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Date of last update: 9/9/2017.

Forum Name: Pediatric Topics

Question: Feeding an infant with cow milk

 prashant umrigar - Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:48 am

Dear All,

I want to know whether Cow's milk can be given to one month baby in addition to his mother's feeding, if the baby is still hungry after feeding?

If yes then, waht is the limit? 400 ml per day or 500 ml per day?

THanks in anticipation of reply,

 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:55 am

User avatar Hello Prashant,

According to all the sources I can find, cows milk is contraindicated for babies under one year of age. While I am quite certain it is done a lot anyway, there is a far greater risk of allergic reaction below six months, and is recommended to avoid until at least one year. Goat's milk seems to be more safe in this regard, and formula is also considered safe in general. For this reason I am unable to provide any ratio of breast milk to cow's milk for you. I could refer this question to the obstetric/gynocology team here and see if anyone has access to more knowlege on this subject. Please check back here in a day or so to see if anyone has any more useful information to offer.
 Linda Perry, Midwife - Sun Mar 08, 2009 1:13 am

Hello. Feeding an infant cow's milk is strongly contraindicated. Breast milk is the best nutrition for babies under one year. Also, goats milk is not appropriate for human babies (while it is terrific for goats). Both cows milk and goats milk are not formulated for human babies.

Some of the most important things to remember when trying to increase your milk supply:

1. Mother's nutrition should be excellent. Mom needs to be taking in enough nutritious calories to make enough milk. Also, Mom needs to be taking in enough healthy liquids, ie, water, healthy juices, not soda.

2. Feed your baby often and freely. Babies need to nurse every 90 minutes to 2 hours. Typically, they will nurse about twenty minutes on one side. You can then switch to the other breast, and allow the baby to nurse as long as he or she wants. Remember, to start the new feeding with the breast that you finished the last feeding.

3. Breast feeding is a supply and demand relationship. The more frequently baby is allowed to nurse, the more your milk will come in. It will take your body up to 24 hours for the supply to catch up with baby's new demand. Frequently this happens when babies are having a growth spurt, at two weeks, one month, six weeks etc.

4. The fact that baby is nursing constantly does not mean you don't have enough milk, it means that the baby is building up your supply. Don't worry if you can't express much milk manually or with a pump. Your baby is the best breast pump.

5. Be patient with yourself. Breast feeding takes practice, for you and for your baby. If you need help, call your local La Leche League Leader. They can be found online. They offer support, and a series of four meetings, and are a wonderful resource.

Good luck, and I assure you that if you stick with this little hurdle, the rewards for you and your baby are tremendous. Your breasts were designed specifically for this incredible purpose.

Take care,
Linda Perry, CM, CPM, CTT
 Debbie Miller, RN - Sun Mar 08, 2009 2:16 am

User avatar Hello,
John is correct that you should not give your baby regular cow's milk. While it is the perfect feeding for a calf and older children can digest it, an infant is not able to properly digest this milk without modifications being made to it. That is essentially what an infant's formula is - modified cow's milk. The perfect food for your baby is your milk. In addition to the nutrition, you are also able to continue to protect your baby from disease with ever-changing antibodies produced in your milk. If you feel you need to increase your milk supply, start with increased feedings. Your milk should meet the demand within a day or two. Let your baby suck as much as he/she desires and you can even encourage more frequent feedings while working on your milk supply amount. Supplementing the baby with anything can disrupt your supply so it is not recommended unless the doctor is noticing a weight loss and you need to temporarily supplement while your milk supply is improving.

Keep in mind that your baby may not actually be hungry following the feeding, but because they have a strong suck reflex, if offered an artificial nipple, they will suck, as if hungry. This is not a good indicator of adequate feedings. Weighing the baby and monitoring for wet and soiled diapers is the best way to determine. While building up your milk supply, even if it is low now, just allow the baby to suckle at the breast as often as needed. This will encourage your milk to increase in volume and it will satisfy your baby's need to suck.

There are some herbal remedies that can help milk production. Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle are often used if you have good access to pure products. The doctor can also prescribe Reglan or Domperidone if it is available where you live. You could also contact LaLeche League International for help and support. They can be found on the web at

Please do not give straight cow's milk to your young baby. Of course you should be in touch with your health care provider if you are concerned about weight gain or the baby is not having wet diapers, seems lethargic or dehydrated.

Keep in touch.

Best wishes.
 KKBCabales, RN - Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:58 pm

good day!
feeding an infant with a cow's milk is a no no no...
there are studies showing that it could give your infant some allergic reactions, lactose intolerance, GI upsets...even with goat's milk.
i strongly suggest that you should breastfed your child until 2 yrs of age or more. it would greatly give you a lot of benefits for and your child such as strong immune system for your baby, a natural way of contraception, strong bonding between you and your child.
if you are worried on the effects on your body image, you may use bra with wide support or use pumps in collecting your milk then store in a refrigerator or an exercise would help for a firmer, nice bust!=)

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