Why waiting on milk matters

  • Wait until at least one year of age before introducing cow’s milk as your baby’s primary beverage.
  • Cow’s milk doesn’t have the balance of nutrients found in breastmilk and formula that your baby needs during his first year.

There are many important health-related reasons to keep breastmilk or infant formula as your baby’s main beverage until after the first year. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests parents wait to introduce cow’s milk until after their baby’s first birthday.

Why wait?

Breastmilk and infant formula both provide the nutrients your baby needs for healthy growth and development, while cow’s milk lacks the right balance of nutrients that your baby needs during his first year.

Here are a few reasons to wait on introducing cow’s milk:

  • Cow’s milk is low in Iron, an important nutrient for brain development. Breastmilk, infant formula, Iron-rich infant cereal and pureed meats offer needed Iron to your baby.
  • DHA and ARA, fatty acids that help support brain and eye development, aren’t naturally found in cow’s milk.

What about other dairy products?

Although cow’s milk isn’t recommended as a beverage for babies under 12 months old, starting dairy foods is ok. Dairy foods, like yogurt, can be introduced at six months and is a good source of Calcium — a nutrient needed for your baby’s growing bones.

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