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Cow's milk - how and when to introduce

When your baby is a year old, you can move her on from first or second-stage formula to cow's milk. Cow’s milk is not recommended as a main drink for babies under the age of one because it’s low in iron and vitamin C. But you can use small amounts in cooking for your baby when she’s started solids, or on her breakfast cereal.

There are many reasons why cows’ milk or anything other than breast milk or infant formula are not suitable as a baby’s source of nutrition. Cows’ milk not only has the wrong quantity of protein but its protein quality is hard to digest. In addition, the type of fat in cows’ milk is not easy for babies to absorb (breast milk has just over 50 per cent fat). And lastly, many nutrients have levels too low for baby’s needs including vitamin A, D, C, E and iron. Cow's milk is not a suitable drink for your baby until he or she is a year old.

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