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Paediatr Child Health. 2003 Sep;8(7):419-21.

Whole cow's milk in infancy.

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Deparment of Paediatrics, University of Calgary and the Alberta Children's Hospital, Calgary, Alberta.


Early introduction of whole cow's milk may lead to iron deficiency anemia. From a nutritional point of view, it is best to delay the introduction of whole cow's milk until the infant is one year old. While there is no evidence to suggest adverse clinical sequelae associated with the increased renal solute load in healthy infants, feeding with whole cow's milk would narrow the margin of safety in situations that may lead to dehydration. Early exposure to cow's milk proteins increases the risk of developing allergy to milk proteins. Because of the possible association between early exposure to cow's milk proteins and risk for type 1 diabetes mellitus, breast-feeding and avoidance of commercially available cow's milk and products containing intact cow's milk protein during the first year of life are strongly encouraged in families with a strong history of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. The authors suggest that the optimal food in infancy is human breast milk. If human milk is not available, it is preferred that iron-fortified formulas rather than whole cow's milk be used during the first year of life.


infancy; whole cow’s milk


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