During your baby’s first months, your breast milk – or the formula that you give – will provide the perfect balance of nutrition in the perfect form. You will usually be advised that these forms of milk continue to be given for baby’s first 12 months, because:
- The protein in cow’s milk will be difficult for your baby to digest until her digestive system is more robust.
- Cow’s milk does not contain enough iron for a baby’s needs until 9 to 12 months of age – iron is essential for your baby’s physical and mental development and growth.
But when your baby is old enough for cow’s milk and dairy foods, they will provide excellent levels of:
- Vitamins A, B12 and D
Introducing cow’s milk and dairy foods to your baby
For most of your baby’s first year, cow’s milk will not be suitable as a primary source of nutrition, although it may be OK in small amounts in any cooking that you do for baby – as long as you remember to watch carefully for symptoms of any allergy or digestive problems when you first introduce it into your baby’s diet.
If there is any family history of food-related allergy,you need to speak to your baby’s doctor – who may advise you to wait until baby is at least a year old before introducing any cow’s milk or dairy food.
If there is any family history of specific allergy to cow’s milk or dairy foods DO NOT INTRODUCE ANY AT ALL BEFORE YOUR BABY’S FIRST BIRTHDAY.
When you first begin to introduce dairy foods to your baby, yogurt and cheese are good – they are easier to digest than other dairy items because the proteins in them are already broken down during the processes of fermenting and maturing.
Yogurt is extremely nutritious – it contains active cultures that will benefit your baby’s health, and it is a good source of calcium.
- Pure, natural yogurts are best – many others contain too much sugar (especially the ones designed for children). Add your own pureed fruit for different flavours, but do not add honey for sweetness
- Full-fat yogurts are particularly good -the fat provides the energy that your baby needs, and there are higher amounts of vitamins A and D in full-fat yogurts than skimmed-milk varieties
It’s OK to introduce cheese into your baby’s diet from 6 months of age. Start with milder ones such as cottage cheese – though some babies enjoy the stronger tasting ones!
- Cheese is rich in calcium, and will also be a great source of energy for your baby.
- Camembert, Brie, and similar mould ripened cheeses are unsafe for your baby at this stage.
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.