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To give baby cows milk at 11 months?

(38 Posts)
monkeytroubles Mon 10-Nov-14 08:40:15

Apologies if this is a stupid question but this is my first baby so I'm not sure which guidelines absolutely have to be followed and which are erring on the side of caution and can be taken with a pinch of salt.

Since starting solids at 6 month my DD has been less and less bothered about formula and tends to mess about with her bottle. She is 11 months old and the HV told us that we should aim to be ditching bottles altogether and giving her milk in a cup by 12months. She drinks water from a cup no problem but has absolutely refused to accept formula from a cup (have tried all different types) and actually gets really distressed when I try. It got to a stage where as soon as she saw the cup of formula she would freak out and start bawling.

So the other day, I'm not sure why but I decided on a whim to give her a bit of full fat cows milk straight from the fridge in her sippy cup and she necked it in about 5 seconds! She really seemed to enjoy it. I mentioned it to my friend and she seemed very disapproving and kept saying "she's too young for cows milk" but couldn't really explain what harm it might do!

I know they're not supposed to have cows milk as a drink until 12 months but will a month make any difference? Would I be terrible to ditch the formula and just give her cows milk from now on? She is a good eater and has a varied diet.

PotteringAlong Mon 10-Nov-14 08:41:29

It'll be fine. There's not a magic "da daaaa" moment going to happen in the next four weeks. If her tummy was fine then just crack on!

GailLondon Mon 10-Nov-14 08:42:57

One month won't make any major difference at all, I think you are totally fine. The main benefit to formula is that it is fortified with iron and vitamins compared to cows milk, so it is good that you say she is eating well and has a healthy diet. You could always give her some vitamin drops mixed into the milk to help keep her iron and vitamin D levels up.

fluffyraggies Mon 10-Nov-14 08:44:15

My HV said cows milk is fine at that age but you might want to give vit. drops daily to replace the vits that were in the formula.

sippy cup nightmare continues in this house. DD4 (9 months) wont take one at all no matter what's in it

Rantymop Mon 10-Nov-14 08:45:01

She'll be fine! Like the other poster said, nothing magical changes in those four weeks.

Years ago ds stopped wanting formula at 9 months, but would drink cows milk. His peadiatrician told me it was fine to start earlier, they say 12 months or some parents would switch at a stupidly young age to save money.

LaundryFairy Mon 10-Nov-14 08:45:39

Misunderstood title and wondered why calves would be needing milk at 11 months old...

Rantymop Mon 10-Nov-14 08:45:44

Also Ds was eating very well so Dr wasn't concerend re vitamins.

bedraggledmumoftwo Mon 10-Nov-14 08:46:41

I don't think it matters. I am currently giving my 11 mo formula first thing and last thing, but if i give her milk during the day it is full fat. I figure it is easier to switch gradually than all at once, and given formula is sweeter i didn't want her to reject cows milk out of hand.

Aherdofmims Mon 10-Nov-14 08:47:54

Yanbu. It's totally fine. The reason for continuing formula after 6 months is to make sure they get iron and vits not because cow's milk will harm them.

Think iron is the big thing so just make sure her diet is rich in this.

LaCerbiatta Mon 10-Nov-14 08:51:59

Cow's milk causes tiny fissures in babies guts and they can become aneamic. I spoke to a paediatrician once who was shocked that in the UK they recommend cow's milk from 12mo, in his opinion should be 24mo and above. This was in a different country and i took it with a pinch of salt (I'm not naive and know that lobbying from Nestle etc probably plays a part here) but I would definitely wait until those 12mo.

1 month is a significant amount of time in a baby's life and to be honest I think it's a little bit irresponsible for people here to say it's ok when they have absolutely no idea if it is or not.

Thumbwitch Mon 10-Nov-14 08:53:49

Yes, what PPs have already said - the disadvantage milk has over formula is that it's lower in iron and vitamin D, both of which are fortified in formula.

So just give baby vit D drops and make sure there is enough iron in her diet; and if not, then consider giving a liquid iron supplement as well. Iron and vit D are both needed in sufficient quantities because of growth - the iron for the blood cells as the baby grows bigger and needs more, and the vit D to make sure the calcium is used properly in bones as they grow.

Vit D insufficiency is becoming a bit of a problem - it's actually quite hard to get enough into them via diet, and with all the sunscreening that goes on, they don't have much opportunity to make their own either. I thought I was doing pretty well with my DS2 in terms of vit D, oily fish 1-2 times a week, I take a lot and he was b'fed, and so on - had him tested just after his 2nd birthday among a barrage of other tests, and he's bloody deficient shock. So now he's having vit D drops in his nightly milk.

R4roger Mon 10-Nov-14 08:54:24

do you have a nice HV op?
what about dried apricots, they are high in iron, as is Kale. how many weeks til LO is one?

Thumbwitch Mon 10-Nov-14 09:00:39

Would you care to expand on that statement, tugamommy? The only reliable information I can find that might relate to that explains that feeding babies several bottles of cows' milk a day along with insufficient fibre in their diet, can cause constipation which may then lead to anal fissures, which, if they bleed and are untreated, may possibly lead to anaemia.

But that is several bottles of cows' milk in a day with an insufficient solid food diet. Possibly not what the OP was aiming for.

OpenSandwich Mon 10-Nov-14 09:01:34

tugamommy that makes no sense since advice is to use cows milk on cereal etc from 6 months. So even if not used as a drink, babies are exposed much younger.

And since formula is based on cows milk, lots of babies are exposed from birth.

Kalinka16 Mon 10-Nov-14 09:02:15

Good that it's full fat milk, how about organic? And definitely continue with the vitamin drops...

Christelle2207 Mon 10-Nov-14 09:03:29

It will be fine! It was 70 years ago but my dad was given cows milk from birth and didn't do him any harm.

OpenSandwich Mon 10-Nov-14 09:04:34

Oh, and OP, my HV said it was just to do with vitamins and iron. Both my children had cows milk as a drink from 11mo when I went back to work. They were bf, I cannot express much, and wasn't about to start buying formula at that stage. Get some vitamin drops if you're worried.

middlings Mon 10-Nov-14 09:11:15

In that event tugamummy it's a miracle that I survived as I was given dilute cows milk from three weeks. Sounds to me like that doctor was a proponent of the virgin gut theory that would have you believe that formula is evil too. No substantive evidence at all - and I say that as someone who breastfed both my children until well after they started solids.

You're fine OP. Agreeing with PP it's the iron thing. A supplement will help, but my second has been having cows milk since 11 months, with the quiet and unofficial blessing of our fabulous HV and she's fine.

greenfolder Mon 10-Nov-14 09:16:32

dd2 was on cows milk from 8 months. we went on holiday to a spanish island and bought the local baby milk-she necked it. only discovered after 10 days that it was flavoured with vanilla! unsuprisingly when we got back to the UK she pulled a comedy face at the taste of SMA so cows milk it was

monkeytroubles Mon 10-Nov-14 09:23:43

Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. You have made me feel a lot better. It's so hard to know whether you're doing the right thing sometimes. My HV is difficult to get hold of and tends to answer most questions with "Umm, have you tried googling it?" so nice to have opinions from experienced Mummies. DD has a liquid multivitamin every day and likes quite a lot of iron rich foods (red meat, salmon, green veg, eggs etc.) so, on balance, I think she's unlikely to become anaemic from cutting out the 2 bottles of formula that she usually only drank 1/2 of anyway. I am normally a bit of a 'do everything by the book' person when it comes to DD but I think I need to give myself a break on this one smile

Thumbwitch Mon 10-Nov-14 09:40:27

Do check the vit D levels in the multi though, the powers that be have recently revised their estimate of how much vit D is required upwards.

DS2, being already below normal range, is on 600IU/d at 2.

LaCerbiatta Mon 10-Nov-14 09:47:16

I said I took that information with a pinch of salt but it came from a renowned paediatrician. I just wanted to make the point that a) in other countries babies don't drink cow's milk until they're older and b) 1 month is a long time for a baby and things can and do magically change in 4 weeks and it's a bit irresponsible to say it doesn't make any difference.

(And remember this is mn and anedoctal evidence doesn't count! ;))

monkeytroubles Mon 10-Nov-14 09:52:12

tugamommy, I appreciate your response and it's always good to hear a different point of view. I just don't understand what exactly it is that will "magically change" in between now and when my DD turns one in 3 weeks time?

Neverbuyheliumbalonz Mon 10-Nov-14 09:58:03

Huh? My DD has been having cows milk with cereal/porridge since she was 6 months and she is fine? Are the not supposed to have cheese/yoghurt or anything either then?

My DS stopped formula on his first birthday (happened to be the day the carton ran out and I was dammed if I was going to continue to pay a tender for formula!) and just had cows milk since then (and not even all that much as he didn't really like it as a drink, so he just had cheese, yoghurt etc) He is a strapping, rarely ill 3 year old.

Chunderella Mon 10-Nov-14 09:58:52

There's nothing magical about 12 months, they don't suddenly become able to tolerate it better at midnight on their birthdays. But equally, a month is quite a large percentage of a baby's life. I would probably take it slowly. By all means continue to give a cup of cow's milk, but offer formula too, and be sure to give vitamin drops. Quite apart from anything else, some of them do get a bit constipated if you switch to cow's milk fast, so it makes sense to take it slowly. It's not that an 11 month old can't have cows milk, they can. There'd be no problem with DD having a cup/bottles worth of the stuff over the day in the form of other foods- milk on porridge, in cooking, custard etc. You just want to take it slow.

I'd also be interested to hear the HVs justification for completely disregarding NHS recommendation that babies under 1 need 500ml formula a day when not bf. Does she routinely do this, I wonder? She sounds shit.

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