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Thread: When to Introduce Cow's Milk?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    183

    Default When to Introduce Cow's Milk?

    LO is 12mos now, and DH asked about when we were going to start giving him cow's milk. Is there any documentation on introducing it do LO's diet? We've already started him on homemade yogurt, which he loves. And we're not planning on completely weaning yet, but DH and I are planning on upping his solids during the day and wondered about the whole what to give LO to drink (besides water).

    Thoughts?
    3/2011 {EBF to 6mos, now BF and BLS, CD, EC'ing since 5mos - in underwear at 11mos, and babywearing}
    Babywearing International has chapters - see if there's one near you... most have lending libraries!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,355

    Default Re: When to Introduce Cow's Milk?

    If you want, you can safely introduce cow's milk at 12 months. Or so goes the recommendation in the US. In Europe, the recommendation is that cow's milk can be introduced in the 9-12 month range. Apparently cow's milk is irritating to a baby's underdeveloped gut, and that can cause anemia. That's why you're supposed to delay until 12 months. Or 9. The science is sort of... Not there yet, IMO!

    One thing a lot of people- including some doctors- don't realize is that there's no necessity to make cow's milk part of your child's diet. The are plenty of ways to get a baby's fat and calcium requirements met without using animal milk. Best among them is to continue to nurse- AFAIK, as long as you're nursing 3-5 times a day breastmilk is all your child needs. Whole milk yogurt and cheese are also excellent sources of fat and calcium, and many babies like that stuff better than cow's milk. You can also feed your LO lots of fat or calcium-rich solids, like leafy greens, tofu, avocado, soybeans and/or soy milk, almonds and/or almond milk, etc.

    If you want to introduce cow's milk now, go ahead. But don't feel like you must, particularly if you're still nursing frequently.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Middle of nowhere in Ohio
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    Default Re: When to Introduce Cow's Milk?

    I used coconut milk. I was worried about cows milk upsetting my son's stomach. He loves the taste and I don't have to worry about it upsetting his stomach.
    Passed my CLC exam!

    Mother of 3: 12-25-04 12-3-07 1-13-2011

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    175

    Default Re: When to Introduce Cow's Milk?

    I am glad to see this thread because I had a similar question. My 19 month old twins are not ready to wean yet (they still nurse 3-4 times a day) but I do know that we would like to introduce cow's milk at some point. It's something that the rest of the family drinks, and practically-speaking, it's the right choice for us.

    I have seen that babies should not receive cow's milk until 12 months for various reasons, such as irritating the bowel, not having the proper nutrient makeup for humans, etc. But for the breastfeeding child, I am not sure at what time it's appropriate to begin giving cow's milk if that is your choice.

    Does the introduction of cow's milk directly lead towards weaning? Or is it just a supplemental beverage (ie. instead of water, in moderate quantities) and breastfeeding can continue if the children also consume cow's milk?
    Mom to amazing twins!
    DD nursed for 3y5m, DS still occasionally stops by for a snack

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    6,562

    Default Re: When to Introduce Cow's Milk?

    Cow's milk won't lead to weaning any more than any other food unless you push it to.

    I introduced cow's milk to both my children at 12 months, my older daughter nursed until 25 months and my younger one is still nursing at 14.5 months.
    Tracie

    Mommy to
    Lilah 10/08 nursed 25 months
    Beatrix 01/11 nursed 30 months

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,355

    Default Re: When to Introduce Cow's Milk?

    You can introduce cow's milk to the breastfed baby at 12 months. As long as you use it as a supplemental beverage, as you described, and don't use it in an attempt to replace feedings at the breast, it is unlikely that it will cause weaning any more than a sippy of juice or water would.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: When to Introduce Cow's Milk?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommy2lilah View Post
    Cow's milk won't lead to weaning any more than any other food unless you push it to.

    I introduced cow's milk to both my children at 12 months, my older daughter nursed until 25 months and my younger one is still nursing at 14.5 months.
    Glad to hear this! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I've heard so many mixed things and I'm glad to hear from a mum who did introduce cow's milk and continued to nurse. That was my big worry. I don't want to discourage nursing as I am committed to my children weaning when they are ready, though at some point I do want to introduce them to a drink that I know they will have long after they are done nursing. I just didn't want to damage the nursing relationship by giving "the wrong thing" if that makes sense. I don't want them to feel as though I am trying to substitute cow's milk for our nursing sessions and I will just be sure to give it to them when I usually give water, such as right after solid meals. I'm not quite brave enough to start cow's milk yet, but now I feel a bit better about starting it earlier than I otherwise might have...

    Thank you, ladies, for your thoughts!
    Mom to amazing twins!
    DD nursed for 3y5m, DS still occasionally stops by for a snack

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