Is peer pressure the reason I feed my baby cow’s milk?

A slow day at work. My health-obsessed coworker and I discussed milk today.

Coworker: I hate milk. I think it’s disgusting. Do you drink milk?
Me: Milk? Eww, no. I haven’t had milk in years. Now I drink almond milk.
Coworker: I know..milk is bad for you..How’s almond milk?
Me: Way better than milk. And cheaper. And it doesn’t contain hormones that are going to make me grow testicles.
Coworker: Yeah…
Me: (hesitant) Do you give your kids milk?
Coworker: Of course! Why? You don’t?!
Me: Of course I do! What kind of mother do you think I am?

Apparently, I am the kind of mother who won’t touch milk with a ten-foot pole but gives my baby at least 18 oz of it per day because society tells me to do so.

Curiosity led me to do some light research on the various milk products we can feed our children after age 1. Here’s what I found:

Goat’s Milk — from wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com:
“A lactose intolerant baby, and even a baby with a cow milk protein allergy, may benefit from goat milk based food products. Many parents have been told that goat’s milk may settle easier and also digest easier in the tummy of a baby with a known lactose intolerance. However, goat’s milk is not lactose free; it actually contains lactose and not all babies will benefit from goat milk based foods. As mentioned, goat’s milk is NOT lactose free but it does contain less lactose than cow’s milk.”

More on goat’s milk — according to Gazzaniga-Moloo, a nutrition instructor at California State University in Sacramento: “It packs as much calcium as whole cow’s milk and contains more tryptophan, an essential amino acid.”

Almond Milk — According to Gazzaniga-Moloo
“Protein is sparse in almond milk, with only 1 gram per cup, compared with 7 and 8 grams for soy and cow’s milk, respectively. It’s not suitable for those with nut allergies and lacks the B vitamins in cow’s milk.”
Blogger’s side note: have you tried vanilla almond milk? It’s a dessert, for god’s sake. And one of the benefits of being an adult: we don’t need all that protein. Right?

Rice Milk:
Low in fat and calories; low in everything else, too. Lacks Vitamins A and C and as little protein as almond milk, only not as exciting because it’s made from one of the dullest foods on earth.

Coconut Milk
According to Livestrong.com, “Coconut milk is high in iron, with 22 percent of the recommended daily allowance. It also has 110 percent of the daily recommendation of manganese. Coconut milk is also high in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, selenium, zinc, folate and vitamin C. It also contains vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, vitamin B6, niacin, choline, pantothenic acid and calcium.”

Hold the phones: coconut milk also has 552 freaking calories per cup! So it’s a healthy, drinkable Big Mac.

Soy Milk
Rich in protein and calcium, low in calories, fine for lactose intolerant folk. Still, the question over whether soy can act as a hormone in breast cells or trigger cancer keeps me from reaching for it on grocery shelves (as much as I love Silk Chocolate Soy Milk…again, dessert).

Regular old cow’s milk
Cow’s milk has the most protein and calcium of all the aforementioned options. So, what’s the problem, you ask? Spend a bit more on organic milk for baby and be done with it.

Too many opposing views on organic milk to list them all, so I’ll focus on what Brittany from ahealthysliceoflife.com has to say, because she did a far better job than I will at breaking it down for you:

“ALL milk (organic or not) is closely screened for antibiotics. If even a trace amount exists, it isn’t allowed into the food supply. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration. Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance – 2005 Revison. Washington, D.C.: USDHHS, PHS, FDA, 2005.) If a farm has two antibiotic infractions, it’s shut down. Clearly, it’s taken seriously.

Ok, great. But what about hormones? Well, saying any milk is hormone-free is a flat out lie. A very small amount of naturally occurring hormones are present in all milk, organic and conventional….”

Read on — good stuff…

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