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breastmilk is inferior to cow's milk for toddlers......wtf?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I recently took my 16 month old to a WIC appointment. The nurse commended me for continuing to breastfeed, but told me that breast milk is nutritionally deficient past 12 months, and that my DS needs to drink Vitamin D milk in order to get the proper amount of fat, protein, Vitamin D and calcium needed for brain development and healthy growth..She said that past the first year, breastfeeding fails to provide any of those.  I told the nurse that my DS still nurses 3-4 times a day in addition to drinking almond milk twice a day (he can't tolerate soy or dairy)  and eats a varied diet (LO is in the 85th percentile for both height and weight so he's not starving). She said there's no way to know if breast milk is still meeting LO's needs because we can't measure how much he's drinking. I'm convinced that DS is getting the proper amount of calories, fat, etc but she kept pressuring me to reintroduce cow's milk.


So, my question is, is breast milk only "what's best" for the first year of life, but somehow cow's milk magically becomes "best" once a child turns one? Will my child still be healthy if he depends on breastmilk or non-dairy milk for his calcium, and Vitamin D as well as healthy foods for fat or protein?


Really, I guess I'm looking for validation about my decision to continue to nurse my toddler lol.

post #2 of 19

That lady is incorrect (obviously). Breast milk remains the right milk for your human toddler. Cow's milk cannot provide what human milk will. 


It might not be a bad idea to supplement Vitamin D, especially if you live in an area where you don't get time in the sun every day. I give our kids Vitamin D gummies. It's not that cow's milk provides Vitamin D; it's that the cow's milk sold in stores has Vitamin D added.


I know that medical people are comforted by things they can measure, but your ds is in the 85th percentile! He doesn't need to have his intake measured. It's too bad that she's projecting her insecurities about trusting the body onto your breastfeeding relationship.


Have you seen the LLL book, Mothering Your Nursing Toddler? I think it's a good one to read at this stage.

post #3 of 19
I am still nursing my 22 month old (as well as a 9 month old). He loves his milk, but my family keeps teasing him ans telling me I need to give him "real milk".

I found studies showing that cows milk decreases iron absorption which can lead to anemia in children under two. We also lose enzymes required to process lactose around the age of five. Some people lose more than others and are classified as lactose intolerant.

Aside from that, breast milk is the perfect milk for humans; cow milk is the perfect milk for cows. People would think you were crazy if you pumped your breast milk, then fed it to a cat or any other nonhuman!
post #4 of 19
I totally agree that breastmilk is best fot toddlers, but I want to let you know that human milk contains lactose at higher levels than cows milk. I was very surprised when I first heard it, and looked it up in an encyclopedia., and found it to be true.
post #5 of 19
Pek64, I know it has much more lactose. My point was just that by the time they are too old to breastfeed, their bodies have a tougher time breaking down the lactose anyway.
post #6 of 19
post #7 of 19
I don't drink cows milk at all and my 3 year old son (38 months) is still nursing and has never had cows milk. he is doing fine...healthy and smart. Don't worry, you are doing the right thing smile.gif
post #8 of 19

I agree with the other posters - your milk has plenty of nutrients of your LO.  Many people are intolerant to dairy and have no nutritional deficiencies! I also had a dietitian tell me that I needed to give my DS dairy for him to be healthy jaw.gif...I went to see her because we have a dairy allergy and wanted to make sure that we were getting everything we needed! FAIL on her part.  My son was EBF for way more than the first year, since he had a lot of food in tolerances (his gut needed time to heal/mature).  He is off the charts in height and weight.  I agree to look at kellymom.  And even forums on here.


As for the lactose thing, raw milk - cow, human, goat, etc all have have lactose, but the milk also has enzymes in it to help digest it (in addition to the ones we have in our bodies).  Milk from the store is really hard to digest because those enzymes are lost during pasteurization.   Nonhuman milk was typically not only raw but fermented or cultured in the past to further aid in digestion.  Now milk from the store is kind of like taking a multivitamin...and if your not eating fat with it (i.e. skim milk) you aren't even able to absorb the vitamins because they are fat soluble.  eyesroll.gif


I would also look into vit D supplements if you aren't outside a lot though. The other nutrients are easy enough to get with a healthy diet - even if it doesn't include dairy.

post #9 of 19

OP, keep doing what you're doing!  If human babies needed the nutrient profile of cow milk, then human mothers would make milk with that nutrient profile.  We make just the milk our babies need, and as they get older, the milk concentrates so that they are getting jut the right amount of all the good stuff in a more compact form (logically so, because they are nursing less often and thus taking in less volume).

post #10 of 19

They really ought to train their counsellors better. Shame on them. I would actually make a complaint. 

post #11 of 19

I've not heard the argument about Vit D before, but I certainly have heard the argument that breast milk isn't as good as cow's milk because you can't measure it.  


Isn't it a sad state of affairs when something is only worth anything if it can be measured and tick boxed?  I can't help but see a correlation between this attitude and the testing culture most of our countries subject kids to in schools.  If it can't be measured it's not worth anything.


Dear oh dear.


Keep doing what you're doing.  Your baby sounds just great!

post #12 of 19

I just had my WIC appointment and they were so happy that I am still nursing DD at 21 months and said they "love to see moms nursing after a year". I really think you should file a complaint, think of all the people they are giving that misinformation to! 

post #13 of 19

Yah. I think that WIC chick spent too much time watching ads from the dairy lobby on TV. You're right on track, OP. Cow milk is for cow toddlers, not human ones.

post #14 of 19

Here is some info you can share with your WIC counselor:


post #15 of 19

I'm told the same thing by doctors. I recently took my 18m old dd to the pediatrician, and she told me she was concerned with dd's calcium intake because dd doesn't consume dairy products. We live in tropical climate, and is outside in the sun for hours a day. Is there any evidence that breastmilk is deficient in certain nutrients after 12 months?

post #16 of 19
Some doctors believe cows milk is the *only* source of calcium. They are wrong. If the mother is eating sources of calcium, her milk will have calcium. See post #14, above.
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the encouragement and advice ladies! I'm going to keep at breastfeeding until we both decide that it's time to stop winky.gif

post #18 of 19

Wow i would of flipped out on her! Lol... Its crazy when people say BM is not enough.. SMH

post #19 of 19
Thanks so much for posting this question.my daughter is aost 15 months and has not had cow's milk. My pedi was very supportive and never pushed the cow's milk issue but it's so nice to get some exta validation here too!
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