If you want to know when to introduce dairy products to babies then you have chosen the best article. Dairy products are full of nutrients and everyone wants to give nutrients rich food to their baby. We have shared a complete explanation about the exact time to give milk and other milk products to babies and possible preventions. This information will be helpful to keep your baby healthy and active.

When to start giving cow milk to a baby?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Cow milk should not be given to babies as their main source of nutrition until the 12th month. The main source of nutrients should be mother milk for babies which is full of nutrients. Cow milk lacks certain nutrients, especially vitamin E and iron which are required for the good health of a baby.

Before the age of 12 months, breast milk or infant formula should be given to babies. Until six months they should only rely on milk. After 6 months solid food can also be introduced as an accessory source of nutrients along with milk. During this time you can only give them milk and other dairy products should be avoided.

dairy products for baby

After 12 months the baby can be given cow milk but just consider it a beverage not a substitute for breast milk. The main nutritional source for the baby should be breast milk or infant formula until 2 years. Children having ages between one and two years can be served with whole milk. Whole milk is rich in calories and fat for development and fat. 

Tips to introduce cow milk to baby:

Introducing cow milk to babies is an important step and it should be done with care. Here are some important tips relating to giving cow milk and other dairy products to babies.

Wait until the baby reaches 12 months:

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has given recommendations that do not give co milk to babies as a main drink until 12 months.

Starting with small amounts:

When you start introducing cow milk to babies first give them milk in small amounts. You can give them a few tablespoons of milk at a time and slowly increase the amount after a few weeks.

Mixing cow milk with infant's formula:

It is also suggested to mix cow milk with infant formula. If you are giving breast milk to a baby then try to mix cow milk with that. This will allow the baby to get used to the taste and texture of milk.

Using whole milk:

 Use whole milk for the baby as it contains fat and nutrients in a balanced amount. These are best for the proper growth and development of children.

Check for allergic reactions:

When you introduce cow milk to the baby, then monitor any allergic reactions in the baby. If your baby has any allergy to cow milk then signs like swelling, hives, diarrhea, or vomiting will be there. After noticing any of these symptoms, do not give cow milk to the baby anymore. In that case, you should consult with the pediatrician for any other substitute. 

When to introduce yogurt to baby:

If you are giving your baby solid food then you can give them yogurt at the age of six months. You should choose plain whole-fat yogurt for giving to the baby. Do not add sugar or any other artificial sweetener to the yogurt. Yogurt is very beneficial for health and rich in calcium, proteins, and probiotics. It is also good for a healthy digestive system.

dairy products to baby

The first time just give one or two teaspoons of yogurt to the baby. If he/she likes it and no signs of allergy are there then you can give them more after some time. Before introducing any new food in the diet of the baby always consult with the pediatrician.

Tips to serve yogurt to baby:

If you want to add yogurt to the diet of your 12 months baby for their good health then follow these instructions.

Wait until 6 months:

Do not give yogurt to babies before they are 6 months old. After six months the digestive system of the baby is ready to digest the nutrients in yogurt.

Choose whole milk yogurt:

Do not use flavored yogurt as it contains added flavors and sugar. Plain yogurt is best for the proper health of your baby.

Starting with small portions:

Always serve yogurt to the baby in small portions. These may be one or two spoons. If your baby gets no allergic reactions then it ok and you can continue for next time. You can also increase the content of yogurt gradually.

Mix with fruits:

To enrich yogurt with flavors and nutrients you can also add some fruits or fresh fruit juice in the yogurt. Your baby will be happy to taste such yogurt.

Room temperature:

It is best to serve yogurt at room temperature or if it is hot outside you can chill the yogurt to a small extent. Do not heat the yogurt, as it will kill the beneficial bacteria in the yogurt.

Using clean utensils:

Always use clean and clear utensils used to serve the yogurt. It helps to avoid any contamination in the yogurt.

Store yogurt properly:

If there is any leftover yogurt then store it safely and make sure to use it early. Try to use fresh yogurt for your baby always. After one day outside the refrigerator, it got contaminated and affects the health of the baby badly. 

When to introduce cheese to baby?

Cheese is also one of the good flavored and healthy dairy products. Cheese is rich in nutrients and has a yummy and delicious taste. You may be consider it the best dairy product for you but it is not suitable for too small babies. Before 6 months of age, you should not give any type of solid food to babies whether it is grain meal or dairy product.  It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).  But after six months, the baby can be given small amounts of dairy products including cheese. 

dairy products to baby

You should keep in mind to purchase mild and soft varieties of cheese like cottage cheese or cream cheese etc. Baby can easily chew and digest these types of cheese. Do not choose processed cheese in which flavors are added or that are hard to chew for babies. 

Processed dairy products are not good for the health of the babies. Note that all the dairy products that you eat are not suitable for babies. Instead of being useful for infants such dairy products may be harmful for them.

You should not give just cheese to your baby as their whole diet. The main source of their nutrition should be still breast milk or infant formula. Cheese does not have all the necessary nutrients to help the kids grow and develop well. Maintaining a balanced diet for babies is very important for their proper physical and mental development.

Why it is not safe to replace cow milk with breast milk?

Nature has designed breast milk to provide all the necessary nutritional content to infants. It has a unique complement of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, fats, and minerals to meet the demands of growing babies. Breast milk is also enriched with antibodies that provide protection from infections and diseases in infants.

On the other hand cow milk is styled by nature to fulfill the nutritional need of baby cows. This dairy product has different combinations of nutrients in comparison to breast milk. So human babies can not easily digest cow milk. Some other useful components are not present in cow milk as present in breast milk. One of these components is antibodies. so the dairy products prepared with cow milk have similar properties and are not secure for infants.

Another factor to be noticed is that breast milk is a safe, secure, and sterile source of nutrition for babies without the danger of any contaminants. While cow milk may be contaminated by germs or other substances during its processing. Some infants get allergies and other reactions from cow milk.

These all are the reasons that pediatricians suggest that it is not secure to replace breast milk with cow milk for infants.  similarly, other dairy products before the age of 6 months are not secure for infants. However, if the mother is not able due to any reasons to breastfeed, then alternative options can be chosen. At this condition, infant formula suggested by pediatricians should be opted for.

What to do if your baby has dairy allergies?

If you are using any dairy product in the diet of your baby and there are any symptoms of allergy in your baby. Then do not worry and follow these steps. Dairy products may cause allergies due to the presence of some components to which babies get sensitive.

Consulting with pediatricians:

If you think that any symptoms of allergy are showing in your baby, then consult with a pediatrician without wasting time. You can ask them to give you a diet plan for your baby.

Avoid dairy and dairy products:

In case of allergy symptoms avoid feeding any dairy products to your baby. Read carefully all other processed foods to check for any dairy ingredients in them.

Look for dairy-free formula:

If you are using any infant- formula for your baby then after consulting with a pediatrician choose any dairy-free formula for your baby. This option is only chosen if your baby has any allergy to dairy.

Using substitutes for calcium and protein sources:

Dairy products are rich in proteins and calcium, so if your baby is allergic to dairy products. Then make sure to give them alternative sources of calcium and proteins. Best sources of calcium include fortified tofu, leafy green vegetables, and fortified juices. While good protein sources are poultry, meat, eggs, fish, and legumes. 

Avoid cross-contamination with dairy products:

Use precautions to avoid cross-contamination between utensils used for food preparation and dairy products. 

These may also enhance the chances of allergic reactions.

Monitor the growth and development of the baby:

Properly monitor whether your baby is attaining weight and passing through developmental stages or not. In case of any concern consult with a pediatrician.

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