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The World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that babies are exclusively breast fed for 6 months, with supplemental breast milk being given for two years - whether you achieve this or not, there comes a point when you want to introduce cows milk. Accepted advice is that cow's milk shouldn't be introduced into your baby's diet until they reach 1 year, and because it lacks manyof the nutrients found in formula milk (particularly iron) that you must balance a healthy diet with solid foods to supplement vitamins and minerals.
Cow's milk has long been a staple of Western diet although in recent times it has stirred up some controversy. Look online and you'll find plenty of debate surrounding milk as to whether it is an important part of our diet or not. There has been increased instance of dairy intolerance in our populations, factory farming has undoubtedly reduced the quality of milk over the last 50 years, and there is lots of research suggesting that milk is actually bad for us. If that is what science tells us as adults, is it wise for children to be given cows milk at all?
Common sense would suggest that milk cannot be overly harmful or dangerous, and that if it forms a part of a balanced diet, then it is difficult to dispute that the nutrients in milk can offer anything but good. If you prefer not to introduce your children to cow's milk then there are alternatives. If you think your baby may be lactose intolerant then you can try goat or buffalo milk as popular alternatives. Goat's milk does contain lactose but seems to be fine for people who suffer intolerance, nutritionally it is very similar to cows milk. Buffalo milk is even more nutritious.
If you wish to give your baby a vegetarian diet then you can use soya or rice milk which are widely consumed as healthy alternatives to cow's milk. They contain less fat and fewer calories and research suggests that they may assist in preventing cancers.