You have heard that you should refrain from giving your baby cow’s milk till the age of one. At the same time, you have heard people talk about using milk to cook baby’s recipes even for ones younger than one year. You have also heard smaller babies being given cheese and curd. Confused as to when to introduce dairy products in your baby’s diet? Read on.
There are two main reasons why pediatricians discourage giving cow’s milk before 12 months:
So it is best to stick to only breastmilk or formula milk in the initial year as the primary source for your children
Yes, even though you should not give your baby large quantities of cow’s milk as a replacement of breastmilk in the initial year, cow’s milk can be used in small amounts when you prepare various dishes for your baby, like porridge. However, make sure that your baby is not lactose intolerant or is allergic to milk. Follow the same principles as you would when you introduce a new food item to baby’s diet. Some kids also tend to be colicky when cow’s milk is introduced. If you think that your baby has become more restless after you introduced dairy in his diet, consider avoiding it till baby turns one.
Yogurts are also a good source of calcium and active probiotic culture which will help in baby’s digestion. You can give your baby yogurt from as early as six months. Remember the following pointers:
For starters, yogurt does not really replace breastmilk or formula milk. Yogurt is just an additional food item given to your baby. So, breastmilk or formula will continue to remain your baby’s primary source of milk.
Secondly, yogurt is always given in small quantities. If cow’s milk is introduced, kids tend to consume larger quantities of cow’s milk and the increased calcium content from the cow’s milk can reduce the absorption of iron. Yogurt on the other hand is never had in such high quantities that it can result in an iron deficiency.
Just like yogurt, even cheese can be introduced to baby’s diet once he turns 6 months. Remember the following pointers:
Although cow’s milk cannot be given to your babies, most of the other dairy products can be introduced to your babies’ diet as they are:
Overall, they are a great source of energy for the little ones. Yogurts or cheeses are the best first dairy products for your baby. But if your baby is lactose intolerant or is allergic to milk or there is a history of food allergies, seasonal allergies, asthma etc. in the family, your pediatrician will advise you to wait a little longer before introducing cheese and yogurt to your baby’s diet. Most babies outgrow their allergies, so it is better to wait and watch. But if your baby does not show any signs of discomfort after consuming dairy products, let him go ahead and enjoy!