Home Parenting Whole Milk in the Baby’s Diet – Avoid or Not?

Whole Milk in the Baby’s Diet – Avoid or Not?

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If for some reason breastfeeding is not an option, then parents face the problem of replacing food for a baby. What to choose: adapted formula or milk? Pediatricians are unanimous in their recommendations – only formula,  whole milk is categorically not suitable for babies. Pediatricians strongly recommend not to include regular milk even diluted with water into a baby’s diet up to 12 months. There are a lot of reasons why:

  • unprocessed milk has a high concentration of protein and mineral salts (potassium, sodium, chlorine), which are serious stress for the immature kidneys and intestines of infants
  • whole milk reduces iron status. It contains little iron and vitamin C(which helps absorb iron). Мice versa, there is a lot of calcium and casein in the content, which interfere with the absorption of iron. In addition, unprocessed milk harms the baby’s intestinal mucosa, causing bleeding, which causes iron deficiency and anemia
  • consuming regular milk during the first year of life is associated with an increased risk of obesity and diabetes
  • there is too much phosphorus so it increases the stress for the kidneys and leads to the loss of calcium thus developing rickets

What about goat milk? Is it safer than cow or the same? Goat milk indeed causes allergies much less often, but still, this product has the same disadvantages as cow milk.   Goat one contains more essential fatty acids and a higher content of triglycerides(fats that are much easier for the body to absorb). However, it does not contain enough folate, which is necessary for the formation of red blood cells. Therefore, you should not feed a baby with goat milk for up to 1 year.

What to replace whole milk with?

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Breast milk is the only ideal food for newborns, however, this feeding is not suitable for everyone. So adapted formula is the best alternative. It is based on the processed cow or goat milk and is maximally adapted for the baby’s digestive system. For example, the protein content is reduced by almost 3 times. Additionally, the protein is fortified with whey to aid digestion. Also, in the content of most formulas, there are polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are in human milk and absent in the regular ones. Besides, formulas are enriched with useful substances called nucleotides that improve immunity, prebiotics, and probiotics for intestinal microflora. Some infant food contains lutein which is needed for vision.

The first adapted baby formula was created in the late 19th century and since then the content has improved a lot. Today, manufacturers aim to create formulas as close to breast milk as possible. Formulas are produced depending on the age of babies. For premature babies, for infants under 6 months of age, from 6 months, etc. It allows selecting the optimal nutrition and giving a child all the necessary components. There are also organic brands that include at least 95% of fully natural ingredients. On organicsbestshop.com there are formulas created according to strict EU regulations so you can be sure your little one will have everything needed for development.

Are there benefits for babies from whole milk?

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There surely are advantages for kids from whole milk, but only if the organism is mature enough for its absorption. It is a real storehouse of calcium, which plays a major role in the formation of the musculoskeletal system. In addition, this product contains a large amount of vitamin D, without which calcium cannot be absorbed well.

Furthermore, it provides a baby with essential amino acids, which synthesize the basic building blocks of cells and tissues. Carbohydrates in the content provide energy. Science has proven that if a child consumes too little calcium, then the risk of hypertension, stroke, and the development of fractures in the future increases significantly. However, it is not necessary to stop breast or bottle feeding after including regular milk in the diet because both these sources of nutrients combine very well and complement each other.

The proper time for whole milk

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Whole milk is undoubtedly a valuable and nutritious product, but only if the child’s organism is ready to fully assimilate it. Most specialists recommend giving up unprocessed products until at least 8 months of age. However, even at this age children should not drink unprocessed milk, but it might be used to make porridge or other dishes. As an independent product, regular milk can be introduced into the children’s menu no earlier than  2 years old. At this age, the kids’ digestive system is ready to use all the benefits of this product without health risks.

Each new product is introduced gradually. Whole milk of 3.2% fat is diluted with water in a ratio of 1:3 and only one teaspoon is given per day to start. If a child absorbs it well, the amount is increased, bringing it to 100 ml (about 25 ml of milk and 75% water).

How to choose the right milk?

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When choosing the proper one for a baby, give preference to special baby products that have contents that are much more adapted for an immature system. This special baby product has a higher quality because it is made only from healthy animals kept in ecologically safe areas. Microbiological control works at each stage of production and the number of certain bacteria at each stage of processing is strictly standardized.

What’s more, baby milk has an optimal fat percentage in the range of 2.5-3.5%. Milk for children is pasteurized at ultra-high temperatures from 120 to 140 degrees for 3-4 seconds, after which it is quickly cooled. As a result of such processing, all pathogenic microorganisms are destroyed, and beneficial ones remain unchanged.

Some parents decide on a skimmed product, but the best time for it is 3 years old. Up to this age, a kid needs the fats found in whole milk which provide a kid with vitamin D and help gain weight.

When whole milk is completely contraindicated?

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There are pathologies when the use of unprocessed milk is completely abandoned. For example, when a child is prone to allergies, casein is poorly digested, and it enters the bloodstream provoking stress for the immature system. You should not include milk in the diet of kids with lactose deficiency. Any metabolic disorders associated with digestion are also reasons for refusing unprocessed milk. Impaired absorption of galactose is also the cause of rejection.