The first person to ever try cow’s milk was pretty brave. And innovative! Cow’s milk is a huge staple of many cultures’ diets, and it provides its drinkers with important nutrients. You might be rocking a thick milk moustache as we speak – or maybe it’s just not to your taste. Either way, you might be thinking about if, when, and how you should introduce Baby to the stuff.
By now you know that pediatricians advise against introducing Baby to cow’s milk before they are 1 year old, and there are a lot of reasons for this recommendation. You might find that there’s nothing nicer than guzzling some chocolate milk now and then. But cow’s milk contains proteins that babies’ bodies can’t digest, as well as inhibitors that block the healthy absorption of iron and nutrients that could lead to dehydration, so it really is better to wait until their bodies are ready.
Right now, though, Baby is past the age where cow’s milk would be unhealthy for them. So if they hasn’t made the switch yet, and you want them to try it out, you can definitely start seeing if they like it.
Choose whole milk
Milk allergies – not to be confused with lactose intolerance – are rare, and are often outgrown after a few years of toddlerhood. But it doesn’t hurt to be on the lookout for signs of a milk allergy in Baby, to make sure that they isn’t getting sick from drinking cow’s milk. Symptoms of a milk allergy include hives, nausea or vomiting, runny nose or watery eyes, and raspy breathing. If Baby starts to show any of these symptoms after drinking milk, tell your healthcare provider immediately. He or she can run some tests to see if the milk is what’s causing these symptoms.
Lactose intolerance occurs when a person can’t digest the sugar in milk. Most young children aren’t lactose intolerant, because their bodies produce enough enzymes to break down the sugar in breast milk and cow’s milk. However, if Baby starts to experience cramps, nausea, and diarrhea anywhere from a half hour to 2 hours after drinking milk, you should speak to your healthcare provider to make sure that Baby isn’t lactose intolerant.
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- Bridget Colia. “Risk of Toddler Drinking Too Much Milk.” SF Gate. SF Gate. Web.
- Tamara Duker Freuman. “How (and Why) to Introduce Allergens to Your Infant.” U.S. News and World Report. U.S. News and World Report, March 19 2013. Web.
- Alexander K.C. Leung, Reginald S. Suave. “Whole cow’s milk in infancy.” Paediatr Child Health. Sep; 8(7): 419–421. Web. September 2013.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Milk allergy.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, August 7 2014. Web.