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Your little one needs vitamin B12, D and calcium for healthy development of his bones and other organs. Besides being vital for cognitive and physical development, getting the proper nutrients in the right ratios matters between the first 12 to 24 months. Here’s what you need to know about introducing dairy to the baby.
When Can Babies Have Which Dairy Products?
Babies can have dairy products after 1 year of age. Read on to learn more about dairy for babies and more.
1. Cow’s Milk
Cow’s milk is usually not recommended before the age of 1 year. Some babies are prone to allergies, and cow’s milk is known to cause dehydration and iron deficiencies, which is why it’s best to water until after 12 months. If your baby doesn’t experience allergies and your family doesn’t have a medical history of experiencing allergies, then you may consider homogenized milk after the age of eight months.
Yoghurt is an excellent source of vitamins B12, D, protein, calcium, potassium, and fat. Fat is required for Whole-brain development and growth of bones and tissues. Plus, yoghurt is easy to digest. If you’re going for yoghurt, opt for a whole-milk variant. Avoid artificially sweetened yoghurts and incorporate naturally sweetened plain yoghurts in their diet. If your baby is lactose intolerant, then consult a paediatrician and wait a while before he reaches the right age.
You can give your cheese to your little one once he/she reaches eight months of age as long there are no signs of lactose intolerance. Add it to fruits, salads, meat and vegetables or even make it into delicious mini-sandwiches. Check the nutrition label for low-salt content when buying the type of cheese.
In What Quantity Can Dairy Products be Given to Babies?
According to the US Department of Agriculture, infants between the age of two and three years are recommended to consume 480ml (16 ounces) of dairy products daily for best results. We recommend supplementing dairy products to their diets for best results and not completely replacing breast milk or formulae. Here are the most common recommended dairy products for babies-
1. Whole Milk
Whole milk is a good source of calcium, vitamin A and D for your little one.
Recommended Quantity: Whole milk consumption for infants between 1 to 2 years of age should not exceed any more than 24 ounces a day
- Use whole-fat milk when feeding your baby
- Avoid cow’s milk since it’s indigestible at this age
Yoghurt contains active enzymes which aid in digestion and goes down easily in the stomach, especially plain old natural yoghurt.
Recommended Quantity: We recommend giving your little one 8 ounces of yoghurt a day
- Avoid artificially sweetened yoghurts since they’re loaded with sugar.
- Make your own yoghurts at home and serve fresh.
- Do not add honey to yoghurts and use fruits for adding natural sweetness
Cheese is an excellent source of vitamin D and B12. Give some cheese to your baby for a tasty treat!
Recommended Quantity: Half an ounce of cheese a day will give your little one the recommended dosage of nutrients for growth and development.
- Use shredded cheese or melted cheese to prevent your little one from choking
- Cottage cheese is recommended, and alternatives include low-salt versions of Jack and Cobbly cheeses.
What Are the Health Benefits of Dairy Products for Infants?
The following are the health benefits of dairy products for infants-
- Calcium – They are a good source of calcium, a nutrient that promotes the development of strong and healthy bones.
- Vitamin B12– Vitamin B12 is essential for proper cognitive development in children.
- Protein-Protein is a source of energy for the body and aids in the growth and development of organs and tissues.
- Calories – Your little one may not be taking in enough calories for growth and energy. Taking a little bit of dairy goes a long way towards preventing fatigue and promoting proper joint and organ development.
What If Your Baby is Allergic to Dairy?
If your baby is allergic to dairy, then you may notice the following symptoms of dairy allergy in breastfed babies-
- Crying for long periods after being fed
- Lack of proper sleep
- Dry Skin
- Ear Infections
- Green Stools (with mucus/blood)
Things to Remember Before Introducing Dairy Products to a Baby
- Check your family medical history – Does your family have a medical history of lactose intolerance at some point in time? If so, it may be a good idea to wait till your little one turns 12 months before adding dairy to their diet.
- Avoid Cow’s Milk – Cow’s milk doesn’t digest quite well in babies and may lead to dehydration and iron deficiencies. Go for homogenized or pasteurized milk, instead. Switch to low-fat versions after a while.
- Do Not Stop Breastfeeding – Your little one gets his main dose of nutrients from your breast milk. All those excess nutrients come in handy as his organs develop and bones start taking shape. Dairy products should serve as a supplement to breastfeeding and nutritional diets, not replace them totally.
- Consult a Paediatrician – If you notice your little one lose his appetite or any signs of dairy intolerance in babies, then consult a paediatrician. Period.
If your little one is allergic to dairy products or gets fussy when being fed, then make sure to consult a paediatrician and wait a few more months before introducing them to the wonders and flavours of natural dairy products.
Also Read: Introducing Cheese to Babies