be the case with your son and that this next season his smiles double to make up for those he has missed. Food AllergiesInfantInfant & Baby FeedingNutritionPee & PoopToddler Dr. Alan Greene Get Dr. Greene's Wellness Recommendations Sign up now for a delightful weekly email with insights for the whole family. Plus Dr. Greene's FREE Top 5 Wellness Tips For 2017.