Issues in Complementary Feeding

60th Nestlé Nutrition Workshop, Pediatric Program, Manaus, October 2006

Editor(s): Agostoni C. (Milan) 
Brunser O. (Santiago) 
Table of Contents
Vol. 60, No. , 2007
Section title: Meat and Dairy Products in Complementary Feeding
Agostoni C, Brunser O (eds): Issues in Complementary Feeding. Nestec Ltd., Vevey/S. Karger AG, Basel, © 2007. Nestlé Nutr Workshop Ser Pediatr Program, vol 60, pp 185-199
Meat and Dairy Products in Complementary Feeding

Adverse Effects of Cow’s Milk in Infants

Ziegler E.
Fomon Infant Nutrition Unit, Department of Pediatrics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA


The feeding of cow’s milk has adverse effects on iron nutrition in infants and young children. Several different mechanisms have been identified that may act synergistically. Probably most important is the low iron content of cow’s milk. It makes it difficult for the infant to obtain the amounts of iron needed for growth. A second mechanism is the occult intestinal blood loss, which occurs in about 40% of normal infants during feeding of cow’s milk. Loss of iron in the form of blood diminishes with age and ceases after 1 year of age. A third factor is calcium and casein provided by cow’s milk in high amounts. Calcium and casein both inhibit the absorption of dietary nonheme iron. Infants fed cow’s milk receive much more protein and minerals than they need. The excess has to be excreted in the urine. The high renal solute load leads to higher urine concentration during the feeding of cow’s milk than during the feeding of breast milk or formula. When fluid intakes are low and/or when extrarenal water losses are high, the renal concentrating ability of infants may be insufficient for maintaining water balance in the face of high water use for excretion of the high renal solute. The resulting negative water balance, if prolonged, can lead to serious dehydration. There is strong epidemiological evidence that the feeding of cow’s milk or formulas with similarly high potential renal solute load places infants at an increased risk of serious dehydration. The feeding of cow’s milk to infants is undesirable because of cow’s milk’s propensity to lead to iron deficiency and because it unduly increases the risk of severe dehydration.

Copyright / Drug Dosage

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.