WHERE DOES MILK FIT INTO THE PICTURE?
Q:I’M STILL BREASTFEEDING MY 7-MONTH-OLD AND WE’VE STARTED ON SOLIDS, BUT WHEN CAN I INTRODUCE COW’S MILK TO MY BABY?
A: Breastfeeding up until one year is an amazing start in life for your little one so keep going if you can! You can start to introduce full cream cows’ milk from one year of age if your child is eating a varied, well-balanced diet (including all the food groups). It can be used in cooking and baking from 10 months of age.
If your child is allergic to cows’ milk or just doesn’t like cows’ milk, there are alternatives that you can use, such as soy, almond and coconut milk. But these need to be enriched with calcium, vitamin D and other vitamins. Fortified plant-based beverages differ from cows’ milk as they are lower in protein and fat levels and higher manganese levels. Plant-based beverages are not recommended as an alternative to breastmilk, infant formula or whole cows’ milk in the first year of a baby’s life.
Below are some country-specific recommendations for the various plant based beverages: Australia: Fortified soy drink or calcium-enriched, full fat rice and oat drinks may be used after 1 year of age under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Alternate sources of protein and vitamin B12 need to be added to their diet. Canada: Soy, rice, almond and coconut beverages aren’t recommended for infants in the first 2 years of life as alternatives to breastmilk, infant formula or whole cows’ milk. New Zealand: Fortified plant-based beverages are suitable for toddlers if supplemented with vitamin D, B12, riboflavin and calcium. These can be used if the diet provides sufficient protein and energy from other sources. U.K: Full-fat, fortified, unsweetened soy milk can be used after 1 year of age as part of a well-balanced, varied diet. Rice milk was not recommended for toddlers and young children due to potentially high levels of arsenic.
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