Can babies drink cow milk?

According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, babies who are 12 months old should either drink human breast milk or infant formula. They should avoid drinking cow’s milk. So can we say that cows made milk dangerous for little ones?

LiveScience was told by the dr Jae Kim director of the division of neonatology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital that human milk is produced specifically for human babies while cow’s milk is for calves. In the milk of cows, there are proteins present in the milk that are too hard for babies to digest. It also lacks vitamins and minerals such as iron that are needed by the babies for their better development. The final formula for milk of the infants is along with other essentials.

According to Dr. Kim

Doctor Kim says the kidney and immune system of infants need time to mature before they safely digest new types of proteins that are found in the milk of cows. The milk of the cow contains a high concentration of protein and minerals. This high concentration of milk can cause stress to the miniature kidneys and swerve illnesses in your child. This all is reported by the American Academy of Paediatrics. This is the reason cow milk is strongly not recommended for our infants. 

According to Kim, babies can suffer inflammation in the baby’s gut or microscopic bleeding in their intestinal lining because of the allergic response. Babies can also suffer from anemia due to the presence of a minimum amount of iron. 

If we talk about older infants they can take nutrients from other food as well. Since milk is not their only source of nutrition they are more likely to have adequate nutrients elsewhere. We should only feed them human milk to keep them healthy and avoid illnesses. 

Transition to cow’s milk

However, in some cases, it is necessary that one shifts toward the cows’ milk. In such cases, one can transition gradually, so that the baby is not shocked by the sudden change in milk quality. You should be mindful while feeding signs and symptoms of inflammatory and or allergic reactions. In worse cases, there could be some blood in their stools due to colitis. Older babies have more mature gut kidneys and immune systems to tolerate new proteins. Young infants and newborns have to consume only milk for their nutrition so we need to check.


For newborns who have already had a dairy aversion or who need a special formula that contains only broken-down proteins or amino acids, dairy milk before they’re a year old probably won’t be suitable. Kim said that plant-based milks, which are much lower in nutritional content, are not an adequate nutritional substitute for any newborns. But for maximum newborns, especially for 6 months and older, the addition of cow’s milk shouldn’t cause a problem, he said. 

We need to make our choices about the nutrients of our child. All the positives and negatives of human breast milk and cow’s milk have been mentioned. You need to be careful further about the health of your child.