Putting 3 month old exclusively on cows milk. What kind of damage can this cause?

I've heard that infants are NEVER supposed to have whole milk til atleast after 12 months and my SIL just put her 3 mo. old daughter on whole cow's milk because she was having problems with the formula she was on. Her grandmother (the baby's great g-mother) told her to put the baby on cow's milk because that's what she had to do when her daughter had problems with formula. My SIL is being told way too many old wives tales that can be downright dangerous for her baby. I keep telling her not to listen and to talk to her doc but all she says is "well, they raised their families and everyone is still alive, and "milk is cheaper anyways". But the majority of that family has all kind of medical issues and learning disabilities (which may have started as babies). What kind of harm can this cause the baby? ie: what kind of developmental problems can/may she possibly develop.

32 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    the milk that granny put her daughter on was real cows milk..Not what we have now-a-days..It was not processed, and probably came from the family cow..That stuff is much safer(when handled properly) than the store bought milk..So, it's not the same..She needs to do her research..and ask the doc..I am a real milk fan, but I would not give it to my kids unless they were a bit older, closer to 1 if not over...

  • 1 decade ago

    Inform your SIL that this is very dangerous. Yes, formula is very expensive, but I would rather pay for the extra nutrients than risk my child getting severely ill or possibly worse. Babies have reactions to lots of things that their little systems can't handle. If she is concerned and having problems with the formula the baby is on, then maybe her Dr can switch her to a new formula. That's why they make so many different types. When my first son was a few weeks old, he was on Enfamil with iron, and ended up getting really sick and started projectile vomiting. The Dr recommended we switch him to the Soy based enfamil. I would have her call her Dr before making such a drastic change. People raised families differently back then because the research and technology wasn't as good as it is now. There are so many advancements compared to then. And even with real cows milk I wouldn't trust it either since it's unpasturized. If a pregnant woman is discouraged from drinking fresh cows milk, then a 3 month old would be no exception. I wish her all the best, but really pray that she consults her Dr before changing anything. No matter what her grandmother says. I'm sure her intentions are good, but what if? I'd think if something did happen, nobody in the family would be able to forgive great granny and she would feel really really badly about it too.

  • Your SIL really needs to talk and take advice from a pediatrician. Formula contains a lot of extra nutrients (like iron for example) that regular cow's milk doesn't. Taking advice from great grandma is not a good idea. We've learned a lot about infant nutrition since those days and she's playing russian roulette with her baby's health. When my daughter was born, a friend of the family told me that I should just "make my own formula" with Carnation milk and sugar because that's what she did. I had to force myself not to burst out laughing. She said "but I did it and my kids were fine". Although yes, her kids might have survived off her home made formula concoction it doesn't mean that theyy got all the nutrients they really needed. Advice like this should be politely accepted - and disregarded. It's too bad your SIL hasn't figured this out. I really hope for the baby's sake that she gives herself a shake and realizes that she could be setting the stage for a wide range of health problems for her baby. I hope you can get through to her. Cow's milk does not contain nearly enough vitamins and minerals that formula does.

  • 1 decade ago

    Formula is essential for brain and eye development. It has many things cow's milk doesn't as does breast milk. I don't get why she didn't try a different formula or brand of formula. The odc can't make her give formula but will be unpleased with this decision. The way I figure it is....Why would God give us breastmilk (formula is close second for those who can't express) if it wasn't meant for and good for our babies? And why thousands of years later are we still told to feed with either breastmilk or formula? I promise in a world of trying to make things as easy as possible, if cow's milk was "okay" for the baby before 12 months, the whole world would know that by now.

    Sadly, what can you do? Just kindly tell her the facts you know and how you feel and leave it at that, if she is married to your brother you may feel more comfortable talking to him about it.

    Good luck.

    I read someones comment about iron defiecency anemia, I have that right now and I wouldn't wish it on anyone especially a baby.

    Source(s): mom of 5
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  • 1 decade ago

    any pediatrician and person with common sense will be hugely against this. a cow is not a human mother, and just fat alone will not be close to enough nutrition for a 3 month old baby. the only reason that they suggest after 12 months is for the baby to be ready to digest the milk. my son has had it here and there since he was about 7 months, same with my other 2, and he's been fine. but its just a really sad thing to hear about people doing that to their kids... where are the vitamins where are the complex nutrients that she needs for brainbuilding, proper growth...etc etc etc. read a can of formula. im a huge breastfeeding advocate, but even formula is better than some cow milk, look at all the ingredients. theyre there for a reason!!

  • 1 decade ago

    I work for a Charity that deals with underprivileged mothers and their babies, and I've seen people coming with babies just as young as that fed with cow milk, babies had no evident problem (but I'm not a doctor so I can't really tell). They were though extremely poor people, often living on the street. What I mean is that the cow's milk won't probably stop the baby from talking or walking, but may lead to digestive problems, growth problems, allergies..etc. If I was you I'd try to talk to her seriously, showing her evidence that what she's doing is wrong, such as articles/webpages etc,

    I hope that at least she's giving 50% milk and 50%water...

    this can't be good for the child.

  • chloe
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    This wouldn't even be good for the baby, if the baby was a calf. It's pasteurised milk. It's not meant for a newborn of any species to have. Formula has added nutrients, amino acids, and essential fatty acids in it, to be as close to human milk as possible. These are all necessary for the baby. The reason she may have problems with formula, is because it has so much stuff in it, that it's actually difficult to digest.

    My suggestion would be to try and find a formula that the baby can tolerate, or see if she can find some donated breastmilk. This is difficult, but if she really wants to, she can relactate, it just takes a lot of work.

    Tell her that formula is more expensive for a reason.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Baby formula is made up of all the vitamins and minerals needed to develop a baby's body and brain function. That's why it's called formula not milk. Since babies don't eat a wide variety of foods they need the whole variety of vitamins in the only source of nutrition that they can drink. Cow's milk only has a few vitamins in it. Not nearly enough for the baby's development.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    A babies system can not break down the cows milk. Anemia is one problem. Anemia in infants has dropped alot since infants have been kept on formula until 12 months. I have attatched a link for you to read more info. It also says that they don't get enough vitamin E, iron, and essential fatty acids.

  • 1 decade ago

    oh yeah that can cause alot of harm if any thing i was told not to use goats milk and that is the easys milk to get down. that poor baby will be in so much pain and mom will have to deal with screaming all the time. i did and i breast feed my baby i couldnt have milk. so u can only think what that baby is going to go though. if she does i would call CSD on her. i am sorry but that is wrong and her doctor has told her and she should know. she needs to try a soy formula yes they cost more but they are easier on babies tummy. she needs to think with her own brian. i am sure grant grandma had to endure alot of crying too . but also when she was having babies. their cows wereent given all the crap ours are today. that is why so many people cant handle it. i am one of them. please talk to her and just try some of the soyformula it might help it will take at least a day to see anything. but if she wont she is putting that baby in alot of harm. that baby could get to the point to wher she cant have milk at all and if she does she is be in alot of pain. for the rest of her life.

  • Molly
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    don't know about real harm to the baby but one cannot live on just milk. The formula and breast milk have lots of vitamins and mostly everything the baby needs. Just milk would starve the baby and perhaps not grow right. If the baby was old enough to eat 3 meals a day of good baby food and takes baby vitamins it might be ok but most babies that age only have cereal. I think this Mom needs to talk with her doctor to help her see the difference between old wives tales and good parenting. Alot of the old ways were good, but alot were very harmful.

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