When can babies start drinking cow’s milk?

A lot of parents are unclear whether cow’s milk is good for complementary food or how to introduce milk to baby or whether it is better to do without it completely in the first year of life. Is it allowed to give cow’s milk already in the first year of life? When can you start feeding your baby with mother’s milk and how do you feed it best? We will answer your questions about feeding your baby with milk.

In the first year of life, the newborn goes through three stages of feeding, starting with an exclusive milk diet, later supplemented by supplementary food and the transition to family meals. If the baby is not breastfed, industrially produced baby PRE formula is the only alternative to breast milk. It is well known that baby formula should not be produced at home from cow’s milk or other types of milk at all. However, many parents are unsure whether cow’s milk is suitable for supplementary feeding or whether it is better to do without it completely in the first year of life.

Can cow’s milk be given in the first year of life?

Calcium supplier, vitamin supplier and an energy booster, in short cow’s milk is a great pick-me-up. It also contains a lot of high-quality protein, easily digestible fat and short-chain carbohydrates in the form of milk sugar (lactose), which can be quickly utilized by the body. However, the situation is quite different for babies.

Particularly the high protein content of cow’s milk would put too much stress on the little ones’ kidneys. Superfluous protein is converted into urea and transported away with the urine via the kidneys. If the protein consumption becomes too high, the kidneys are no longer able to filter the urea out of the blood.

The answer to the question is yes. During the first year of life, cow’s milk can be given once a day as an additive to milk-cereal porridge. Drinking cow’s milk should only be added to the family meals at the end of the first year of life.

How to introduce milk to baby

Parents are recommended to follow the dietary plan of the Research Institute of Child Nutrition, where cereals gradually supplement or replace the formula of the baby’s meal. Experts advise that complementary foods should be introduced at the beginning of the fourth month of life at the earliest and at the beginning of the seventh month at the latest.

Milk in a cereal

As an ingredient in the milk-cereal porridge, babies from the fourth month on can certainly get some cow’s milk. If mom or dad mix the porridge, they add a maximum of about 200 ml (equals 6.76 ounces) of whole milk. Whether fresh or long-life milk, it makes no difference. The daily ration is then exhausted. The baby should not be given more milk or milk products, except for breast milk.

Milk-cereal porridge is also recommended for children with an increased risk of allergies

An increased risk of allergy is present if at least one parent or sibling has an allergy. Today we know that avoiding or delaying the introduction of cow’s milk offers no protection against allergies. Experts assume on the contrary that conscious contact with possible allergens such as cow’s milk in the first year of life promotes tolerance development in childhood.

Milk in a bottle

If the baby is not or not exclusively breastfed, industrially manufactured baby PRE formula belongs in the bottle, not cow’s milk. This contains significantly more protein and minerals than breast milk. Excess and breakdown products are excreted with the urine. More water is also lost in the process.


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