Cow's milk at nine months?

I have a nine month old who has been breastfed since the beginning of his life. Ever since my mother-in-law has been watching him while I work she was giving him my pumped breastmilk. Then she bought some whole milk to try since he wasn't really taking breastmilk from a bottle as well as in the past. It's only been a couple of days since this started, but he now has diarrhea. Could the whole milk be causing a problem?

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

The American Academy of Pediatrics states, "to achieve optimal nutrition, the Academy recommends that infants be fed breastmilk during the first 6 to 12 months" of life. They recommend that cow's milk not be used during the baby's first year and that "the only acceptable alternative to breastmilk is iron-fortified infant formula."

Cow's milk is one of the most common allergens. Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems, along with respiratory problems are often seen as an allergic reaction to it's introduction. Since your little one has had diarrhea after being given a bottle of milk, I would recommend not offering any more cow's milk to him until he is at least one year old. Even then, it would be wise to be cautious when introducing dairy products, since he has already shown a sensitivity.

Since your baby is not readily accepting your milk in a bottle anymore while your Mom sits for him, ask her to offer your milk in a sippy cup. I would ask her not to push the issue. Babies of this age often just want to wait until their Mom is home from work and "tank up" in the evening and early morning hours (and they do just fine.) Have her continue to provide him with snacks and drinks during the day, even if he refuses your milk. It is really important not to allow feeding times to turn into a struggle.

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