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Introducing cow's milk into an infant's diet

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommend delaying the introduction of cow's milk until after 1 year of age due to its low absorbable iron content (1).

  • early introduction of cow's milk is a strong negative determinant of iron status
  • unmodified cow's milk does not meet nutritional requirements of infants although it is acceptable to add small volumes of cow's milk to complementary foods (2)
  • cow's milk protein allergy has a prevalence ranging from 2 to 7%, and the age of recovery is usually around 2-3 years (2)

There is study evidence (1) that there is an association between the introduction of cow's milk before 1 year of age and an increased rate of delayed developmental milestones after 1 year of age.

Goat's milk (2):

  • unmodified goat's milk is not suitable for infants because of the high protein and minerals content and of a low folate content
  • goat's milk has no clear nutritional advantage over cow's milk and is not less allergenic


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