Cow's milk - infants
If your child is under 1 year old, you should not feed your baby cow's milk, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Cow's milk doesn't provide enough:
Your baby's system can't handle the high levels of these nutrients in cow's milk:
It's also hard for your baby to digest the protein and fat in cow's milk.
To provide the best diet and nutrition for your infant, the AAP recommends that:
- If possible, you should feed your baby breast milk
for the first 6 months of life.
- You should give your baby only breast milk or iron-fortified formula during the first 12 months of life, not cow's milk.
- Starting at age 6 months, you may add solid foods to your baby's diet.
If breastfeeding is not possible, infant formulas
provide a healthy diet for your infant
Whether you use breast milk or formula, your baby may have colic and be fussy
. These are common problems in all babies. Most of the time, cow's milk formulas don't cause these symptoms, so it won't help if you switch to a different formula.
American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. Pediatrics. March 1, 2012;12(3):e827-e841.
Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.