When it comes to feeding a newborn, milk options are generally simple: breast milk or formula (or a combination of the two). However, when babies reach infancy, the options grow much larger offering a wide range of possibilities.
Among so many options, it is normal that there are myths, misinformation and divided opinions (even among health professionals). In order for you to know which is the best option and all the alternatives that exist, we present you the definitive guide to the interesting world of milk.
Before starting, it is important to define when we should change breast milk for formula or other alternatives and what is the appropriate dose that your little one should consume
While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing solid foods around 6 months of age (with the eventual addition of dairy products such as yogurt and cheese); In the particular case of milk, specialists recommend offering it until the baby’s first birthday.
This, they argue, ensures that your digestive system is mature enough to handle large amounts of milk protein. “This food is a great source of calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and protein, all of which are important to a growing child,” explains Kristi King, M.P.H., R.D., a dietitian at Texas Children’s Hospital.
If at this age you continue to breastfeed your little one, the specialists advise you to continue with this activity, as long as it is positive for both of you
Even so, it is important that you bear in mind that breast milk does not grant the same properties as cow’s milk, so you will have to make sure to include other nutritional sources that can provide your baby with all these benefits.
According to a study by the A.A.P and published in the Healthy Eating research group, one-year-old children should drink between 16 and 24 ounces of whole milk daily.
This gives way for the little ones to enjoy the benefits of this food, but also to leave room for many other nutrients from other sources such as fruits and vegetables.
In contrast, for children between 2 and 3 years old, experts recommend two cups of milk each day, and 2.5 cups for children between 4 and 5 years old.
Experts in child nutrition recommend that children 1 year and older drink whole milk “so they get the energy and fat their bodies need to develop properly,” explains Dr. Jonathon Maguire, MD, pediatrician and researcher at the St. Michael Hospital in Toronto.
From the second year on, it will be necessary to switch to lactose-free milk in order to reduce the intake of saturated fat.
However, guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute say that if your little one is growing properly and eating enough healthy fats, they can start drinking reduced-fat milk from the first year onwards.
Like many debates in the scientific community, to date, there is no research to prove that one is better than the other. Therefore, specialists recommend that you make this decision together with your pediatrician, based on the general growth and diet picture of your little one.
If you’ve ever thought about buying raw or unpasteurized milk at that local market in your community, we need you to know that public health and pediatric experts are of the unanimous opinion that it is a very bad idea, especially for young children.
“Raw milk can be a cesspool for bacteria that cause foodborne illness, some of which can be deadly,” said King, a dietitian at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Also, specialists explain that this type of milk does not provide more health benefits than pasteurized milk, so it is better to avoid it. Be careful.
If your child has an allergy to dairy products, is lactose intolerant, does not like milk or you simply prefer to feed him under another nutritional regimen, it is important that you look for other alternatives to supply the vitamins and minerals that this food provides.
Foods like avocado, oils, nuts, fruits, and vegetables can offer a healthy mix that gives your little one everything he needs. Try to find options that you like and are easy to get.
Goat’s milk and milk from plants and seeds are an excellent option if you don’t want them to consume cow’s milk. The first is a little higher in protein, fat, calcium and other minerals, unlike the one that comes from bovines, however, it is also usually twice or three times as expensive. Take it into account.
On the other hand, plant-based milk, although it also meets all the requirements, specialists advise that it only be administered when the pediatrician requests it, or in case the child belongs to a vegan family.
Be it soy, almond, pea, rice, oatmeal or coconut, all these options can be ideal if you want other food alternatives.
Since you know all these options, we recommend you discuss them with your pediatrician so that together, you can decide which is the best nutritional option for your little one.
Remember that a diet rich in vitamins and minerals is vital for them to grow properly and be a healthy and strong adult. Do not forget.
Breast milk takes the title as the best food a baby can receive. It provides the energy and nutrients that a little one needs in the first months of life, according to the World Health Organization.
And its benefits don’t end there. Breastfeeding contributes to the correct cognitive and sensory development of babies, in addition to protecting them from diseases and infections.
Regardless of whether you are a new or more experienced mother, the concern about whether you will have enough milk for your baby always appears.
Most women’s bodies can produce the milk needed to nurse their little one, but complications such as primary hypogalactia occasionally occur. Do you know what it is?
According to the Alba Breastfeeding portal, primary hypogalactia refers to low milk production, which does not allow meeting the baby’s nutritional needs.
Primary hypogalactia is a multifactorial disorder, that is, it is triggered by different reasons. The causes may be related to the mother’s body or poor breastfeeding management.
Here are the most common factors that lead to primary hypogalactia.
The journal General and Family Medicine indicates that the list of causes may seem endless, but the most frequent are stress, fatigue and anxiety in the mother.
To avoid this complication in breastfeeding, it is advisable to encourage the mother to rest and stay relaxed, so that the milk production is successful.
Alba Breastfeeding indicates that one of the most likely causes of low milk production may be due to a poor latch on to the breast, either due to improper posture or poor suction.
Also, having fewer than eight feedings in 24 hours or controlling breastfeeding (that is, letting the little one be on each breast for an exact number of minutes) does not allow the baby to be able to express the milk he needs.
When the placenta separates from the uterus, the milk ascent begins. This is the signal that the body needs to start producing it.
If during this period there is any inconvenience, whether physical or hormonal, the appearance of breast milk may be delayed.
Women with a body mass index higher than adequate may experience a delay in milk production, as well as those who have suffered from gestational diabetes.
According to information from the journal General and Family Medicine, another of the most common causes can be hypoplasia, which is when the breast has an imperfect growth that results in a smaller bust and with little breast tissue.
Also, some hormonal problems can affect milk production, such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, as there is an inadequate creation of prolactin receptors (responsible for the production of breast milk).
According to Alba Breastfeeding, there are also several drugs that can inhibit milk production, such as some antihistamines. It is important to consult with your doctor to know what medications you can take while breastfeeding.
Most hypogalactias can improve with previous guidelines to correct errors in breastfeeding management, but it is also important to detect the cause in order to carry out adequate treatment.
To avoid difficulties in breastfeeding, it is important to start breastfeeding from the first day after delivery, let the baby stimulate the mammary glands, rest and get away from stress, as well as maintain a diet rich in vitamins and minerals.
Breastfeeding is much more than giving food. Breastfeeding is creating a bond between mother and baby. In case the little one is fed formula or donated breast milk, it is important to create a similar environment, so that the mother-child relationship is strengthened.
If you think that your baby is not receiving the adequate amount of milk or you are not producing enough, it is important that you see a specialist.
The World Health Organization recommends that breast milk be the exclusive diet of the baby until at least six months of life. This is so because its vitamins, minerals, fats, sugars and proteins are essential to protect it against infections and possible allergies. In addition, the development of teeth and speech is also benefited.
Beyond all the benefits for the baby, breastfeeding also strengthens the bonds between mother and child and helps the woman’s body to recover after delivery in a healthy way.
But what happens when there is not much milk production? How to proceed?
Many things can influence a woman’s breastfeeding period, but a few tips can help you ensure a constant flow of breast milk for your baby.
Your psychological state has a direct influence on your milk production. Therefore, it is desirable that you avoid situations that can be stressful or that can destabilize you emotionally. Opting for a slower and more relaxed pace of life is a great option so that your milk supply remains constant.
Eating a balanced diet is essential for good milk production. Foods rich in minerals, mainly calcium and phosphorus, in addition to whole grains, should be among the priorities of your diet.
Water is the main element in breast milk. That is precisely why it is very important that you maintain good hydration. It is recommended that breastfeeding people pay attention to their thirst and drink all the water that is necessary to quench it.
Suckling the baby, if done correctly, stimulates the production of hormones such as prolactin and oxytocin, which act directly on the production of breast milk. Therefore, it is important that you observe if the baby’s grip is correct, that is, if he takes the entire nipple with his mouth.
Breastfeed on demand
It is common for people to want to remove the baby from the breast when they are satisfied and are using the breast as a kind of pacifier. However, that behavior is called non-nutritive sucking and should be encouraged. This will stimulate the breast to continue producing milk, in addition to, of course, meeting the baby’s emotional sucking needs.
It is important that the breasts are stimulated to produce milk. For this, a breast pump or a manual milking technique can be used, to continue stimulating the breasts even after breastfeeding. This will tell your body that it needs to make more milk.
If none of this works, we recommend seeing a lactation consultant. Professionals are the ones who can best advise you on these issues