There's a common belief that it's "dangerous" to give cow's milk to a baby before he or she is 12 months old.
Numerous sites say to avoid giving cow's milk to babies under 12 months, however, they vary greatly in their reasoning. Some sites cite the immediate safety concerns (such as overtaxing the baby's kidneys) while others discuss the indirect effect of cow's milk causing the baby to receive insufficient nutrients.
His body won’t be able to digest the proteins in cow’s milk and he may develop an allergy to it
It could overtax his kidneys: Cow’s milk has more sodium, potassium and chloride than a baby can process.
Cow's milk doesn't contain the necessary nutrients such as iron, vitamin c that are present in formula and breast milk. At least not in high enough quantities for your baby to thrive.. However, by the time your baby is 1-year-old, they’re able to compensate for many of those lost nutrients with a well-rounded diet comprising fruits, vegetables, lean protein, dairy, and whole grains..
What scientific evidence exists to support any, or all, of the above reasons given to avoid cow's milk? For example, what evidence exists that cow's milk would "overtax" a baby's kidneys if given before 12 months?
Also, both of the articles above suggest waiting until the infant is 12 months before adding milk to his diet. However, an article published by TodaysParent.com states that:
"Official guidelines recommend parents hold off until babies are between nine and 12 months old before introducing cow’s milk".
I think that for many parents, the "extra" three month span from 9 and 12 months is a big deal because many moms lose their ability to produce breast milk right around 9 months and would love to immediately transition to bovine milk if it is safe to do so.
Is it really necessary to wait 12 months before adding milk to a baby's diet or is 9 months sufficient?