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Cow’s milk and children

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Cow's milk and children
Cow's milk and children

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Milk and children

Information    Return to top

Although some have raised controversy about the safety of cow's milk for children, there is no conclusive evidence that it is unsafe for this age group. Cow's milk is not recommended, however, for infants younger than 1 year old.

Many baby formulas are based on cow's milk, but the milk in formula has been altered significantly to contain similar proportions and amounts of carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals as human breast milk. The types of fat have also been changed. Children age 1 to 2 should only drink whole milk, since they need the fat to maintain brain development.

If your child cannot tolerate lactose (milk sugar) or galactose (one of the two sugars that makes up lactose), or if your child has a milk allergy, your pediatrician will recommend soy formula. About half of the infants who have an allergy to milk also have an allergy to soy, in which case a specialized formula will be prescribed.

Many children outgrow these allergies or intolerances by age 1, but children with one food allergy are at greater risk for developing others.

Many infant formulas are fortified with iron to promote growth and development and to prevent iron deficiency anemia.

Update Date: 10/23/2007

Updated by: Daniel Rauch, MD, FAAP, Director, Pediatric Hospitalist Program, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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