As all parents know, milk is an extremely important source of nutrients for a growing baby! Once your baby has passed the one-year mark, you may start wondering what milk is the best follow-up to the breast milk and/or formula they’ve been dependent on. Does this mean that all milk is created equal though? Let’s discuss the options.
Whole Cow’s Milk
Cow’s milk is the base of most infant formulas and despite some of the qualms people may have about them, it is very rich in protein, lactose, zinc, and fat. Now this doesn’t mean you should immediately start weaning your baby off breast milk. In fact, it’s advised not to give them cow’s milk before age one. The reason for waiting is to prevent or lessen any allergy that may occur.
Aside from cow’s milk, goat’s milk is also an excellent source of nutrients. It’s also the best alternative for babies who are allergic or sensitive to cow’s milk because it has less allergenic proteins and more digestible fat. The only issue is that it contains less folic acid than cow’s milk, meaning you will have to supplement it with folic acid.
Soy & Rice Milk
Both soy and rice milk are other familiar alternatives to cow’s milk. However, the main problem with both of them is that they lack the sufficient amount of fat, protein, and calcium a growing baby needs for healthy development. They aren’t recommended as the main source of nutrients but if you do choose soy or rice milk, make sure it’s vitamin and mineral fortified and supplemented with naturally fatty foods such as avocados.
* Please consult your child’s pediatrician before implementing any major changes to your child’s diet.