Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Do Babies Need Cow's Milk When They Turn 1 Year Old?

As Max's first birthday is approaching I have been researching what is next on the milk front.  Of course we all have heard that as soon as your baby turns 1 year old you are to give them whole cow's milk.  But why do we do that?  Well I've always heard for fat and calcium.  I sought out to figure out if it's really necessary.  Of course I am going to talk to my pediatrician first, but I wanted to share with you some interesting research that I found.
I started following a few blogs that focus on healthy eating and a lot of plant based foods. Whole Food Mommies has a GREAT post on the International Dairy Food Association (IDFA).  Did you know that milk and dairy products (in particular butter and cheese) are the major source of saturated fat consumed by Americans…and saturated fat has the most powerful causative relationship with heart disease and cancer? (Disease Proof Your Child, Dr. Joel Fuhrman).

Milk is convenient-Milk provides a convenient source of fat, protein, calcium, and vitamin D for growing bodies. But, in today’s average food lifestyle, these building blocks can be more than adequately supplied in other areas of a balanced diet. (source)

Myth: Babies Need Calcium That is Found in Milk- Let's explore calcium in whole milk. Please read their other post here about where to find other sources of calcium. When you eat  healthy whole food plant based foods (fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds) it is IMPOSSIBLE not to obtain sufficient calcium. Everything that grows from the ground has calcium in it- in particular our green vegetables.

Our body absorbs the calcium differently from different foods and absorbs calcium most efficiently from VEGETABLES.  Only about 32% of the calcium in milk is absorbed (most of the calcium is lost in the urine- see below for more details), while 53% of the calcium in broccoli is absorbed.

CALCIUM found in common foods
Raw Almonds (1/2 cup)    180 mg
Broccoli (1 cup)               180 mg
Orange (2)                     120 mg
Sesame seeds (1/4 cup)   350 mg
Spinach (1 cup)               244 mg
Milk (Whole) 1/2 cup       145 mg (but only 32% is absorbed)

(Disease Proof your Child, Dr. Joel Fuhrman)
She also goes on to talk about Osteoporosis. "Osteoporosis is usually not a condition of inadequate calcium intake. Rather, it is a condition of overly rapid calcium loss. (The Cancer Survivor’s Guide, Neal D. Barnard
Epidemiologic studies have linked osteoporosis not to low calcium intake but to various nutritional factors that cause excessive calcium loss in the urine.  I have stated this before, but it is worth repeating:

Osteoporosis tends to occur in countries where calcium intake is highest and most of it comes from protein-rich dairy products. 

What About the Fat Babies Can Get from Whole Milk-
From WFM: Our brains are mostly made from DHA fat.  For our brain to work at it's best...we need to have the right ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fats.  When our children consume the right mix of these EFA's they maximize their brain development.  (Check out her last blog here for details about omega-6 and omega-3 fats).

The following WHOLE foods provide our bodies with the needed FATS to produce DHA:
FLAXSEEDS,  WALNUTS, SOYBEANS & LEAFY GREENS. Other great sources are avocados, nut butters (like tahini, which is raw sesame seed butter), and hummus.

She has great recipes which I'll do a separate post on to get these seeds and other leafy greens into your childrens food on a daily basis.

What Am I Going to Do With This Information-
At this point I am going to be giving Max Almond Milk with meals or in smoothies (he already is having these). I will be trying my own homemade almond milk.  I will also try to incorporate those good fats and greens needed for Max (and us). I will be looking into a vitamin D supplement, too.

Other discussions on milk and linking to cancer can be found here. Information on a Vitamin D supplement found here

What are your thoughts on this?  I am really interested to hear from you, especially if you are already implementing some of these with your kids.
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Sara said...

my boys are both dairy free and i will never put them on cow's milk!

but be careful with overdoing the almond products and leafy greens. they are both really high in oxalates which can be hard on young tummies and even cause painful urinary problems! use in moderation!

my boys drink coconut milk (LOTS of health benefits and immune boosting properties) and i use almond butter and leafy greens here and there.

Ashley said...

Thank you for this! My little guy is only 3 months, but I'm looking for alternatives to the mainstream 'expected' foods.

Shawna said...

My twins are about a month older than Max. I have tried milk with them but they don't like it, and I still breast feed so I am not so worried about it. I do instead give them cheese for lunch, and we are trying different things as well. :)

Anonymous said...

My son has to have cows milk since he is allergic to all nut and seed products and will not drink rice milk. We have never had a problem with it in moderation.

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