Do You Know Which Milk to Feed Your Baby?
Written by: Cassie Zeider
Mom’s are constantly researching what type of milk is the best when they can no longer provide breast milk or are weaning from formula. First off, I’d like to give a shout out to those mom’s who do research instead of just doing what their ped says or going straight to cow’s milk.
What should you give your baby after they hit that 1 year mark?
Deciding on which kind of milk you want your child to drink can actually be simply determined by a few easy steps and insights. Let me walk you through them:
1. Determine your beliefs on nutrition and what you want to avoid.
2. Determine your budget.
3. Determine if there are any known allergies that your child has to dairy. 1 in 3 kids have a dairy allergy and most of them go undetected.
So What Are Your Milk Options?
Cow’s Milk (Whole Milk) – Babies need extra fat until the age of 3 and I’d be as inclined to personally say it goes beyond that. If you are buying milk, whole milk provides the most balanced nutritional profile.
Now, if cow’s milk is your choice from your determinations above, then here’s what you should know…
Cows are injected with hormones and antibiotics on a regular basis and it has been proven that we are affected by what they are injected with – and not in a healthy way.
The second fact is that most cows are fed GMO foods. Although GMOs are relatively new to our food industry, there are a lot of reasons to be weary of them.
Organic Cow’s Milk (Whole Milk) – No hormones or antibiotics involved, but GMOs can still be a factor. Read your labels or talk to your farmers to be sure you’re getting the best organic milk possible.
Goat’s Milk – More similar to human milk than cow’s milk, goat’s milk is generally easier to digest. If there are food allergies with dairy, that doesn’t mean goat’s milk will have the same effect. This is something you can test out and see how your baby reacts to it. Goat’s milk has a more hefty price tag and is harder to find than other sources, so be sure to keep that in mind as well.
Soy Milk – Soy milk has about the same amount of protein as cow’s milk and some iron, but little calcium unless fortified. Soybean crops are often heavily treated with pesticides, so an organic product is always preferred.
Almond Milk – Nut beverages are created by grounding nuts, straining them, then liquefying them into the final product. Almond milk is deficient in vitamin B12 and has very little protein. Compared to other nut milks though, almond milk is the most nutritious based on the health benefits and contents in almonds; they have natural vitamin E, which is thought to decrease the development of certain cancers (this option has been my personal preference and I’ll explain why below).
Keep in mind that nut allergies are extremely common so just pay close attention to how your baby reacts and go from there.
Coconut Milk – A great source of healthy fat with a creamy, sweet, simple taste, but little nutrients other than that.
Now that we’ve got the milk options listed, here are some tidbits that may shock you…
Milk isn’t really necessary! WHAT?
You can get ALL the nutrients found in milk in other sources of foods. That’s why my family chose almond milk – it’s more of a replacement of the milk so that, when you are away from your baby, he/she still has something familiar. That being said, it’s a good idea to be sure your little ones eat their leafy greens for calcium and red meat for iron and protein. If you are vegan, choose the best source for your baby and see how they do.
If you aren’t to a point where the adjustment away from milk is something you feel comfortable with, then go with the option that best suites your family. Every family is different and some families do better with one method than another.
Cassie Zeider is a Certified Health Coach, Mother, Daughter and Friend. She is passionate about food and how it relates to the body. Weight loss, digestion and hormones are her favorite topics, but she loves stress release as well. She focuses on a whole body approach to health.
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