Mellow Mummy: The Cows Milk 'Thing' : Taking life as it comes...

Friday 28 May 2010

The Cows Milk 'Thing'

You know how I told you I was a member of almost every single baby club around? Well, this week I have been inundated with emails from each baby club, kindly reminding me that in just a few weeks time, Lara will turn one (as if I'd forgotten).

The reason for the flood of emails is evident. At 12 months, the government recommendation is to introduce cows milk into my daughter's diet and, if I am formula feeding (which I am currently), to replace this with cows milk. The formula companies are in a panic, they see this as the point at which they will lose me as a customer and they're desperate to find a reason to sell me more stuff, whether I need it or not.

Image courtesy of Amadeus

For me, the transition to cow's milk comes as a release. No more preparation of bottles each evening to take to the childminders in the morning. No more cash blown away on tubs after tub of infant formula. It means less stuff to carry around and a welcome move away from reliance on a product with which I have always felt a little uncomfortable.

I know there are people who don't or can't do the cow's milk thing. I understand that there are people who see cow's milk as just an unnatural an alternative to breast milk as formula. I also understand the argument that the human stomach was never really built for cow's milk. But for me, it is part of my life, it's a handy, natural option and I'm confident that Lara is not intolerant of it.

I intend to switch Lara as soon as we get back from the USA. I would have liked to do it beforehand but I'm worried I won't be able to get to a local shop for milk while we're away (and I don't trust US milk... it's a long and slightly unpleasant story).

The astute among you will have noticed that not once have I suggested in the text above that I might feed Lara a 'growing-up milk' or 'toddler milk'. It has never crossed my mind. Even after the host of emails from the formula companies, even after the relentless TV advertising... I will not be feeding Lara a toddler milk.

I find the adverts very misleading. A recent TV advert tells us that our babies need to drink a gazillion litres of cow's milk to get the same amount of iron as in one cup of their formula. So? If your child is eating a full and varied diet, they should, by 12 months be getting their required iron intake from real food – not formula food. I do know of children, who, even at 3 years old do, genuinely need food supplements such as toddler milk to get their required nutrients; but in general I feel that toddler milks are unnecessary.

An episode of Panorama a few months back (the one with Annabel Karmel) revealed that many growing-up milks are sweetened to make them appealing to toddlers – feeding your toddler a sweetened drink will only make it harder to transition to cow's milk, water or other natural drinks.

I'll shut up now because I'm ranting. I'd love to know your experiences or opinions on the transition.
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