Whole Milk vs Formula - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 22 Old 10-06-2008, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am pretty sure I know what kinds of reactions I am going to get on this one, but I am still curious as to what people think.

I recently started attending a play group, and met a mom of a six-month-old. She has been giving her baby whole milk in place of formula or bm for at least several weeks. I don't quite understand the logic.

Clearly we can all agree that bm is best, but if you couldn't breastfeed (or milk share) for whatever reason, would you give whole milk over formula to a six-month-old? From my understanding this mom started out breastfeeding, then switched to formula, and is now feeding with whole milk.

She told me that she just didn't want to keep paying for formula, and whole milk is cheaper. But I went shopping with her last week and she spent over $400 buying a Wii and various games for her husband's birthday. We are both on maternity leave (we are in Canada) and she plans on babysitting when her leave is over just for something to do... she has told me several times they can easily live off of her husband's salary and don't need any extra money.

So do you think this is just misplaced priorities, or is there a good reason to give milk over formula to a young infant? Or could it be something else?

Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).

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#2 of 22 Old 10-06-2008, 02:32 PM
 
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this seems like a no-brainer. my vote's with misplaced priorities. she flat out told you that she switched because formula was too expensive (not because whole milk was somehow superior).

if she was really concerned about saving money, she should have continued breastfeeding.

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#3 of 22 Old 10-06-2008, 02:57 PM
 
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this seems like a no-brainer. my vote's with misplaced priorities. she flat out told you that she switched because formula was too expensive (not because whole milk was somehow superior).

if she was really concerned about saving money, she should have continued breastfeeding.
I agree. However, I also know that a lot of parents feel the same way about saving money on formula.

I've actually heard that many pediatricians would like to see formula fed babies continue with formula until two years, but they are hesitant to recommend this officially knowing that parents are anxious to stop buying it and switch to something cheaper. It makes sense when toddlers can be so fussy about what they eat, and since they're moving in the direction of breast milk being recommended until at least two years.

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#4 of 22 Old 10-06-2008, 03:30 PM
 
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Formula is fortified with other nutrients that babies need and is processed to be gentler on the tummy than whole milk would be. Not a substitute at all!

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#5 of 22 Old 10-06-2008, 05:14 PM
 
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Whole milk has too much protein, it's bad for their kidneys. Formula has the protein:fat:carb ratio that human milk has and that human babies have evolved to need.
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#6 of 22 Old 10-06-2008, 05:25 PM
 
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Cow milk is not even close to being a BM or formula alternative. This childs health will suffer because of this choice. He is not getting the nutrients he needs.

Still a sleepy mama to my fabulous 2 year old girl
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#7 of 22 Old 10-06-2008, 06:22 PM
 
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If she doesn't want to breastfeed or pay for formula she shouldn't have kids. That's lame of her to upset her babies tummy because she wants to buy a wii. I have to supplement with formula because I have IGT and can't produce enough milk. My eldest was on formula until 2, and this baby will be too. Yeah it's expensive but thats what happens when you have babies, they're expensive.

On another note, my MIL breastfed her eldest sons until 6 months and then her doctors told her to switch to 2%. Both of her sons are over 6'5 inches tall, cops and one is an army ranger. So I'm sure the babe will be fine but they didn't KNOW better back then. We know better now.

Oh and MIL nursed her other kids for 2+ years when she KNEW better.
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#8 of 22 Old 10-06-2008, 06:42 PM
 
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That makes me so mad.

http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/mi...pplements.html
Cow's milk is more specific to a baby cow than a baby human. Cow's milk formula is based on cow's milk but has been engineered to be closer to human milk (still a ways off, but closer). Many infants still have problems with cow's milk formula (allergies, GI problems, etc.). Babies who are exposed to cow's milk before their first birthday are more likely to be anemic, have diarrhea or vomiting, and/or experience an allergic reaction (the proteins in milk are more numerous than those in other milk products, such as the yogurt). The excessive protein load in cow's milk can also overload a baby's kidneys. It is deficient in vitamins C, E, and copper. It is harder to digest as well, often causing intestinal blood loss. A number of studies have also indicated that early introduction of cow's milk may contribute to the development of Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus.

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#9 of 22 Old 10-06-2008, 06:51 PM
 
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Jeez, I just had this discussion.

A good place to start in analyzing the distinction between milk of different species is to begin to understand how nature works. As Dr. Oski explains in Don't Drink Your Milk!, "The milk of each species appears to have been specifically designed to protect the young of that species. Cross-feeding does not work. Heating, sterilization, or modification of the milk in any way destroys the protection." So, how much of a difference is there between a human baby drinking the milk of its mother versus drinking the milk of a cow? Dr. Oski cites a "study of over twenty thousand infants conducted in Chicago as far back as the 1930s... The overall death rate for the babies raised on human milk was 1.5 deaths per 1,000 infants while the death rate in the babies fed cow milk was 84.7 per 1,000 during the first nine months of life. The death rate from gastrointestinal infections was forty times higher in the non-breast-fed infants, while the death rate from respiratory infections was 120 times higher. An earlier analysis involving infants in eight American cities showed similar results. Infants fed on cow milk had a twenty times greater chance of dying during the first six months of life."

LINK here

There is not a single circumstance where it is OK for cows milk to be the predominant portion of your child's diet. If you don't breastfeed, that baby needs formula. Our parents generation made some foolish mistakes because they assumed something was safe and didn't ask enough questions.

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#10 of 22 Old 10-06-2008, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Interesting food for thought, ladies. I intrinsically knew that this couldn't be a good idea, but didn't realize the specifics. She just tells me that her baby "is on whole milk and is fine!!" but if the problems are more long term, she could have no idea what she is really doing.

I didn't mean to imply that she is skimping on formula in order to buy the Wii, just that I found it odd that she switched to milk because it was cheaper, but then went out and spent a fair bit on her husband's birthday. So yes, milk is cheaper, but it doesn't seem like money is really an issue for them, if you kwim.

The whole thing really surprised me because she had an unmedicated birth in a birth center with a midwife that you have to pay $4000 for here (as opposed to having a hospital birth which is "free"), so going off breastmilk AND formula before six months isn't something I would expect.

Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).

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#11 of 22 Old 10-06-2008, 08:42 PM
 
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I'm a nearly-no-supply mama with an almost six month old. We do a lot of donor milk, formula when we need to, but no whole milk, and when we do introduce it, it won't be for another six-ish months. If breastmilk isn't an option, the appropriate substitute is formula, not whole milk; the amount of protein in whole cow's milk isn't healthy for baby kidneys.

I'm looking at my daughter and I can't imagine giving her whole milk at this point in her life. Even with the cost of formula.
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#12 of 22 Old 10-07-2008, 02:14 AM
 
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As an occassional drink, I wouldn't sweat it - Jack Newman actually says it's fine for a breastfed baby as an occasional drink.

As the primary food source, this could be very serious as that baby will not get enough iron and will be getting far much protein and too few sugars and fats.

Does her doctor know she's doing this? Is she still breastfeeding at all?

Michelle, mama to Isabelle (03/04) and Tom (02/07)
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#13 of 22 Old 10-07-2008, 02:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post

I've actually heard that many pediatricians would like to see formula fed babies continue with formula until two years, but they are hesitant to recommend this officially knowing that parents are anxious to stop buying it and switch to something cheaper. It makes sense when toddlers can be so fussy about what they eat, and since they're moving in the direction of breast milk being recommended until at least two years.
Hey that's interesting info! I'd love to know where you read this. Back when I had ds and didn't know any better I chose not to bf. But I still had some semblance of instinct intact because I continued to use formula until he was 18 mos. old. Not as his main nutrition, but to bolster his nutrition because he was a picky eater. They even had something called "similac 2" then, don't know if that's still around. The flack I got though! The checker in Wal Mart said, "oh, no... he needs low-fat milk now!" I was so peeved by this bad advice I called the management to tell them their checkers should not give any parenting advice at all.

Oh, and yes to OP- This mom's priorities are screwed up! The only thing that would make me feel a tiny bit better is if the whole milk isn't the majority of the nutrition. Perhaps the babe is a big eater already? Not likely though for an only 6 mo. old. It should be formula for the not bf baby. Poor little thing. If you have the type of relationship where you go shopping together, can you talk candidly about nutrition/ baby care with out seeming judgmental or know it all-ish?
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#14 of 22 Old 10-07-2008, 02:41 AM
 
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My great grandmother used to tell me that "back in the day" when there was no formula, and a mother couldn't breastfeed for some reason or other, they used goat's milk. But, NEVER cow's milk as, even then, they knew it was worse.

So, I'm really confused on this woman's logic (not to mention priorities).

My mom couldn't breastfeed me (too much stress, no support, and her supply dried up when I was 2 months). But, even in post communist Poland where everything was on a ration card, she got me formula. Even though milk would have been cheaper. She'd trade her vodka and chocolate ration cards for formula ration cards. Fun times.

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#15 of 22 Old 10-07-2008, 03:04 AM
 
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Oh geez, I have no issue with FF, b/c I don't usually know all the dynamics that go in to that decision, but straight milk for a six month old? *My* tummy is hurting at the thought of it
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#16 of 22 Old 10-07-2008, 06:07 AM
 
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Wow that's young to be giving a baby cow's milk! I have milk supply issues, so I have to supplement with formula...the cost of the two may be great, but I'd never harm my baby's tummy just because cow's milk is cheaper.
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#17 of 22 Old 10-07-2008, 10:30 AM
 
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I had just started a thread a week ago about a mama I ran into feeding her baby evaporated milk!!
Its amazing with all the information that is out there that some mama's think this is okay.

Mama to Belly(5), homesteading in the desert with our chickens and sheep. Fish nerd, really into my reef tank. Baby due Sep 3rd!

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#18 of 22 Old 10-07-2008, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She has the baby on solids (err... purees) as well, so the babe is getting something besides milk. I mentioned that I am considering forgoing cereals when the time comes for my baby, and she said that the iron is important. I said yes, if that is the only iron source that baby is getting.

I have only met with her in our play group a couple of times, and we have met outside the group twice... once to walk our dogs (and babies) together, and another time to go shopping. I told her that I tend to research everything, and she said that was good, because then I can tell her stuff. So maybe I will just say something along the lines of the fact I read that formula is being recommended to age 2 for non-breastfed babies due to the possible link to diabetes. Hopefully it won't come across as confrontational.

Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).

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#19 of 22 Old 10-07-2008, 09:44 PM
 
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Whole milk is not good at all for such a young baby..

I had a Friend who switched her 6 month old to the stage 2 formula to save money..but I have never met anyone who gave cows milk so young..

Can you gently suggest she at least use a stage 2 powdered formula (wow did I just type that ) it comes in a generic version and would be less expensive than regular formula and way better than cows milk at this age..
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#20 of 22 Old 10-08-2008, 12:57 AM
 
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So maybe I will just say something along the lines of the fact I read that formula is being recommended to age 2 for non-breastfed babies due to the possible link to diabetes.

I missed this - what's the link between whole milk and diabetes? While formula is heads and tails better than whole milk (primarily because of the iron and added sugars and fat), I have to say, I really don't buy the formula until age 2 idea. The fact is that at that point, a baby should be eating a mixed diet where the formula takes a progressively less important place (since it has none of the other benefits of breastmilk). It's probably TOO high in iron and added sugars, really...

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#21 of 22 Old 10-08-2008, 03:17 AM
 
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I missed this - what's the link between whole milk and diabetes? While formula is heads and tails better than whole milk (primarily because of the iron and added sugars and fat), I have to say, I really don't buy the formula until age 2 idea. The fact is that at that point, a baby should be eating a mixed diet where the formula takes a progressively less important place (since it has none of the other benefits of breastmilk). It's probably TOO high in iron and added sugars, really...
There are links between milk and diabetes even in adults. Hubby is dealing with this idea right now, with a new diagnosis, trying to eat very well, BUT we are vegetarian and getting protein is hard if he thinks about dropping the dairy. He's so addicted, much more so than me (and I *know* the benefits of being vegan b/c I've done it, but just keep going back to dairy), even though he also has a genetic component against his eating dairy (he's Asian and most Asians have problems with dairy).

Anyway, it's something he is struggling with right now, b/c they have found the connection between dairy and diabetes, but he doesn't know how to eat right without it.

About the formula for olders; there is "toddler formula" that takes the place of infant formula after the baby isn't an infant anymore.
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#22 of 22 Old 10-08-2008, 05:26 AM
 
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The iron in formula is very badly absorbed, and a large percentage of it is excreted straight out of the body. I don't see that as a reason to move to cows milk instead of formula.
If we were talking about a breastfed toddler who had weaned from the breast around their first birthday or later, I'd agree that yes, their mixed diet is likely to be sufficient. BUT we're not talking about a child who is ready to get most of their calories from not-milk. That milestone happens at different ages for different children.

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