Formula vs. Cow's Milk
Young infants cannot digest cow’s milk as completely or easily as they digest formula. Cow’s milk contains high concentrations of protein and minerals, which can stress a newborn’s immature kidneys and cause severe illness at times of heat stress, fever, or diarrhea. In addition, cow’s milk lacks the proper amounts of iron, vitamin C and other nutrients that infants need. It may even cause iron-deficiency anemia in some babies, since cow’s milk protein can irritate the lining of the stomach and intestine, leading to loss of blood into the stools. Cow’s milk also does not contain the healthiest types of fat for growing babies. For these reasons, your baby should not receive any regular cow’s milk for the first twelve months of life.
Once your baby is past one year old, you may give him whole cow’s milk, provided he has a balanced diet of solid foods (cereals, vegetables, fruits, and meats). But limit his intake of milk to one quart (32 ounces or 946 ml) per day. More than this can provide too many calories and may decrease his appetite for the other foods he needs. If your baby is not yet eating a broad range of solid foods, talk to your pediatrician about the best nutrition for him.
At this age, children still need a higher fat content, which is why whole vitamin D milk is recommended for most infants after one year of age. If your child is overweight or at risk for being overweight, or if there is a family history of obesity, high blood pressure, or heart disease, your pediatrician may recommend 2% milk (reduced fat) instead. Do not give your baby 1% (low-fat) or nonfat (skimmed) milk before his second birthday. In addition to needing a higher fat content to maintain normal weight gain, it is also important to help his body absorb vitamins A and D. Also, nonfat, or skimmed, milk provides too high a concentration of protein and minerals and should not be given to infants or toddlers under age two. After two years of age, you should discuss your child’s nutritional needs, including choice of low-fat or nonfat milk products, with your pediatrician.1
Transition Baby to Whole Cow Milk
It is easier to make the transition from formula or breast milk to whole milk by slowly adding the milk to the formula/breast milk.There are many babies who may be put off by whole milk simply because it is too cold for them. When you begin to transition your baby to drinking whole milk, warm it up a bit before you serve it.
Main types of infant formula
· Cow milk protein-based formulas - Most infant formula is made with cow's milk that's been altered to resemble breast milk. This gives the formula the right balance of nutrients and makes the formula easier to digest. Most babies do well on cow's milk formula. Some babies, however such as those allergic to the proteins in cow's milk need other types of infant formula.
· Soy-based formulas - Soy-based formulas can be useful if you want to exclude animal proteins from your child's diet. Soy-based infant formulas might also be an option for babies who are intolerant or allergic to cow's milk formula or to lactose, a carbohydrate naturally found in cow's milk. However, babies who are allergic to cow's milk might also be allergic to soy milk.
· Protein hydrolysate formulas - These types of formulas contain protein that's been broken down (hydrolyzed), partially or extensively into smaller sizes than are those in cow's milk and soy-based formulas. Protein hydrolysate formulas are meant for babies who don't tolerate cow's milk or soy-based formulas. Extensively hydrolyzed formulas are an option for babies who have a protein allergy.
In addition, specialized formulas are available for premature infants and babies who have specific medical conditions.
1) „Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5“ (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics)