Dr. Alan Greene on Introducing Cow's Milk

Is it time to start giving my baby cow's milk to drink?

Question

I was told I could start giving my 9-month-old son a cup or bottle of regular milk a day to get him ready to wean from formula. Is that true?

Answer

There has been a lot of controversy over the years about the best time to introduce regular milk. The best evidence now suggests that it's best to wait until one year for several reasons.

It looks like the early introduction of regular cow's milk makes it more likely that kids will develop diabetes, especially in diabetes-prone families. Regular milk can also increase the chance of allergies, eczema, and anemia at that age. And, it doesn't have all the nutrients of formula. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk or formula throughout the entire first year.

If you want to wean from the bottle earlier than one year, that's fine. But offer formula in a cup instead of whole milk.

From age 1 to 2, whole milk is the best for most kids. And then 2 percent from age 2 to 3. Kids can do fine with no milk at all, as long as they get plenty of calcium, protein, and fat.

 

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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