Ada’s doctors have had this preoccupation with whether or not Ada is drinking a dairy milk substitute since she is not drinking dairy. Soy is out for her. Other subs include hemp milk, coconut milk and rice milk.
And of course, the truth is that she doesn’t need a milk substitute at all– she’s still getting what her 17-month-old body expects: breastmilk.
It strikes me funny that people think kids need dairy or a marketed “toddler formula” to fill the nutritional gaps created when they turn a year old and typically wean off of breastmilk, but think it’s odd for a kid to nurse past 1 year of age.
The WHO and American Academy of Family Practitioners both say that nursing until two years of age is a good goal. I think that is based on nutritional needs and immune system maturity. And of course, cow’s milk and formula don’t have immunities that encourage a child’s immune system to mature.
Ada’s doctor asked me what milk I am drinking since I can’t do dairy or soy. I said I make rice milk on occassion and cook with coconut milk, and her face looked so relieved! Which is funny, because coconut milk has good fat but little protein, and rice milk has next to nothing in it but some carbs. They are poor poor substitues for breastmilk for Ada or calcium for me.
I get tons of calcium in my raw green smoothies anyway. And I eat canned salmon with bones, so I’m not worried about it.
It’s just funny that she is relieved I have some type of “milk” in our diets. People have started to think that milk is a word synonymous with calcium, protein and vitamin D and that’s just not true. I won’t theorize on the effects of the dairy council and marketing and us being oblivious to what is truly healthy just now.
And I’m not a vegan activist either. Up until a year and some months ago, I ate cheese and butter probably most days. Which is funny because I didn’t think at the time that I ate alot of dairy. Amazing how giving up foods for weeks or months opens your eyes to yourself.
And I was never a milk drinker because I thought cow’s milk is basically meant for baby cows and not humans, and I never liked it.
I had also read in a book while I was pregnant with Azita that researchers tested the pee of women who drank milk for their calcium and women that ate broccoli, and then women that ate broccoli were retaining more then the milk drinkers. Has to do with the bio-availability or something like that.
So either way, I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad about dairy for them or formula/dairy for their toddler, that’s not my point. I just find it funny that everyone is so worried when you make the decision, based on health or ethics, not to eat it.
One mom in the yahoo Foodlab group is struggling with giving up dairy for her child who is reacting to it. It is hard to give things up, I get it. But dairy is toxic to her baby, even if not for the rest of us. She’ll figure out her way. I did with all of our eliminations. She wrote that she is a vegetarian and so has no options but dairy for protien. I gently reminded her of eggs, beans/legumes, nuts, seeds. There is always more.
Another mom was trying to figure out what milk to give her kid when she turns a year old, in case she is no longer nursing.
Cyndi, who blogs here, wrote this to her, which I think sums it up well:
Here’s the bottom line. Adults and older children don’t need milk. Of any kind, dairy or not. If a child is young enough to require some sort of milk it means they are too young to be weaned. Period. Nothing is better than the milk you make. Certainly a cow being artificially nursed long after her own baby has been weaned (or taken from her) is not going to provide better nutrition. And no substitute can either.