Baby growth milks: for what and at what age?

Baby growth milks: for what and at what age?

Baby grows and his nutritional needs change. Growth milk is an essential supplement to their diet between 10/12 months and 3 years. We tell you everything.

The nutritional needs of our children are specific and require in particular an iron intake which they do not yet find, on average, in their daily diet. It is therefore recommended to use a growth milk up to 3 years to meet this need.

Why giving growing-up milk, or 3rd age milk, is important?

The major interest of growing-up milk is its iron content. In fact, to meet their iron needs, a child should consume about 100 grams of meat. However, most children under the age of 3 do not yet eat this amount of meat. “We must therefore give growing-up milk until the child is able to swallow 100 grams of meat per day,” insists pediatrician Patrick Tounian. On average, growing-up milk contains about 25 times more iron than cow's milk.

Growing-up milks are also rich in essential fatty acids, perfect for children who eat little fish. These infant formulas are also enriched with vitamin D. Compared to cow's milk alone, growing-up milk also contains 1.8 times more zinc, a trace element necessary for growth.

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Composition: why switch to growing-up milk?

The consumption of growing-up milk is therefore an essential and complementary contribution to enable the child to approach the optimal nutritional balance, taking into account his specific nutritional needs.

However, breast milk is considered the best milk for baby food, exclusively according to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) up to six months. Then, after this age, the WHO recommends breastfeeding in addition to a diversified diet, until the child is two years old or more.

When to give baby growth milk and until what age?

At the age of 10/12 months, your child's diet is already well diversified. Nevertheless, milk intake remains essential, and it is important to provide him with milk that meets the specific needs related to his young age. In fact, food diversification alone cannot cover all of one's needs.

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In addition, between the ages of 1 and 3, your toddler's growth and development require special inputs that are different from those of adults. Infant nutrition experts therefore recommend switching to growing-up milk around the age of 10/12 months and continuing this milk intake, at least, until the child is 3 years old.

How much growth milk should baby consume?

From the moment when food diversification is well established and advanced, generally between 10 months and one year, the amount of milk consumed each day by baby can be reduced to 500 ml.

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What is DHA and when to introduce it?

Whatever the age and the formula (from cow's milk, goat's milk or other), infant milks must be enriched with DHA (an essential fatty acid from the omega-3 family). DHA is essential for the development of the brain and eyesight of babies. It is therefore present in baby's diet from an early age.

Another essential role is that of ARA or arachidonic acid (a polyunsaturated fatty acid from the Omega-6 family): pediatric nutrition experts recommend that its intake be at least equal to the DHA intake.

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Growth milk or cow's milk for babies?

Most critics of growing-up milk think it's not necessary because they themselves haven't had any and are in good health. "It is true that initially, growth milks were invented by infant milk brands," notes the pediatrician. However, an iron deficiency is not visible as "the nose in the middle of the face".

However, such a deficiency can lead to anemia. And if our child is tired, we may not immediately make the connection with a possible anemia. Iron deficiencies can also lead to neurodevelopmental problems. “You say to yourself that your child has learning problems, that he is lazy… However, that could very well be the cause of a lack of iron”. Another notable consequence: a susceptibility to infections.

In video: Which milks from birth to 3 years?

In video: Which milks from birth to 3 years?

Many surveys were then carried out by paediatricians, showing that it is not possible to meet the iron needs of young children solely with cow's milk or from another animal origin. Plant-based milks (oats, soy, etc.) are more like juices and do not meet the needs of children under three either.

At what age can cow's milk be given?

It is not recommended to introduce cow's milk (or sheep's, donkey's, etc.) too quickly into our children's diets at the risk of providing them with too much protein each day. If a protein deficiency can be very dangerous, penalizing the growth of toddlers, too much intake would tire the baby's kidneys and increase the risk of overweight in the future. In Western countries, infants on average receive too much protein.

In general, it is recommended to increase the number of proteins by 10 g per age group, i.e.:

On average, we can then give our child cow's, goat's or sheep's milk at around 3 years old. Plant-based milks are closer to juices and do not provide the same nutrients as animal milk.

From 1 to 3 years old, the specific needs of children are not always met

A Nutri-bébé* study, carried out in 2013, highlighted certain nutritional imbalances with regard to the recommendations:

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Allergies or intolerances: growth milks without lactose or without cow's milk protein?

If our child suffers from a temporary intolerance or an allergy, we can turn to growth milks based on rice or soy proteins, but still certified as infant formula by the European Union and generally sold in pharmacies.

Read alsoAuthor: Marie LanenArticle updated by Marion Bellal, Journalist