how important is milk-fat? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-20-2010, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
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dd is 15 months and has never liked milk as a beverage. i don't blame her, neither do i. she loves her some water. 

thing is, she's recently dropped from the 25th percentile to somewhere around 10th....and this is in spite of the fact that she is an a-MAZ-ing eater. we're talking adult sized portions and a wide variety. our ped isn't so concerned as she just started walking but we could also attribute the percentile loss to the fact that she's missing all those calories and fat from the milk that other kids would be drinking all day.

 

so here's my question...how important is it that the fat in her diet come from dairy specifically? i have always tried to focus on getting her good fats and sneaking more in whenever possible....alot of the time with olive oil. she does love cheese. i could always try more coconut milk.

 

the other issue is that we keep kosher so alot of other good options aren't available to us. we can only get low-fat yogurt and even then it's super expensive so i'm not sure if it's worth packing her full of it although the calcium and protein is great. cottage cheese, same deal, only lowfat and breaks the bank. there's no option for goats' milk. it would be a pretty big PITA to make yogurt from scatch due to our kitchen setup (only a hotplate for dairy cooking and i have to wash the dishes by hand in the basement...ugh!)

 

the other thought is to add flavor to the milk...vanilla or chocolate...she did drink a hot chocolate at a coffee shop today as a special treat but drinking chocolate milk at home seems like a slippery slope that i'm not sure i want to head down.

 

thoughts? do i just focus on adding other non-dairy fats? do i really make an effort to get her more cheese throughout the day????


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Old 12-20-2010, 08:54 PM
 
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is she nursing?  if she is atleast 3-4 times a day you don't really need to offer cow's milk. However milk fat is extremely important for brain development. I've heard if they are not nursing they need cow's milk or formula till 2 years of age.

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Old 12-20-2010, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
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not since i turned up preggos a few months ago. she does get formula at nap and bed but it's super watered down for her teeth and for eventually kicking the bottle habit.

 

so there IS something special to milk fats then, huh?


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Old 12-20-2010, 09:23 PM
 
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What type of milk are you offering?  Because dd HATED homo milk wouldn't touch the stuff but loves 2% (I think the milks are called different things in the states, like whole and lowfat?).  So we compromised and she drinks 2%.  Sometimes I cut in whipping cream or half and half if we have it on hand winky.gif and she'll drink that too, but most of the time its just 2%.  "They" recommend switching from homo to 2% up here between 2 and 3 but I figured getting her to drink milk is better then none


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Old 12-20-2010, 09:29 PM
 
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My son won't touch cow's milk, but he loves butter.  He takes the pad off of his bread and sticks the whole thing in his mouth, eats it and then asks for more. 
 

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Old 12-20-2010, 09:35 PM
 
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from kellymom.com:

Pediatricians now recommend that any cow's milk be whole milk from a cup after the first year and until the child is at least 2 years of age. This ensures that your child receives enough fat, which is essential to proper brain development. After the age of two, if growth is good, you can switch to low-fat or nonfat milk. Note: If your child is nursing, then remember that mom's milk is "whole" milk - the more breastmilk your child gets, the less need to worry about your child getting additional fat from whole milk or other sources.

It's best to limit the amount of cow's milk that your child receives to 2-3 cups (16-24 ounces) per day, since too much cow's milk in a child's diet can put him at risk for iron-deficiency anemia (because milk can interfere with the absorption of iron) and may decrease the child's desire for other foods.

 

also..... Many dietitians see nothing wrong with adding some flavor (such as strawberry or chocolate) to cow's milk.

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Old 12-20-2010, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
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i think she's pretty much run the gamut of milk types. alot of the time we'll have 2% but she does get whole milk at daycare. apparently there she dumps the contents of her cup and holds it out for them to fill back up with water. 

i'd love to do butter but even that is hard to get (requires a trip to chicago, 1.5 hours away) and super duper pricey (like $1.50 for a tiny piece about the size of half a stick) so we usually do earth's best spread.

i want to keep offering it but it's even an effort to get milk so i feel like i'm running myself ragged to get it and then it's not getting used.

maybe i should try adding coconut milk to regular milk? at least then it's not flavored with nestle quick but it's not that different, i guess. she does drink that cultured coconut milk/fake kefir stuff that they make so it's not like she'll ONLY drink water. hmmm......


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Old 12-20-2010, 11:59 PM
 
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my understanding is there's nothing special about milk-fat that can't be gotten through other types of fat. the issue is just that a lot of toddlers are on a pretty much white-carb only diet, and whole milk is a good way of getting fats into them. 


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Old 12-21-2010, 06:13 AM
 
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My 16mo DD won't drink cow milk at all.  She drinks unsweetened coconut milk in her cup. She does like cheese, so I just make sure that she eats some cheese as a snack and some sort of dairy in a meal every day.   We are also seeing a similar trend in her weight.  Since she started walking, she has been dropping in the weight percentiles despite eating HUGE amounts of food.  My ped doesn't seem worried, though.  DD has also gone from 50th percentile to 75th in height.  He did say that we should try getting her to eat more yogurt, but I haven't been motivated to do that yet as it would involve me spooning it into her mouth.  She has gotten a lot better with her spoon in the last few weeks, though. 


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Old 12-21-2010, 07:20 AM
 
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Babies need fats for development-- but there isn't anything magical about milk fat. Babies do need a variety of foods with high fat content, and not just unsaturated fats-- babies need saturated fat and cholesterol. I would try to include stuff like butter, olive oil, avocado, dark-meat poultry, meats, eggs, coconut, nuts and nut butters.

What about a plug-in yogurt incubator? I don't know what your financial situation is. I got mine for about $40. It is a completely independent unit, plugs in, and is super-easy to use. I heat the milk in a pan, and then set it to cool. I mix in a cupful of commercial yogurt (low-fat is fine for that!) and then pour it into the incubator and plug it in. It has eight little cups that you fill. When it's done, you just stick the eight little cups in the fridge. They're the only thing you have to clean, and they get cleaned one at a time as you use the yogurt. The unit itself you can just wipe down with a wet cloth if it gets dusty, but it needs no other cleaning.

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Old 12-21-2010, 09:50 AM
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Cultures for Health has a few yogurt starters that you can make on the counter top.  All you'd need is a jar, and you could just put a lid on it when you're done.  A lot of the fats in milk are short chain saturated fats that increase kids metabolism, give them energy, and promote healthy brain development.  If she's not getting a lot of milk fat, I'd focus on coconut oil and fats from meats.  This is a matter of nutrition, not weight.

 

I don't think weight is likely a problem.  Is your pediatrician using the WHO breastfed baby charts?  I know you said that she's not still breastfeeding, but the WHO charts will show the growth curves for normal, healthy children.  If she's growing as if she were still breastfed, then you can be pretty sure her weight is fine.  The charts that most pediatricians use include a lot of formula-fed babies who are more likely to be overweight.  Normal (breastfed) babies will slow their weight gain considerably in the second year while formula-fed babies tend to continue gaining weight at a quicker rate.  This quicker rate is not how babies were designed to grow.  It is not normal.  It is the product of an inferior diet, but it is the standard against which all babies are measured and judged.  This is problematic because the normal growth of a baby is viewed as abnormal, and the abnormal growth of formula-fed babies is seen as normal.  Early signs of problems with obesity are missed, while normal breastfeeding babies are encouraged to supplement.  I could go on and on with my rant, but the bottom line is that you need to chart your toddler's weight on the WHO charts and not be concerned if she's not gaining weight like formula-fed babies.

 

My toddler started at the 95%ile shortly after birth and has been dropping ever since.  By 18 months, she was around the 25%ile.  I charted her on the WHO charts, and she's almost perfectly on the 75%ile line all the way.  Her pediatrician's been pushing us since 9 months to make sure we put "oils" on her food.  (I really don't recommend polyunsaturated oils that are mostly omega 6.  Saturated fats nourish, but most do not make you gain weight.  It is refined carbohydrates that make you gain weight.)  Make sure she's not eating low fat.  Use coconut oil liberally, and don't have her eat too many raw veggies.  Their bulk can make her feel full even though she does not get enough calories.  She sounds perfectly healthy to me.  Don't worry too much.

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Old 12-21-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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As a couple of the PPs mentioned, I'd focus on other fats, chicken or duck fat, beef fat.  I wanted my kids to have a good cholesterol source since we're dairy free, eggs work very well for us.  I find it's easy for my kids' diets to slip lower in fat than I think they'd prefer--they don't say "Mom, we want more fat" but they eat a lot more food, and they seem to need to eat more frequently, and if I offer something like avocadoes, they'll eat a few at once.  I twigged to that not long ago--when they wolfed down the initial 4 avocadoes I purchased, I realized more might help, so I bought more and started making more of an effort to make sure there was more fat in all of our cooked food. 

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Old 12-21-2010, 04:44 PM
 
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You might try offering fatty fish. My kids will eat smoked salmon, or even herring right out of the can.

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Old 12-21-2010, 06:36 PM
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I'm not sure why you are watering down the formula - is that something your ped recommended?  Because I think that is the easiest change right there - just give full formula.

 

Dairy is good not just for fat but for calcium, too, so I'd still try to push some on her.  My DS would eat nothing but cheese all day if I let him.  Maybe try that.

 

You can also put some flavor in the milk.  We do chocolate syrup sometimes as a treat.  I just make it really, really weak.

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Old 12-22-2010, 06:47 AM
 
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Watering the formula is a technique for weaning baby from the bottle. It's usually considered best by experts for babies who need a "falling asleep" bottle to switch to a bottle of water, by about a year to a year and a half, because of formula's tendency to cause tooth decay. But there is the option of offering formula at some other time of day, apart from bedtime.

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Old 12-22-2010, 08:28 AM
 
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Why do you need to wean from the bottle?   My DS who is 29 months still gets a bottle at bedtime.  He LOVES, LOVES, LOVES it.  I've found no reason to take that away, especially because he'll drink 8 oz of milk with no problem.   I can put that same 8 oz in a sippy cup and he'll sip 1/2 ounce.     We limit the bottle to only at night and on weekends during nap (another time that he LOVES his bottle).     I stressed over weaning from a bottle, but then I realized he loved it so much, why take that away?   I keep a toothbrush by the rocking chair and I quickly brush his teeth right after the bottle, so I don't have to worry about the milk on his teeth at night.

 

You may want to start putting part milk and part formula in the bottle to see if he'll make the switch.  We started slowly with 1/4 milk and 3/4 formula.  We did that for 3 days and then 1/2 milk and 1/2 formula, etc.

 

Have you tried smoothies?  I mix a strawberry yogurt with milk.  DS loves that.  He'll down 6 oz of his "yogurt milk" in a sippy cup with no problem.

 

Milk has so many wonderful nutrients.  If you can work at keeping milk in the diet I think your LO will benefit greatly. 

 

Also - weight gain does slow down after their first year.  My DS was growing like crazy in the first year and now has only put on 2 lbs...but he is still in the 75th percentile for his age (what is crazy is that my DS is a terrible eater).

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Old 12-22-2010, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
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i think maybe a cup of formula at some point during the day might be something we should try. in fact, today i gave her a bottle AFTER her nap because she woke up on the wrong side of the bed and i couldn't console her...so we chilled with a bottle together. Llyra is spot on, i am trying to wean from the bottle because she needs it to fall asleep (thus, no tooth brushing afterwards.) she used to rely on the boob and could finish to fall asleep on her own but then the nuk reliance started up, later on rejected the nuk so in my infinate laziness i just replaced it with the bottle....lesson learned!

these are some great suggestions. i think i'm going to keep up with vigilance about other fats (she loves eggs so much that while i make 2 for myself i have to make 3 for her!), make an effort to have cheese snacks on hand (right now we only have feta which she's not so into), and yep....i've started giving her milk with flavor in the am. 

and i totally agree with JMJ, i think somebody just had to verbalize it for me to fully realize it. dd is a completely healthy size so i shouldn;t be worried so much about the weight per se. the brain stuff is really what i'm more concerned about. 


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Old 12-22-2010, 07:50 PM
 
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For what its worth - i stopped letting my DS#1 have any cows milk at the age of one.  He weaned at 9 mos., was on formula until 12 months - then i stopped dairy entirely until he was 2.  His older sister was totally formula fed and had constant ear infections - when he started having more ear infections - i took him off dairy and he didnt have any more after that!  He ate meats, including spaghetti sauce full of ground beef and veggies - full of fat!  and drank rice milk, almond milk - whatever was on sale that week.  You might also try hemp milk - FULL of Omega Acids.

He is 12 now and has always been on the honor roll - so im certain this dairy interuptus was not harmful to him.

I reintroduced dairy slowly to him - first cheese, then ice cream, then milk.

Im sure its not important that children get DAIRY products - its just that they are a handy, easy, tasty way to get the fat and calories that they DO need.

What do vegan parents do?


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Old 12-22-2010, 09:38 PM
 
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Babies need fat and protein but they don't necessarily need cow's milk. My ped (very APA, by the book in her advice) didn't care that DS never really drank cow's milk. But he nursed and had expressed cow's milk until almost 2. He was also a big kid with a terrific diet.

 

I would emphasize other fat and protein rich foods. Vegetables cooked in butter or olive oil. Beans as a snack or at the start of meal (straight from a can is fine), cheese as a snack, we always do "bath yogurt" etc. I would play around with types of milk. I personally wasn't willing to offer flavored milk because something like self stable Horizon chocolate is PACKED with sugar. Horrible stuff. And no way I would be serving a child that age nesquik. I would probably consider something like Ovaltine though, which I think is Kosher. Canned salmon or other low mercury fishies.

 

If she likes coconut milk then I think that is a great substitute. And kefir is wonderful in its own right, arguably a lot better for her than cow's milk anyway. If she drinks it in any quantity I'd probably walk away from the cow's milk entirely.

 

And she is young, one step at a time. Formula is a better source of nutrition than cow's milk and so what if it is a bottle. I would stress all that much about the teeth. She is either cavity prone or not and 1 or 2 bottles a day isn't going to hurt her. She probably still needs the sucking comfort...

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Old 12-26-2010, 03:31 PM
 
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well my son is allergic to dairy, so he doesnt get any milk fats.... i dont worry about it at all. he eats a pretty good diet for a 3 year old, and drinks milk subs, so i dont think hes missing anything

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