Cows' milk: Your questions answered

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The benefit of cows milk bottle feeding baby

Milk monitoring

Once you introduce cows milk at 12 months, sterilising will become a thing of the past. You can load everything into the dishwasher, keeping clean bottles in the cupboard until you need them. But teats should still be given a good scrub before you put them into the machine. It's tempting to use cows milk for everything, as it's hassle free. But you shouldn't use it all the time just because it's accessible.

What is bottle mouth?

Otherwise known as baby bottle tooth decay, it's the result of a baby constantly sipping a bottle throughout the day, milk taken this way is just as damaging as juice.

Because milk is so soothing, it can be tempting to hand a bottle to a grumpy child and let him suck on it at will. But it contains quite a lot of sugar and acid, and constant feeding may result in a trip to the dentist well before your child's third birthday.

By all means give milk to calm a fractious baby, but supervise him if he wants to hold the bottle himself and make sure it's taken away afterwards.

Can kids get tummy trouble from cow's milk?

As there's no longer any need to sterilise, and cows' milk seems to last relatively well out of the fridge (in a milk jug, for example) there's a temptation to carry a milk drink around on an outing without any special preparations. But germs breed as easily in cows' milk as they do in formula. Just because an adult can get away with a splash of spoiling milk in their tea doesn't mean a toddler can too.

If taking milk out with you, always keep it cool in a vacuum flask or cool bag, and dish it out little by little. Be careful if you leave milky products such as drinks, cakes and yogurts in the car, as it can become an oven and dairy products will go off.

Can I hide medicine in a bottle of milk?

If the sight of the medicine spoon approaching sends your toddler into a screaming fit, resist the temptation to hide his dose in his milk. Even if he religiously finishes his bottle, there's no guarantee he will this time and you'll have no idea how much of the medicine went down. Most could have sunk to the bottom or maybe he got all of it in the first few sucks. It's dangerous to estimate how much and then try to top it up with more, as this can lead to an overdose.

Continued below...

It may seem cruel to pin down a wriggling, shrieking baby, but he'll thank you for it when the toothache or flu goes and, unlike elephants, babies always forget!


Where to next?


- Breastfeeding guide

- Bottle feeding guide

- More bottle feeding advice

- More breastfeeding advice


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