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Introducing cow's milk: why am I supposed to wait till 12 months?

Many parents wonder why they cannot simply give their baby cow’s milk, instead of formula or breastmilk, before they turn one year old. The answer is simple. Cow’s milk contains certain proteins that babies’ stomachs and digestive tracts can’t process. It’s also too high in minerals like sodium and potassium that can be too much for your baby’s kidneys to handle.

Not only that, but it’s also lacking in many of the essential vitamins and minerals that your baby needs in order to grow. In fact, cow’s milk can be so bad for your baby, that it can cause internal bleeding.

After twelve months, however, your baby’s body will be able to process cow's milk. It then becomes an important food source, giving your baby calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A and phosphorus. It helps to build strong bones, regulate muscle control and aids in blood coagulation.

If your one year old child does not like cow’s milk, or does not want to drink it when you offer it to him or her, there are a few things you can try.

Try mixing the cow’s milk with his or her formula or breast milk, or using it in his or her breakfast cereal. You can even introduce new forms of dairy, like cheese or yogurt.

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