Okay- I know. Right now you are reading this and wondering, ‘is this lady one of those moms?’- and the answer is… kind of.
I do not consider myself an organic fanatic or green mom but while our family occasionally orders take outs in Styrofoam and rest our feet on poly based rugs, we believe in vaccinations, glass Tupperware, gardening/harvesting our own vegetables when we can, and buying local if an option. I like to think that I am doing what I can, with the best health intentions, within my budget, for the well being and longevity of my family. If it happens to also help the earth, so be it. But my focus is always on simplicity and health.
When Baby Bunny first started with solid foods (purees included), I read so many different things online about when to introduce foods. Some said while you were still breastfeeding (so this meant EARLY) and others said to wait until after a year so that mother’s milk was the sole nutrition. Everything I read was like this- complete polar opposites of each other. Whats a mom to do? I decided I would compromise on what worked best for my baby and myself. I decided to introduce some of the top allergens on the early side in small amounts (starting with a skin test where you place the food on the baby’s skin to see if there is a reaction). If you have been following my blog at all, you know that Baby Bunny ended up with a severe egg allergy- so either the advice I chose to follow didn’t work for me or there is more going on than just timing of introducing foods.
Fast forward to Baby Bunny being about 12 months, and we decided to start supplementing with cow milk. I tried the ‘perfect’ Whole Foods whole milk variety to discover that Baby Bunny was SUPER irritable, had intense & severe colic, mucous-y diapers (sorry, TMI), and developed rashes when ever she had anything over an ounce or so. Since we were already seeing an allergist, this had come up since she never took to formulas. Formulas are typically formulated with cow proteins (cow milk). For small babies and even most adults, these proteins are difficult to digest and are often times allergenic. While some people think it is the lactose (sugar in the milk) causing digestive issues after consuming, it is often times the actual protein chain which is far more difficult to digest in a weak or immature gut. When we needed to give her milk, we tried the alternative formulas but discovered that soy actually mimics the same reactions as cow proteins and if someone is truly allergic to dairy/cow’s milk, they are in turn commonly allergic to soy. I even experimented with the outrageously expensive formulas (3 main kinds):
Partially-Hydrolyzed Formulas(e.g. Carnation Good Start®)These formulas take a cow’s milk protein, such as whey, and break it into large pieces. Unfortunately, most cow’s milk-allergic babies will react to these large pieces of protein. Therefore, these formulas are not indicated for use in cow’s milk-allergic infants.
Extensively-Hydrolyzed Formulas(e.g. Alimentum® or Nutramigen®)Extensively-hydrolyzed formulas are considered hypoallergenic and offer complete nutrition for infants who have an inability to digest, or who are intolerant/allergic to intact cow’s milk protein. These formulas take casein (a cow’s milk protein) and break it into pieces so that 90 percent of cow’s milk-allergic babies will not recognize the piece of protein as a cow’s milk protein. These formulas are also useful in some cases of malabsorption.
Amino Acid-Based Formulas(e.g. Neocate® or EleCare®)These formulas, also known as “elemental” formulas, offer complete nutrition for infants who have extreme protein hypersensitivity and are unable to tolerate extensively-hydrolyzed formulas.
Nothing seemed to work. The further down the above list we traveled, the more foul they tasted. If we wouldn’t even take these formulas- you can believe a picky baby won’t either.
We then came across goat’s milk. My first reaction is probably the same as yours: that is extreme and unconventional. But in reality it is neither. In Europe goats milk is often given over cow’s milk. Why? Here is a cheat sheet for you on the awesome benefits of goat’s milk (although it will probably be easier to change your kids mind than your own, since you have probably grown up on cow milk).
In short, I changed my daughter’s milk to Goat’s milk because it is higher in calories, fat and protein, vitamins A and B, less processed and treated (I buy non-homogenized), and is easier to digest. She is a happier kiddo on the milk and while I might not love the price tag ( I just spent about $32 on 2 gallons)- I love that I feel like she is getting a healthier product and isn’t suffering from dairy side-effects.
Would you (as an adult) make the switch? My guess is probably not; it has an ‘earthy’ flavor that I can only compare directly to beets and mushrooms (do not gauge your palate for this milk upon goat cheese- they do not taste alike), requires vigorous shaking since it is non-homogenized (although you can buy it homogenized), and- as previously mentioned- is about 5 times the cost of a gallon of cow’s milk. But, if you have an ulcer, frequent digestive issues, seem to be intolerant to diary- you might want to give it a try- or at the very least entertain a conversation with your doctor on the subject.
Have you made the switch? Share your experiences!
Want to read even more? Check out these links:
* As always- the comments and decisions I have made are based on my own personal experiences and work with my family/pediatric doctor for the care of my own daughter. You should always follow the care of your own doctor.