Milks of growth and adapted: the dilemma

Lactose is getting worse press and this may be attributed to the abuse we have made of dairy products and their derivatives throughout the history of our societies. It is common to hear that milk is given to the child by mucus or that it prevents him from resting normally. However, it is important to know what is true and what is not in relation to the milks of growth and adapted milk.

Adapted milk and growth milk: two concepts

They are adapted milk those that have been designed to imitate breast milk and replace it when, for different reasons, it can not be given. It has a very specific composition and the quantities that have to be administered to the baby are perfectly stipulated according to the child's weight and other characteristics of their body and organism. The specialist is the one who determines when to use a adapted milk and in what quantity. Although the best for the baby during its first 6 months of life is breast milk on demand, as recommended by the WHO, when it is not possible to offer it, it can be fed with adapted milk also known as formula milk.


Milks of growth they can seem a priori to adapted milk, but lack of egislation, therefore, its use is not regulated. They serve to make a transition from an adapted or maternal milk to a cow's milk, that is, to a normal whole supermarket milk. The doctor José Manuel Moreno Villares, expert in clinical and medical nutrition at the University Hospital 12 de Octubre in Madrid, recommends the use of this type of milk if it provides a series of essential nutrients that are important for the proper development and growth of the baby.

Growth milk, yes or no? What a dilemma


The milks of growthAccording to Dr. Moreno Villares, "they are only one option, but not the only one." They are an alternative to the natural transition of the breastmilk or the cow. "Moreno says that" it is not essential to give the child a milk of growth. On the other hand, sometimes, this may be the best we have. When? Growth milk is usually recommended for children who have been premature or are well below their growth percentile, "those who, as the doctor says," are just growing "or those who do not eat enough or do not have a balanced and healthy diet.

"The child who grows well and eats everything does not have to use a growth milk," says the doctor, who speaks of these milks as "a good option that is not essential." He argues that they are advantageous in many cases, but that they are not the only alternative. They should use it until approximately three years of age who have been premature, according to the recommendations of this doctor. But we must take into account, as he himself reminds, that you can not generalize on nutrition issues because a diet is always a set of things and growth milks can be dispensable, recommended or essential depending on how the child eats, how he feels what he eats, how he moves, what life he leads ...


Adapted milk and false myths

The eternal and so popularized debate about lactose It is clarified when one speaks with Dr. Moreno Villares. "There are very few children who do not tolerate lactose in the first years of their lives," she confirms. The profile of those who can not digest this property of milk often coincides with that of those children who have had an acute infection. In any case, these intolerances are usually transitory. They only last a few months. Then the child digests the dairy products with total normality.

After five years, you can see some more intolerant and in adults the collective represents 30 percent of the population in Spain. It is important to emphasize, as the expert does, that not all intolerances are the same and that everything depends on the amount of lactose we consume. There are certain people who, just by drinking a glass of milk, have problems; others need a lot more milk or dairy products to find themselves really bad. What the doctor makes clear is that intolerances are generated throughout life for very different reasons, but that has nothing to do in principle lactose intolerance with having given the child breast milk. This means that adapted milk does not necessarily eliminate the risk that the baby will become intolerant sooner or later and that the consumption of breast milk does not necessarily lead to intolerance.

Nutrients of a good growth milk

It is the one that contains:

- Iron
- Omega 3 oils
- Less protein
- Less saturated fats (which are what we call "bad")
- More vitamins
- More minerals

All these things are essential in the child's diet. If they can be introduced into your diet by other means, fantastic. If you can not and the family economy allows it, growth milks are very advantageous.This does not mean that growth milks containing these things will prevent diseases but they could guarantee a healthy diet when a balanced diet is not taken for whatever reason. As the doctor says "if the child's diet is unbalanced, growth milk plays a more important role".

Whole and growing milk: recommended and alternative amounts

The amount of milk that a child takes a day is equivalent to Dr. Moreno Villares estimates to half a liter daily. Therefore, the differences in price between normal milk and one of growth are perfectly acceptable, because the milk that is ingested is very small. Generally, according to the doctor, the choice of one or the other milk does not depend as much on economic factors as on fashions and beliefs. The doctor is traditional to think that the bad press that has been given to the lactose It has to do with the fact that our culture has consumed dairy products, especially fermented, for many years.

The reason for this practice is that we have lived close to animals that produce milk, which perhaps at the same time has opted for an abuse of lactose. Abuses are not good and as can happen with any other food if we eat too much milk can sit badly without necessarily being intolerant. Milk is always a food easily assumed by children, but neither its abuse is good or stop giving it rules out potential intolerances.

The nutrients of milk

The nutrients in milk, which are mostlyl phosphorus and calcium, not only found in this food but also in the fDried nuts and some fish. Broccoli also provides a good amount. So if the child can not drink milk can compensate for the lack of these minerals by other routes. What you can not do is dispense with milk just because. If the child needs a higher vitamin intake, we use the milk milks that supplement the deficiencies that can not be solved by means of modifications in their diet for various reasons. "

You can not stop eating fruit and vegetables by eating a dairy, "says Villares, who also adds that you have to" reach a balance. "The definitive advice given by the doctor is to take into account the particularities of the child because the Adapted milk or growth milk can be especially advantageous in some cases (not in others). It also recommends not forgetting that a diet is always the result of combining many factors and that Drinking a little milk is not a problem but that, during the first years of the child's life, tomar milk less is an unnecessary risk.

Elisa García
Advice:José Manuel Moreno Villares, expert in clinical and medical nutrition at the University Hospital 12 de Octubre de Madrid

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