Your baby is growing fast, and you may be wondering what food best serves the infant's nutritional requirements. While almost all experts believe human breast milk to be the best food for infants, there is disagreement among them regarding the use of cow's milk or goat's milk. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not feeding cow's milk to children under the age of one.
Here are some of the reasons why cow's milk should not be given to very young children:
- Nutrition – Breast milk is naturally fortified with appropriate amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. In addition, it provides digestive enzymes, vitamins, and hormones that are essential in the infant stage. While cow's milk also has these components, the proportions are not the same.
- Immune System – Antibodies found in breast milk protect the baby from infections. These antibodies are not to be found in commercial milk-based formulas.
- Allergy – Infants may develop an allergy to dairy products when fed cow's milk early in life.
Allergy to cow's milk is the most common food allergy in infants. The symptoms of allergy are:
- Abdominal pain
After a doctor has confirmed an allergy to cow's milk, the following treatment options can be considered:
- Elimination of all milk-based products
- Medications to reduce allergic reactions
Your doctor may customize the treatment plan based on your child's needs. Usually, most children outgrow their allergy as they grow up.