Adverse Effects of Including Cows Milk in an Infant's Diet.
The purpose of this is to educate on the adverse effect of cow’s milk in an infant's diet while emphasizing the benefits of exclusively breastfeeding for up to 6 months. The health risks associated with introducing cow's milk to infants before 12 months of age include: iron deficiency, iron deficiency anemia, iron depletion, dehydration, excessive renal solute, risk of allergic responses, gastrointestinal problems, risk of obesity and development of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) or Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) later in life. This is contrasted with the benefits of exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months which include: guarding against ear infections, asthma, bowel difficulties, ear and respiratory infection and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Breast milk is also a protective agent against development of T1DM, T2DM and obesity. Breast Milk provides adequate amounts of calcium, energy requirement and omega-3 fatty acids for infants. Breastmilk alone is sufficient for optimal growth, development and health. Even knowing the health risks associated with introducing cow's milk during infancy and the benefits of breastfeeding, mothers are still introducing cow’s milk to their infants and breastfeeding for shorter than the recommended time. This is most likely due to lack of education and support, low socioeconomic status, lack of awareness of the negative health effects of early introduction to cow’s milk during infancy and altering opinions among healthcare providers. If mothers can be more aware of these health problems and have consistent education from health care providers, more support from employers, society and family.