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When Can I Give Packaged Milk To My Baby?

5 min read

Packaged milk

  • When To Give Packaged Milk To Babies?
  • When Can I Give Packaged Milk To My Baby?
  • Why Wait Before Giving Cow’s Milk To Baby?
  • Which Milk Can I Start With?
  • Why Packaged Milk For My Baby?
  • Tetra-pack or Packaged Milk For Baby?
  • Full Fat Or Toned Milk For Baby?
  • How Much Milk Does My Baby Need?

When To Give Packaged Milk To Babies?

Here is a topic on which the ‘new age’ moms vehemently oppose to the ‘old gen’ grandmas’ advices. The Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has confirmed that 70 per cent of the milk available in the country is adulterated with detergent, glucose and skim milk powder (Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/diet/The-A-Z-of-tetra-paks/articleshow/45165737.cms). It is no surprise that every mother is confused when, how, and which milk to start for the baby as an addition to breast/formula milk or when the baby is weaned off breast/formula milk. You must have had countless elders advise you to supplement your infant’s diet with cow’s or buffalo’s milk, especially if you are not able to breastfeed your baby exclusively. At the same time, doctors and online material insist on giving your child formula milk as top-up. Elders tend to have a distrust to anything that comes processed in a packet and hence prefer the natural cow’s milk. We try to answer the countless questions you might have on this topic below.

When Can I Give Packaged Milk To My Baby?

Till your baby turns one, you need to stick to breast milk and/or formula milk as the options for a main drink.
You can of course start using cow’s milk in food preparations like kheer, custard and dalia once your baby turns six months and you start introducing solid foods. You can read more about giving cow’s milk to baby here.
However, refrain from giving your baby a bottle or cup of cow’s or buffalo’s milk till his/her first birthday.

Why Wait Before Giving Cow’s Milk To Baby?

Cow’s or buffalo’s milk is definitely natural – but it is natural to the calves, not to your baby, at least not initially. What is natural for your baby is the milk you produce, or formula milk, that is prepared to closely resemble the mother’s milk. If you start substituting either of this with cow’s milk, for instance, earlier, then:

  • Your baby will be deprived of important nutrients, including iron, that breast milk and formula contains (cow’s milk does not contain as much iron)
  • Your baby’s digestive system will not be able to handle all the proteins and sodium present in cow’s milk
  • Your baby’s kidney might get impacted with the milk proteins and your baby might become allergic to cow’s milk

This is the reason doctors advise you to wait till the baby turns one to introduce other animal milk. Click here to read more.
Milk splash

Which Milk Can I Start With?

Once the baby turns one, cow’s milk is great to start with. It contains essential nutrients, proteins, minerals and vitamins (B2 and B12). Buffalo milk is also a great option – it contains more vitamins A, calcium, iron, phosphorus and protein than cow’s milk. However, you need to introduce it slowly and remember to remove the layer of fat/cream before giving it to the baby.
Ensure that the milk is boiled and pasteurized before giving it to the baby. Also, avoid goat’s milk and soya milk (unless your baby is lactose intolerant).
Organic milk is also gaining lot of popularity – however, there is a heated debate on if it is pure enough for a child. Please read up in detail about this before opting for it.

Why Packaged Milk For My Baby?

The next question is if to go for packaged milk or milk you buy directly from a farm. We recommend going for packaged milk in the beginning. This is because:

  • It is convenient, easily available and can be stored
  • It is already pasteurized, making it devoid of any harmful bacteria

Tetra-pack or Packaged Milk For Baby?

Once you decide to go for packaged milk, then there are two options available to you:

  • Packet milk, which normally is delivered on a daily basis at your doorstep with a shelf life of a 1-2 days in refrigerator
  • Tetra pack milk, which you can buy from any supermarket and has a shelf life of 180 days (and 5 days once opened)

Both options are widely used in India and both are safe options. That said, packaged milk is a less expensive option (~Rs.30 per liter) but there is a higher probability of adulteration in it. It is also inconvenient to use for travelling. Tetra pack milk, on the other hand, is more convenient and less adulterated. Moreover, the pack comes with detailed nutritional value of the milk inside. Tetra packs are convenient, easy to use, portable, and packed with essential nutrients. The downside is that its price is more than twice that of packaged milk. You can chose either of these options depending on your needs.
Toddler drinking milk

Full Fat Or Toned Milk For Baby?

You go to a super market or talk to your milk supplier and they will ask you what kind of milk you want – full fat or toned? It is recommended to go for full fat milk until your child is at least 2 years old. This is because all the toned varieties (semi-toned, double-toned, slim) are thinner, have lower calories and carries lesser nutrients. Toning is a process in which the fat content of cow’s or buffalo’s milk is reduced, but children do need all the fats and nutrients in their tender age. You can opt for skimmed milk after 2 years, first to the one at 3% and then to 1.5%. However, the advice of your pediatrician, the child’s development schedule, weight and activity levels will help you make the best choice.
That said, we also want to point out that some experts prefer toned milk to full fat milk as they are worried about the growing number of obese kids. So, if your child otherwise eats a balanced diet, then you can opt for toned milk without having to worry about the lesser nutrients.

How Much Milk Does My Baby Need?

You can give your baby up to 400 ml of milk daily. This can be given as a 200 ml morning drink and 200 ml evening drink. Or, if your baby is reluctant to have milk, then you can introduce other dairy products like paneer or cheese in his/her diet. Curd also makes an excellent choice to provide your baby with vitamins and nutrition.
Always remember to consult your pediatrician in case you have any doubts.

Responses (1)

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R

rati mittal

Jun 20, 2016

I too had similar questions when I was considering whether to give my child milk or not. After doing some research of my own and also speaking to my paediatrician, I found that completely pure milk would work best for my child. However like the article mentions, I always wanted to make sure that I was giving my child something that was 100% pure and fresh. A friend of mine told me about pride of cows milk as she gives her child the same milk. They delivered the milk chilled right to my doorstep and within hours of milking. Definitely comforting as a mother to know that I am feeding my child something that is completely safe and pure. Would definitely recommend it to other mothers who share the same worries.

R

rati mittal

Jun 20, 2016

I too had similar questions when I was considering whether to give my child milk or not. After doing some research of my own and also speaking to my paediatrician, I found that completely pure milk would work best for my child. However like the article mentions, I always wanted to make sure that I was giving my child something that was 100% pure and fresh. A friend of mine told me about pride of cows milk as she gives her child the same milk. They delivered the milk chilled right to my doorstep and within hours of milking. Definitely comforting as a mother to know that I am feeding my child something that is completely safe and pure. Would definitely recommend it to other mothers who share the same worries.

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