about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

    Contact Emily

    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

    Search

    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.



Foodie Baby: Got Milk?

See also previous Foodie Baby posts: Part One and Part Two.

Cullen will be a year old next month.  I’ll spare you the commentary about how I can’t believe that’s true, etc. – because I’m sure I’ll be saying it plenty over the next month.  Prepare yourself.

Long before he was born, I had made it my goal to try to breastfeed for a year.  I set the one year mark for a number of reasons, but mostly because that is the recommended age by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and it also sounded reasonable and realistic for our family. 

Generally, around one year babies are transitioned (or weaned) from breastmilk or formula onto cow’s milk.  This is the norm, and what parents and babies have been doing for a long long time.  And because it’s been the standard for a while, it seems that most people don’t really question it.

About a year ago, Casey and I both stopped eating dairy ourselves.  I haven’t made a big thing of it here, mostly because I don’t like labels and I expect that things will ebb and flow with time.  The short reason is – we watched Forks Over Knives and read The China Study, and felt like perhaps a diet void of dairy products would be healthier.  We both still eat plenty of eggs, and while I am definitely mostly dairy-free, I’m not going to turn down a piece of cake with a little milk in it. 

Our decision to be vegetarian is based on ethics, and because of that, I don’t feel any flexibility there at this point in my life.  But my decision to go dairy-free was more health-based, and while health is obviously very important, I don’t feel quite as strict or inflexible if a little whip cream ends up on the edge of my dessert plate. 

Let me just add that by no means am I looking to get into a debate about veganism or ethics.  We made the choice to cut out dairy and sort of see how it went – see how we’d feel, so if anything changed (for better or for worse) – just feel it out.  I’ve felt fine dairy free – to be honest, not really much different.  I guess I didn’t eat that much dairy to begin with.

Okay that was a really long intro, but I’m sure you can see where I am going with this.  We’ve been thinking and talking about this for months, but we’re nearing the time when we need to figure out what we’ll give Cullen as we prepare to transition him off of breastmilk.

IMG_7535 (640x427)

I have done a lot of research and reading about infant nutrition these last few months.  Here are some of the questions I had, and the generalized answers I found from internet and book sources:

What alternatives are there for babies besides cow’s milk?

Most sources I found on vegan infant nutrition suggested either extended breastfeeding (for up to 2-3 years), or offering soy milk as an alternative.  I do not think soy is the evil estrogen-bomb that it is often made out to be, but I also don’t feel comfortable giving Cullen that MUCH direct soy on a daily basis.  He will get tofu and edamame here and there, but that’s about it.

As far as extended breastfeeding goes, I’m already dealing with my supply starting to drop as we near 11 months.  And with that issue aside, we’d like to start thinking about baby #2 sooner than later (although my heart rate increases just typing that).  I don’t appear to be an overly fertile person (if there is such a thing), and I don’t think I will likely get pregnant again until I’m done breastfeeding entirely.  This is not an immediate concern, but it’s definitely something to think about.  I’m not getting any younger!

What about other milks like almond, coconut, or rice?

These are great milks that can absolutely be part of a baby’s diet, but they lack the same nutritional profile (high fat and protein content) that you find in cow or goat’s milk.  So with that said…

What about goat’s milk?

This is an option I’m seriously considering.  Most of the research we’ve done on the health effects of dairy consumption points to casein (milk protein) as the potentially harmful component.  The casein in goat’s milk is distinctly different from cow’s milk, so I’d feel more comfortable possibly trying this.

What about cultures who are generally dairy-free?  What do they do?

Obviously this is a huge generalization, but from what I have read, many of these cultures practice extended breastfeeding – usually to 2 or 3 years of age (or older).  They also tend to eat higher rates of meat and fish, which helps include some of the nutrients that would otherwise be found in dairy products.

What about babies who are lactose intolerant?  What do they drink?

Many seem to do well drinking goat’s milk.  But like the cultures noted above, most babies with lactose intolerance are not also avoiding meat and fish, so they are able to get those nutrients from other sources. 

IMG_7543 (640x415)

The overwhelming takeaway from all of my research was that it’s important to remember that infant nutrition is very different from that of an adult.  They are going through critical brain and body development that requires different levels of nutrients and vitamins than we when we’re older and finished growing.  I have ethical and health beliefs that are important to me, but my main focus is on making sure my son gets everything he needs to be healthy and strong. 

So with all of this said – what is the answer?  I still don’t know!  Part of me wonders if we give our babies cow’s milk because that’s simply what we’ve been doing for years and years without question.

While I worry about some of the health effects of dairy consumption, I’m also worried about the potential for not meeting Cullen’s nutritional needs.  At this point I’m leaning toward including dairy in his diet at a minimal level, whether that’s through goat’s milk, cow’s milk, cheese, yogurt, or something else.  I’d like to keep it in the 10% range, and make sure to include plenty of other healthy protein and fat sources – eggs, lentils, avocado, etc.

We plan to raise Cullen as a vegetarian until he is able to decide otherwise (if he chooses to!), but beyond that I don’t want him to feel limited and constrained.  Parenting involves making a lot of choices that can often feel like drawing a fine line between protecting values and pushing personal beliefs.  Flexibility and respect for all opinions is key.

IMG_7547 (640x427)

Sorry this is more of a ramble than a cohesive post.  I guess you can tell we are still sort of feeling it out and figuring out next steps.  I’m curious to hear what (and how) other moms handled weaning and making similar choices.  One thing is for sure – parenting is tricky business, and it’s a responsibility that weighs heavy on my mind.  We’ll need to figure it out soon enough!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

245 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family     at 5:25 pm

Great post Emily! We are sticking with cow’s milk over here and are actually starting the weaning process (kind of). I have given Em cow’s milk with her lunch and still nurse 3x a day. Then we will cut one more feeding. Unsure about morning and night … learning towards keeping those around for awhile.

[Reply]

Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker     at 5:29 pm

Omg. I am so glad you posted this. We don’t drink milk either (I do eat cheese, weird, I know). Anyway, I have no idea what to do for Ada. I am looking forward to reading other comments. Though I do think we’ll continue breastfeeding until 18 months or even 2 years, I don’t want that to be for all feedings, mostly morning and night . . . so the rest of the day is a huge mystery. Anyway, I am right here with you trying to figure it out. (HOW DID WE GET THIS FAR, EMILY?! HOW?!)

[Reply]

Leah Reply:

I always think of eating cheese (or yogurt) as different from drinking milk. Particuarly if the cheese is made at home or made locally from raw milk. :) Something about those beneficial bateria. If the cheese is from a local family-owned dairy (becoming all the more rare where I am in New England) all the better. :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

LOTS of great comments here, so definitely come back and read. I’d like to keep breastfeeding but am not sure if a. I’ll be able to and b. if I’ll be able to get pregnant again while BFing. Such a hard decision to make.

[Reply]

Heather Reply:

I’ve breastfed my son for two years and think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made as a mom. My babe Is extrememly healthy and I feel good knowing he still is getting antibodies from me to keep him strong during sick season! He is independent and happy and I think it’s in part due to the trust he hS in me for meeting his needs. We will probably wind down soon now that his immune system is mTured a bit but I’ve loved every second.

[Reply]

Charmaine Reply:

Emily, are you ovulating? Have you gotten your period yet? If so, then yes, you can get pregnant while breastfeeding.

[Reply]

Bonnie Reply:

You sure can. It’s a myth that you can not.

[Reply]

Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} Reply:

I did get pregnant when my daughter was 18 months and continued to BF her, so it is definitely possible. I bf her until she was 2 because my doctor told me she wouldn’t need any milk after 2 and I didn’t want to give her cow’s milk. She did have cheese and yogurt, but now (she is 4) we have even limited those a lot as I don’t like how they affect her (they cause her to be congested).

I’m now bfing my 9 month old son and am not sure what I am going to do as he has multiple food intolerances. I either have to continue to eat an extremely limited diet until he is 2 (no dairy, soy, wheat, or nuts!) OR wean him at one year and be very, very careful to ensure he is getting adequate fat without milk. From what I’ve read fat is the most important nutrient they get from milk after 1 year, and it is critical for brain development. Right now I am leaning towards just continuing to bf as I don’t know that I want the pressure of making sure he’s getting what he needs nutritionally.
It’s a hard decision, so I can feel for you. Good luck as you decide what is best for you and Cullen.

[Reply]

Lyndsay     at 5:29 pm

I’m also mostly-dairy free and vegetarian. I’m still nursing my 14-month old at night and on the weekends, but during the day when she’s with a sitter, she gets Hemp milk and loves it. We chose hemp because it had the best nutritional profile compared to other non-dairy milks. Good luck!

[Reply]

Lindsay     at 5:29 pm

Have you considered hemp milk?

http://www.livingharvest.com/blog/why-my-toddler-drinks-hemp-milk

[Reply]

Chana     at 5:31 pm

I totally understand where you are coming from. Even though my husband and I do consume dairy and eat meat, it is always a touch decision to know what to give your child. They are just beginning out in the world of ‘food and drink’ and it’s always so confusing. As long as your able to give him enough protein and fat in other foods, I think your choice of smaller amounts of cows milk would be fine! Maybe you can find a local farmer and see how they process and raise their cows. When you know the products are coming from a humane and healthy manner, that might make you feel better to about giving your son a little of it! Best of luck.

[Reply]

Emily     at 5:31 pm

I’m not a mom, but I recently read this post from Laury at The Fitness Dish about Hemp Milk and I found it rather informative: http://www.thefitnessdish.com/?p=11774

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks for the link!!

[Reply]

Veganlily     at 5:33 pm

Fabulous post! I am not yet a mother so I don’t know the answer but I do know that we will likely struggle with the same issues (we are predominantly vegan with a bit of wild caught fish here and there but no dairy or eggs or other meat). I think goats’ milk could be a good solution for you based on all you’ve written here. Good luck as you continue your thoughtful inquiry and I hope some of the commenters are able to help more than I have!

[Reply]

Pamela     at 5:39 pm

Going through the EXACT SAME THING :(
And i have no idea. Mika is 18 months and I only just stopped breastfeeding, but now I’m sorta wishing I kept it up til 2 years.

I’d love to know what you end up doing….we’re currently just trying to keep up her food intake and giving her a mix of rice/oat/hemp milks. It’s scary though… I dunno.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

It IS scary! And we still need to get together! Sorry I’ve been such a flake. It’s been a weird summer. Let’s go for a walk and lament our milk concerns together. :)

[Reply]

Kat     at 5:40 pm

Oh,Emily I thought you’d have the answer, lol!
I’ve been reading your blog for a long time but never commented.
I have an 8 month old baby girl with food allergies (diagnosed while I was breast feeding). She’s allergic to milk so I’m not sure what her alternative will be…We’re not vegetarians, but we try to eat very healthy.
Anyway, I can’t wait for your follow up post when you have it all figured out.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Haha sorry! There are great comments here that are extremely helpful though. Hopefully you can find some good info from one of these other awesome readers! I’ll let you know what we decide when the time comes. :)

[Reply]

Cristen     at 5:45 pm

I’m not a Mom yet either, but I’ve always heard great things about giving a baby/toddler goat’s milk. I’ve also heard that it’s great for those who are sensitive to dairy. The next time you’re at the farmer’s market,ask around and see if there are any local goat farms where you can get more information.

[Reply]

Leah Reply:

I think it is hard to find a goat farm that sells the milk locally (maybe it is easier in the Pacific NW?). I’ve noticed most of the goat farmers use the milk for soap-making, cheese, and goat cheese products so they do not have any extra left afterwards.

Whole Foods has it as well. :) This is from their website:

“What’s the most popular milk worldwide (second to cows’ milk, of course)?
Goats’ milk — and we’re glad! It makes for delicious yogurt, cheese and ice cream.”

[Reply]

Cristen Reply:

I forgot to add that there’s a farm called St. John’s Creamery near Seattle that sells their goats milk directly. It could be a neat little field trip for Cullen one day. They do have a website.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I will check that out!

[Reply]

Sabrina     at 5:46 pm

You know I have been going through the same debate with myself, despite not even being a vegetarian.

We have decided, in the end, to go with the cow’s milk. However, I am only using it as a crutch to help me with weaning. Once I’m completely done weaning, we will (gasp) work really hard to make sure he is getting enough nutrients from food alone. He doesn’t love milk and right now drinks about 4-6 oz/day, so that helps. He is eating a lot more food to compensate for the dropped nursing sessions. I imagine that he won’t ever have more than 8-12 oz/day as I finish weaning, and when I’m done we will slowly work to help him get more calories from food and much less from cow’s milk. Hopefully by the time he is 16 months old or so he will only have milk in his cereal. I am trying to be relaxed about it, but I only offer milk when I think he wants to nurse, Other times I just pack in the snacks.

I know it’s controversial, but so far I think it will work for us.

[Reply]

Sena     at 5:46 pm

My daughter was not interested in cow’s milk, but her pediatrician had no problem with it since she really enjoys eating organic whole milk plain yogurt. Obviously it is still a dairy product, but with additional health benefits and generally less risk of adverse reactions. She’s 16 months and we still breastfeed, but I stopped pumping for her 3 days of daycare last month (phew!). Your milk supply will come and go a bit, especially when you have your cycle back. It’s definitely possible to get pregnant while nursing, though, and to continue to nurse while pregnant! :D I know that I still feel the most comfortable when I know she’s getting breastmilk, and thankfully the ped didn’t pressure us into transitioning to whole milk, so we are taking our time, using yogurt for the nutrition and water for hydration. God Bless!

[Reply]

Ashley     at 5:49 pm

I really like the idea of hemp milk. I think it’s such a beneficial food in so many ways. It seems like the hemp milk brands are a little less processed than some almond + soy milks as well. And, if you’re worried about not getting enough fat an protein you can just make your own and not strain out any of the hemp seed particles. Gena has a great tutorial that I’ve made before – http://www.choosingraw.com/hemp-bliss/ I did add the sunflower lecithin but that flavor was too strong for me. I have always really loved hemp milk and hemp protein! Can’t wait to hear what you decide…or what Cullen decides!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I do too! Definitely going to look into this further. Thanks for the link to Gena’s post!

[Reply]

Ali Reply:

I am a huge fan of hemp milk! I know babies are (obviously) different than adults but as someone who tries to stay away from milk AND is allergic to nuts (so no almond milk) AND is trying to get protein, hemp milk is amaaaazing. Love it on oatmeal :)

[Reply]

dee     at 5:51 pm

I’m not in your exact boat, but my son couldn’t move to cows milk right away due to allergies. We went soy, because from an allergin perspective it seemed the most innocuous (we knew he wasnt allergic to soy but we didn’t know if it was the milk protein or what causing his milk allergy). Eventually he grew out of his milk allergy, but I was comfortable with Soy knowing (hoping) that it would only be temporary.
The toughest piece of it for me was that the soy cheese and soy yogurt options were totally unpalatable to him, so being off of cows milk ended up limiting the other solids I could give him, and I worried a lot about him getting the calcium he needed. My point is, Soy was fine for us, but I know you have to make your own decision. Wishing you the best, this stuff is NOT easy!

[Reply]

EmilyC     at 5:52 pm

Right there with you in the “can’t believe it’s almost been a year” camp. Meghan will be one on the 17th of October. Lucky for me, she’s my 3rd, so I’m a little less stressed about the aspects of weaning.

First one self-weaned, was gradually less and less interested to the point that by her first b-day, she was back-arching for her nigh time feeding and 10 days after her b-day began biting me and smiling about it for her morning feeding. I took it as a sign that she was done and we moved on together.

Number two was weaned with a bit more leading on my part. I was more ready to be done than he was. We did keep up the before bed feeding for ~14 mo and the morning feeding until 16 mo.

Now with #3, knowing this is it really changes the game for me. I’m not looking to go on forever, but I’m much more relaxed about how long I continue nursing than I was with the first two.

We’ve done cow’s milk as drink for breakfast and dinner mostly b/c, like you said, it’s what we’ve always done. We too watched “Forks Over Knives” last year and while we haven’t cut out dairy completely, we’ve def. cut back. I now don’t stress over whether or not the kids have had “enough” milk in a day knowing that they get fats and minerals from other foods.

Sounds like Cullen is well on his way to self-weaning which though sad, can be a blessing. Then you won’t feel like you’re cutting him off, especially if stopping nursing is something that needs to happen before baby #2! Congrats on making it this far and as mid-October approaches, I’ll be right there with you in the “last year at this time we were…” Where has this year gone?!?! :)

[Reply]

Emily     at 5:52 pm

I did a lot of reading about this as well, including the china syndrome and its criticisms. I think it stuck out to me that correlation is not causation.

So what do we know? We know that girls these days are getting periods earlier than ever, possibly from the hormones in milk and other products. We know that cow’s milk is a great source of important fats for our babies. With those two things in mind, I decided to go with whole cow’s milk, organic, no hormones. Holy poo is it expensive. (Especially compared to breastmilk!) If he drinks 12-16 ounces a day, I will be happy. I am not concerned with getting him to drink more than that. I want him to love water because it will serve him better in the future.

Just as much as people do things because they’ve always done them, that’s no reason to do things differently that haven’t been properly researched, you know? The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. Now that I’ve run out of cliches… Good luck! I know it’s a tough decision.

[Reply]

Rachel @ For the Love of Chocolate     at 5:53 pm

Emily, I am not a Mom, but I am one of four siblings who were all raised “to finish our milk”! I’m pretty positive that I drank more milk as a child than most, simply because I loved the taste of it so much and my doctor always encouraged my parents to have us drink milk for growth and bone purposes.

Ultimately, starting around 16, I gave up milk and now drink almond milk (because my stomach feels better without it now). All of my siblings also drink solely almond milk, and gave up cow’s milk, but I still think cow’s milk was integral to my good health as a child. We did not eat much cheese or yogurt growing up though, so dairy was still limited. That is just my own experience of course, and I’m sure you’ll find what is best for Cullen!

[Reply]

sarah     at 5:53 pm

When I had babies I was still eating at Wendy’s and Pizza Hut 6 times a day… Milk was not even on my radar, but both my girls refused to drink it, so we just skipped it. I did not think at all about nutrition at any point. They are now 10 and 7 and very healthy, very smart and happy. If I lived my life back then they way I do now (dairy free, meat free) I likely would not have given them milk. I just think we are way to fixated on cows milk being the ONLY way to get the nutrients we need. Keep up the research and I selfishly hope you do not choose cow’s milk to help others feel empowered to do the same : )

[Reply]

Robyn Kaylynn     at 5:54 pm

I’m 19 now, but when I was a baby, I nursed, and then went onto soy milk because I was allergic to diary. And so far, no problems from the soy! I’ve since switched to almond or coconut since I was about 14.

[Reply]

Laura     at 5:59 pm

We’ve thought about goat milk, also, and can get it locally–a naturopathic doctor also suggested this route. Our daughter is on formula (she was premature, would never nurse, and after pumping for months my supply dropped off), and I often wonder if extended formula is an option? Obviously it’s synthetic, but it does have all of the vitamins and minerals designed for baby… I can imagine emotionally and mentally that formula might not be the ideal choice after breast milk, but it sure is helping our little gal grow.

[Reply]

Sara Reply:

In the same boat. He started getting formula at 9.5 months. And for me its the lesser eavil of what else is out there for the alternative. I figure if its recommended for babies who are nursing to keep nursing, then why not keep formula going than decide on cow/goat/hemp/almond. He is getting his nutrients. He’s happy. Hes growing. Ped says its a fine source of nutrition. I only wish we had some of the European options here in the states. We use organic formula and its still hard for me to give him “processed” milk, but i feel better about it than doing cows milk. The ped says we are the only mammal who drinks milk after we are weaned. We dont need it. We can get nutrients other ways. If you find something to the contrary about extended formula use, please post. Thank you!

[Reply]

Laura Reply:

Will do. You, also, please. I am now also wondering if full-fat Greek yogurt could be a good replacement? It seems the only reason cow’s milk has become a staple is due to its fat, calcium, and protein properties. Not sure why, but I feel better about giving her Greek yogurt with sliced fruit over cups of milk….

[Reply]

Emily Reply:

I never used it, but they do have toddler formula. Enfagrow I think?

[Reply]

Heather @ Heather's Dish     at 6:01 pm

while i don’t have any issues with dairy at all, i have to say that i really appreciate your thoroughness in this post. parenting really is one of the hardest and most confusing things in the world, but at the end of the day doing what you feel is right for your family is key!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Heather! :)

[Reply]

Amy     at 6:08 pm

I know you’re not vegan, and I’m not a mom, but just on the no meat / no dairy baby nutrition front, I wanted to offer up some resources, in case you haven’t looked at them. Vegan nutrition books like Becoming Vegan and Vegan for Life both have chapters on raising vegan babies; and Dreena Burton is a vegan cookbook author and mom, and has a new series on babies + kids on her blog (http://plantpoweredkitchen.com/category/plant-powered-kids-series/). Additionally, a vegan forum like the PPK has a section for vegan parents, with tons of talk about what the kids are eating.

Again, I know you’re not going vegan, just want to reassure you that he can be perfectly healthy without animal milk. :)

[Reply]

Amy Reply:

Oh, and just wanted to add that from what I’ve heard, it’s not about replacing the milk with another milk so much as it is replacing the nutrients with other things. So fat from avocadoes and coconut milk or whatever, and protein from beans and grains and tempeh and such. Anyway, good luck! That’s an adorable little guy you have there.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I actually have read the chapter in Becoming Vegan, and ultimately it sort of turned me in the other direction. BV pretty much recommended soy milk and vitamin supplementation – neither of which I am comfortable with. I will check out the other links though – definitely interested to find out as much as I can. Thanks!

[Reply]

Holly     at 6:12 pm

Hmm… maybe this means I don’t know anything about babies but I always thought once you were weaned you would just start eating soft food and basically could drink water for a beverage. I guess I don’t understand why any infant/toddler would require cow’s milk.

On a side note, being you have given up dairy… have you noticed any impact on your weight? I have heard giving it up can make people lose pounds like crazy but I’ve never tried so I don’t know personally.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I stopped eating dairy while I was pregnant, so it’s hard to know if there was an impact on weight (since mine continued to increase!). I will say that my weight now is lower than it was pre-preg, but that is likely due to many factors like breastfeeding, activity level, etc.

[Reply]

Kim     at 6:13 pm

I LOVE and APPRECIATE that you posted this. I am a graduate nursing student and am currently in my labor and delivery rotations, and learning so much in my courses. I have also nannied for plenty of beautiful toddlers who do not consume dairy, and from my own reading and research have determined that I believe that it is done because that is simply how it has been done for ages. Our children do NOT need full fat milk, and in fact can have many problems as a result from it when it comes to mucus production in the body and more. He can be perfectly healthy without cow’s milk. Goat’s milk is a great option, but some of the kids I have worked with also consumed a combination of almond milk, rice milk, and soy milk (so they would have 4 oz of almond milk, then the next time they wanted milk we would give them a little soy, etc.). They also ate avocado like it was their job, and we were able to supplement their diet. I know plenty of vegan babies and toddlers who are thriving as well. Talk to a midwife! Get some advice from a holistic nutritionist specializing in pediatrics. There are so many wonderful options. Good luck!!

[Reply]

Kellie     at 6:16 pm

My oldest just turned 2. We had some hesitations about cows milk when he turned 1 ( I was pregnant with #2, so my supply was way down!). We ended up trying it just because that’s what people do. But, he did not like it. At all. We gave him rice milk for a while until the studies with arsenic came out! Then we switched to almond milk, which he still drinks. To make up for the fats and protein found in milk, we gave him cheese and yogurt. It’s so hard deciding what is best! Interested to see what y’all decide. I’ll be making the decision again pretty soon with my 2nd.

[Reply]

Lesley T.     at 6:19 pm

Yes, I think goat’s milk is a great alternative along with a little soy, coconut, nut, hemp, oat, etc. milk in there for variety. (Chocolate hazelnut milk is the bomb, better than regular chocolate milk in my opinion!)

Also there are (extremely pricey!) elemental amino acid-based formulas that can be used as nutritional supplements for children up to age 10. They’re usually given to kids with soy and dairy allergies, but a veggie kid could probably benefit from them, too.

Perhaps you might consider local non-rBGH organic cow’s milk on occasion for Cullen unless dairy is completely off the table for your family.

And of course there are a variety of oils and the aforementioned avocado and eggs to provide Cullen with good fats and proteins. Fish oil supplementation while he’s young might be a good idea if it’s in sync with your family’s values and comfort zone.

I’m curious to read how his diet looks after weaning! I’m sure it will be fantastic.

Good luck!

[Reply]

Noelle (@singerinkitchen)     at 6:27 pm

Going through the SAME thing with our 10 month old. I feel like our has been trying to wean and then changes her mind. I am 5 months pregnant and have still been breastfeeding. I have been really wanting to wean so I do not have to tandem nurse but then I realized that was selfish. I HAVE been reading about milk alternatives since I am milk intolerant even though I can eat cheese. I have been feeding her brown rice milk but then I also have been wanting to do blends like suggested here: http://www.naturodoc.com/library/children/formula.htm I did feed her coconut milk yogurt and she loved it! I feel like having her take in probiotics is great too. Good luck on your decision making.

[Reply]

Megan     at 6:33 pm

Hello – the way you eat is an extremely personal decision…with that sad, I do encourage you to read some of the criticisms of the China Study. A vegan/raw food purist wrote a review that was an eye opener for me..

I am lactose intolerant but for some reason do really well with heavy whipping cream – its mostly fat with very little lactose so it does the trick when almond is around. I would urge you – if trying milk -to look for raw/organic kind. Also milk from special cows -A1 versus A2 I think? – is often times easier to digest -its most similar to goats milk.

So much conflicting info out there!!! Good luck!

[Reply]

Meredith     at 6:36 pm

Thank you Emily! RD and Cullen are only days apart and I’ve been following you from the beginning of their respective lives. Your thoughts are mine exactly and I enjoyed the comments. Although we live far apart both geographically and dietarily :) I enjoy your blog so very much! M

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Meredith! How fun that they are so close in age!

[Reply]

Karen     at 6:44 pm

I’m a lacto-ovo vegetarian. I nursed my daughters until they were about 2 1/2, so I didn’t have as much of a concern about nutrition as I would have had they weaned earlier. We used soy milk with my older daughter on the recommendation of our pediatrician, who was afraid she might be lactose intolerant. She is 10, and so far we haven’t seen any problems from the soy, but who knows what will happen as she gets older.

[Reply]

Kristen @ The Concrete Runner     at 6:58 pm

That’s so funny that you wrote this post as I just started thinking about this after writing MacKenna’s 11 month update. (Seriously, how has it been almost a year already?!) My husband and I don’t drink cow’s milk, but do include dairy in our diet. I didn’t really think about that until recently… Should we give her cow’s milk or not? At this point, I am planning on giving her organic cow’s milk and we will continue drinking non-dairy milk. To me, I feel like she is still getting the nutrition she needs without all the ‘extras’ in non-organic. Yes, she’ll still be getting casein, but it’s not my immediate concern.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

ONE YEAR, Kristen!! HOW? :)

[Reply]

Kimberly C     at 6:59 pm

My mom switched me to soy milk after only breastfeeding for about a couple months. I was lactose intolerant and that was why she made that choice. Later on I began eating dairy and had mild stomach problems, now I gave it up and my digestive system is very happy about it!

I’m a healthy 23 year old now. No allergies, no chronic illnesses, etc. My mom just did what she thought was right since I couldn’t handle cows milk; she did not agonize over the decision. I don’t understand the issue with using a soy replacement, especially if it is organic. I was told that the organic soy formula was considerably more expensive than cow’s milk but I’m sure any mom would look that over for her baby’s health.

An FYI… From what I learned in child development, it takes quite a bit of negligence and abuse emotionally, physically, or nutritionally to scar a child. Kids are very resistant and will get through a lot thrown at them. I understand that you’re nervous and want to be the best mother, which I really admire about you and why I read your blog. I want you to know that no matter what you choose, it won’t hurt Cullen, especially seeing how great a mom you are to him already! If you’re very concerned, remember that when his digestive system matures a little more, you can start experimenting with other milks like rice, hemp, and almond, so your choice right now is only temporary.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Kimberly. I feel like we are doing a good job, and definitely don’t think we are going to scar or damage him in any way (at least I hope not!). I just want to make sure he gets the right stuff to help him grow. :)

[Reply]

Sara     at 7:02 pm

Ohhhhh girl. We are having the WORST time with this. Our 13 month old is “dairy sensitive,” they haven’t officially labeled her as lactose intolerant but I think she is.

I am really thinking goat’s milk will be our answer. We gave regular milk a shot, to see if she had grown out of the sensitivity and that was awful. Gave lactose free milk a shot, that was also bad news. Trying almond milk now, but I also worry that she will not be getting everything she needs from that. So….. blah! And I had breastfeeding issues that lead to going to part time formula at 6 months and full time at 9 months.

It really is a big concern! And we got no help at all from the pediatrician. Ogh.

[Reply]

Lauren     at 7:06 pm

I never comment on blogs, but felt compelled to tell you that you are awesome. I’m a meat ‘n potatoes person who reads several healthy living blogs and you are a breath of fresh air from the preachy, judging attitude that I see from many. I love seeing a Daily Garnish post in my Google Reader and this is exactly why. Great post that even someone who is far from your lifestyle can appreciate. I wish you nothing but success and I hope to continue to read about your life for years to come.

[Reply]

Liz Reply:

Me too :)

I somehow stumbled across your blog, now have about 20 others in my Google Reader, and have become focused in the past year on clean eating. I still eat red meat occasionally but no longer bring it into the house, and have totally changed my frame of mind away from counting calories to making sure I get quality calories. Lots of baby steps left but I’m on my way!

Seriously, your transformation and non-preachiness is inspiring, and this is coming from a super cynical, sarcastic person. Now I just need to get my boyfriend on board!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks so much, Liz! I am cynical and sarcastic too. :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks so much, Lauren! :)

[Reply]

irina Reply:

I second this as well! I am not vegan or vegetarian at the moment (although I flirted with both trying to decide the optimal diet for me), and I am finding out that most of us do not fit into food boxes with labels and your blog is not trying to advocate any particular type of diet, it is just presenting your educated perspective, which I much appreciate.

[Reply]

Rebekah     at 7:07 pm

Emily this is such a great post. I have been following your blog for a while (and LOVE it!!), but this is my first comment. We went through this exact same thing a few months ago. Our little boy is 15 months old. My husband is completely vegan (after watching Forks over Knives too!), I am vegetarian, and we are raising our son vegetarian. We are expecting baby #2 now, so I didn’t feel comfortable going completely Vegan right now because I have so many food aversions to things I would normally make sure to eat in order to get a well balanced Vegan diet.

Anyway, concerning our son, I did quite a bit of research on the weaning process too because we initially wanted to stay away from dairy. The things I looked at (rice and almond milk) didn’t have enough nutrition as you also found. I also did not want to do soy milk. So far we have been doing organic whole cows milk and some yogurt. However, I did not look into hemp or goat milk and I am really interested in doing more research. During the quick search I just did a few minutes ago, hemp milk seems to be an excellent option. Now off to research goat milk…. :) Best of luck with your decision! I can’t wait to hear what you guys decide!!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Rebekah! Congrats on number two! :)

[Reply]

Veronica     at 7:09 pm

Im not a mom, so I’m not in the know (no research), but I don’t understand your concern over meeting C’s nutritional needs. From what I’ve read the past year and a half or so, you are very conscious of what your feeding the little guy. I’m sure he’ll get plenty of nutrition from fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and grains. I don’t understand why ppl think babies need milk of any kind other than from their mothers.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I think we are doing a great job feeding him and keeping him healthy. But like I said, infant nutrition is very different from adult nutrition, so he can’t just simply eat mini versions of what we eat. He needs different proportions of fat, etc. for brain development at these early stages.

[Reply]

Alex Reply:

That is true, but I don’t think the fat and the rest needs to come from another species milk…

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I don’t either! We are planning to try to give him lots of hummus, avocados, and other good plant fats.

[Reply]

Sarah     at 7:12 pm

We made the switch from vegetarian to veganism when my son was 10 months old. He was getting a bit of a rash when he had dairy and that was the push I needed. My pediatrician was a little concerned, but I feel like more of that was rooted in tradition than real nutritional needs. My son is now 19 months old and is off the chart for height, 75% for weight, and tests well for iron levels. He drinks a mix of coconut, almond, soy, and rice milks, but prefers coconut to all of them. I think that with a really good balance of vegetables and other whole, plant based foods he will be fine. We keep a close eye on him, but I firmly believe that we don’t need animal products to be healthy if we balance our diets well! Good luck….I breastfed David until he was 1 and he made the switch easily…hope you have the same positive experience!

[Reply]

Hallie@ChasingHallie     at 7:13 pm

Great post! We are also dealing with this right now w/Molly, our 10month old.

M had a daily intolerance early on bit now consumes whole milk yogurt and cheese with no issues. I am still concerned with cows milk when it comes to her intolerance. We eat dairy with no problems and I don’t believe it’s the evil that everyone makes it out to be.

Something nobody is talking about is when discussing food vs milk is the attachment to bottle/breast. M is very attached to her 4 bottle feedings and I have no idea now we would wean her of that. I also find that cows milk alternatives like hemp are extremely expensive and something our family can financially not take on.

So many questions, concerns, etc. it never gets easier!

[Reply]

Lisa @ The Splattered Apron Reply:

Hallie, when we introduced milk to Caroline, we did it in a straw sippy cup instead of a bottle. I heard that if you introduce it in a bottle it can be harder to transition to a cup. I don’t know if that will help but wanted to share what I read!

[Reply]

J     at 7:15 pm

I think it is important to point out the minimum recommendation from the AAP is at least breastfeeding for 1 year. Just wanted to point that out for people reading from an informational standpoint.

Also, in your previous post, you had nutella, which has dairy. I know you said you wouldn’t pass it up in a dessert. Maybe you have a dairy-limited lifestyle. Yes, labels are indeed hard to live by. :)

[Reply]

katie Reply:

Hmm…J, your comment pointing out the minimum recommendation for breastfeeding sounded a little judgemental. I was breastfed until I was 2 1/2 and I give my mother a TON of credit. But, with that being said, I know when I become a mother I will have to work…all day…outside the home and breastfeeding + pumping is something that really intimidates me. I know several mothers who cannot breastfeed and have very healthy and intelligent children. I just wanted to point that out.

[Reply]

J Reply:

It was not judgemental at all, I was pointing out a common error people make when quoting the AAP.

I can only bf part time bc of supply issues from day 1. I’ve tried everything under the sun including prescription meds. No judgement at all!

[Reply]

katie Reply:

Good for you. Sorry if I found your post a bit judgemental. I just know a few moms who have really beat themselves up about not being able to bf or only being able to for so long.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Which is exactly why I said I don’t use labels! :)

[Reply]

Jaye     at 7:17 pm

Great post! We went through this whole process a few months ago as well!
I had zero intentions of introducing cows milk (other dairy I was fine with) because I feel it is over-used in our society. We researched every possible avenue, and I was pretty sold on doing almond or hemp milk for the majority of the time, but attempting to not even make milk a big thing. Instead choosing other calcium/fat sources.

Then we spoke with our pediatrician, and she really highlighted that due to our daughters growth pattern (she is very skinny but tall, doesn’t gain much weight)she really felt that cows milk was the best option for the nutrients and fat.
I thought about it, and we ended up deciding to give it a try. It’s gone well so far, strangely enough since neither her father nor I drink cows milk… but we’re also only giving it in moderation, like all foods! So our daughter gets two cups (maybe 4/5 ounces each) twice a day at snack time, and then we try to make sure to sub the rest of her calcium needs with other foods.

There are so many options out there, and like everything in parenting, we just figure it out as we go :) You guys will find the right path for you, but the key is to make sure it’s the right choice for your family!

[Reply]

kim @ vegan mama     at 7:22 pm

Our current plan is to use a variety of milks coupled with extended breastfeeding (hopefully just 2x a day) if my low milk supply is up for the challenge. Right now, I think we will primarily use hemp milk, since it’s higher in protein. We also plan to use a little coconut milk for variety. My lo is 7 months, and we give her a little hemp milk in her straw sippy at meal times for xtra calories, and she does really well with it. She is very sensitive to soy via my breastmilk, so I’ve had to cut it out almost entirely (rough for a vegan!) – we will be waiting until past a year to introduce soy directly to her, and soy milk will not be in the rotation for that reason.

[Reply]

Emily     at 7:31 pm

What a great post! It’s very refreshing to hear the struggling process, not just the end decision. I think any of those options are excellent. And why not a mix? Cow, goat, soy, hemp…no need for just one.

And you didn’t even get into the local, raw, homogenized, organic debate…food is very complicated these days.

[Reply]

Lisa @ The Splattered Apron     at 7:35 pm

We gave Caroline cow’s milk (organic, hormone free), but we don’t force it on her. She drinks what she wants and at this point she is not fully replacing all of the breast milk she used to get when nursing. Her ped isn’t concerned because she does also eat cheese and yogurt. And I am still nursing C twice a day (she’s 13.5 months). I have put almond milk in her oatmeal, pancakes and other things that she eats, but I haven’t given it to her to drink.

You and Casey will end up making the best decision that you can for Cullen, I know it.

[Reply]

Brooke     at 7:54 pm

I looked into the hemp milk (have an almost 9-month-old myself) based upon your comments and was dismayed to see brown rice syrup as the second listed ingredient. That caused all the bruhaha with the arsenic levels recently. Argh – it’s always something. My 3-year-old never took to milk, but gets plenty of yogurt and cheese so we were never concerned about her lack of it. She doesn’t seem to be suffering from it either. As you plan to raise Cullen vegetarian, I can’t speak to the lost nutrients without meat, etc. But I wouldn’t worry about little to no cow’s milk. I don’t plan to let my son drink it excessively either. It’s not as if we are supposed to replace their formula or breast milk with the same amount of cow’s milk (or whatever you choose). They are then eating table food, etc. I can’t possibly give advice as we don’t adhere to a vegetarian/vegan diet, but just wanted to give you the head’s up about brown rice syrup in hemp milk. Good luck!

[Reply]

Laury (the fitness dish) Reply:

Hi Brooke ( and Emily), I have been giving my daughter hemp milk since she’s a year old. The unsweetened version from tempt does not contain any brown rice syrup. I too am very careful of that since the arsenic studies and watching ingredient lists! Just wanted to make sure you knew that. I don’t believe tots need the sugar anyway ;-) my girl loves it without!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Laury! Very helpful.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Brooke!

[Reply]

Jill     at 8:10 pm

Hmmm, I’m in a similar spot as you it seems. I have no reason to stop breastfeeding but I do it so infrequently now that I have started to wonder if it’s enough. Let us know what you decide in the end!

[Reply]

LB     at 8:10 pm

Great post! We are not a vegan household, but are dealing with a milk intolerance in my 16 month old. I have chosen to extend breastfeeding in hopes she grows out of it. I am a pediatric dietitian, so I thought I might help with numbers. They are very rough and this is in no way medical advice. Say you have a 25 pound 1 year old, which would require around 900 calories. If 40% of those calories came from fat (breastmilk is about 50% fat, roughly), you are looking at 40g per day. You can get there with 1/2 an avocado (15g), 2 cups almond milk (5g), smoothie with 1 tsp oil like flax oil (5g), 1 TB earth balance in various foods throughout the day (11g), 1 egg (5g). I think the diet can be complete, if you pay close attention to fats and protein. Protein is little easier because needs are somewhere around 12g for a 25 lb 1 yr old. Anyway, I think your ideas a great, but wanted to encourage you that is can be done without dairy if needed. There are other concerns with vegan/vegetarian diets like B12 amounts, but that is for another day! Good luck!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Wow – thanks LB! Such a helpful comment. Now I kind of want to go talk to a pediatric dietitian. :) I’m actually concerned about the other things like B12, zinc, etc. but didn’t bother diving that far in for this post. We are eating eggs, so I know that will help, but I feel weird doing vitamin supplementation on a baby (even though I take them myself). I’d love to hear your thoughts on this if you have any.

[Reply]

Sylvia Reply:

Emily, my diet is similar to yours however I don’t take any supplements, I curious what supplements do you take?

[Reply]

LB Reply:

I’ll email you, we will chat!

[Reply]

Sara     at 8:37 pm

What a great post! I’m not a mom, but I’ve wondered from time to time what I’d feed any future kids since I have quite a few food allergies. I don’t think there’s one right diet or way to eat. I think it’s about finding the combination of foods on which an individual seems to thrive. My personal concern with giving cow’s milk to a child has to do with a potential intolerance and the myriad of symptoms that could produce (ear infections, stomach irritation etc.). I do believe that goat and sheep’s milk are better tolerated by those that are sensitive to casein, and that fermented diary is better tolerated than milk. I don’t believe we need diary, but I personally include meat in my diet so I feel I get enough fat/nutrients from that source. It’s definitely a tough and personal choice. I’ll be interested to follow along on your family’s journey!

[Reply]

Sarah Reply:

I’m not a mom yet either but my biggest concern with dairy is what you mentioned, the intolerance and ear infections. I don’t consume dairy myself and my husband eats cheese but doesn’t drink milk or eat yogurt. So it will be interesting to see what we decide.

[Reply]

Alyson     at 8:42 pm

I did breastfeed as long as I could—up to 20 or even 22 months with a couple of my babies, but two of my girls weaned *themselves* at 11 months. We ran the gamut. I weaned the first couple to soy formula, because I thought it hyad the better ratios of things babies needed and I was overcautious. But it just smells terrible, and I hated formula breath babies, so later kids I weaned to soymilk. (I thought the same thing you said, that they just really needed the protein source.) I let them drink as often and as much as they wanted, because even at that level it wasn’t very many ounces a day and I felt comfortable with their overall soy intake. I always had two sippy cups filled, one with water and one with soymilk (color coded so the baby would know). They drank out of both, sometimes shunning one and sometimes the other. That was a fun thing for me, actually, to see which thing they were thirsty for at a time.

So that’s one vegan mom’s method. :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thank you for this!

[Reply]

jenna k     at 9:14 pm

i loved “listening” to you flesh out all the possibilities. it helped remind me of all the options i have for keeping my own diet both varied and healthy.
and i think cullen is honestly one of the cutest little boys i’ve seen. :) you guys are such a beautiful family.

[Reply]

Liz     at 9:25 pm

Can someone tell me why cheese and yogurt are considered better than milk? That’s the impression I’m getting from these comments and I’m not educated enough on the topic to know why.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I’m not really sure either, Liz. It’s funny how many people don’t drink milk, but still eat dairy products. Yogurt is fermented, so there are health benefits there, but the basic fundamentals are still the same.

[Reply]

Sarah Crowder Reply:

Much cheese is fermented.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Right. But it’s still dairy. I guess I just mean that the application doesn’t change the biology.

[Reply]

Sarah Crowder Reply:

That’s exactly what fermentation does. It won’t change the type of protein, but for some the concern is more the lactose. When a food is fermented, the yeast eats the sugars (in the case of milk, lactose). Fermented dairy products have less lactose and sometimes almost none at all. This is why kefir is often advertised as 99% lactose free and why some who have problems with dairy can drink it or eat aged cheeses.

[Reply]

Laury (the fitness dish) Reply:

It’s actually because cheese and yogurt and much more digestible because of the fermenting process! I have clients who are lactose I tolerant but are able to eat milk and cheese. Kind of like how tempeh is much healthier than tofu (because it’s digested better for one!)

[Reply]

Julie Reply:

I am one of those that can’t tolerate milk or heavy cream, but do fine with a little cheese and yogurt. I seriously couldn’t live without my full fat Greek yogurt. Cow’s milk is just really hard on my stomach, so I drink almond milk with cereal, coffee, etc.

[Reply]

Laury (the fitness dish) Reply:

Sorry I was typing on my phone didn’t see above comments :/ doah lol

[Reply]

Liz Reply:

Thanks everyone for the info. That makes complete sense as to why a creamy sauce upsets my stomach but not the huge bowl of cottage cheese I eat for breakfast.

It’s so interesting to me to see how people have two completely different reasons for being vegetarians or vegans – the ethics (animal treatment) side and health side (bodies weren’t meant for it, etc.). Obviously many people do it for both reasons but I appreciate the information Emily and others provide in my journey to healthier eating.

[Reply]

Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy     at 9:26 pm

I am going to begin nannying for a one-year-old starting next week, so I may be stopping by your blog a lot for baby tips :). I noticed that they had soy formula sitting on the counter when I visited their home, so I’m wondering if he doesn’t drink regular milk either? We shall see!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Have fun!!

[Reply]

Rachel     at 9:27 pm

I don’t suppose extended breastfeeding has occurred to you? That in all your reading, you have learned that the World Health Organization RECOMMENDS nursing until age 2? That babies/children actually still reap benefits from breast milk until they loose their first baby tooth? Why is 1 year the magic cut off mark?

[Reply]

Jenny Reply:

Rachel –

There’s no need for you to get uppity in the comments – this has been a great discussion thread to read, and the attitude in your comment really spoiled it.

[Reply]

Rachel Reply:

disagreeing with me doesn’t mean that I am uppity. I asked a question. Any “uppityness” is inferred by how you read it- not by what I said.

[Reply]

Maya Reply:

Your tone was the issue, not the content of your comment. Besides, from this post it’s obvious Emily HAS thought carefully about extended breastfeeding! I agree that extended breastfeeding seems to solve the most problems, but the family planning issue is real and it’s all a very personal decision. Personally I’m going on 20 mos with no period, thanks to pregnancy + 11 mos of bfing, and I love it! Extended breastfeeding gave my mom natural kid spacing of three years, with NO period between my two older brothers, but that’s too much space for some people, especially if you feel like you won’t get pregnant on your first cycle. FWIW, though, I have heard that night nursing is most critical in terms of suppressing fertility, so maybe in Cullen’s case extended bfing won’t prevent a sibling from coming along soon?

Side note– even more than my daughter being a month away from a year, it makes me feel like time has FLOWN by when people who gave birth at the same time start talking about their next kids!!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

The family planning issue is probably the biggest factor for us (or at least it WAS before my milk supply started tanking). I have no period either after 11 months. Unfortunately we are still night nursing – he’s only slept through the night about five times in 11 months. Not awesome! We’d like to have more kids (probably 3), and I’m hoping to not be pregnant much past 35. That means things are going to need to happen relatively quickly, if possible! Trust me, I am also blown away that we’re talking about next kids. :)

[Reply]

Maya Reply:

I bet you’ll phase out night nursing soon, probably sooner than us since we’re still working on phasing out co-sleeping! And more specifically, I’ve heard that nursing every 2-3 hours throughout the night makes for pretty reliable birth control (though obviously not something to count on if you actively don’t want to get pregnant), so Cullen’s longer sleep stretches might mean bfing has less impact. On the other hand it obviously IS having an impact if you haven’t gotten your period yet. Maybe there’s a middle road, like gradually nursing less but not all-out weaning? My mom always DID end up getting pregnant while still nursing, so nursing less has an impact.

In any case, good luck!!!

[Reply]

Maya Reply:

P.S. And, um, you sure you aren’t pregnant? Hungry all the time, tired, drop in milk supply, no period… hmmmmmmmmmm…. :)

Emily Malone Reply:

Hi Rachel – I actually talked about extended breastfeeding in the post. Maybe you skimmed over that? I don’t think anyone has said one year is the magic cutoff mark. As I said above, it was a mark that I tentatively set as a goal for what worked for me and my family. I might go longer, I might not have the choice. I’m also dealing with a dwindling supply, so whether WHO recommends it or not, I might not be physically able to. Family planning is also a factor for us.

[Reply]

brandee     at 10:01 pm

Love this post! We are non dairy vegetarians as well and I really think about what we will do we when have kids. It’s great to see other options and hear what other people come up with for this topic.

[Reply]

Jen     at 10:06 pm

You are lucky you aren’t overly fertile! I come from a crazy fertile family. My grandma had 4 pregnancies in 3 years, my mom got pregnant with me and my brother super quickly, and my cousin got pregnant with both of her kids on the first try!

It makes things very scary for me when I’m totally not ready for kids at all yet!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Well…the grass is always greener. :)

[Reply]

Michelle@PeachyPalate     at 11:57 pm

It’s such a big decision. I just recently did a post on milk, calcium and osteoporosis. My eyes have been well an truly opened to the dangers of cow milk over the last few weeks having just started studying nutritional therapy. I suppose the thing to remember is that breast milk is only 5-6% protein. Cows milk has more than double that is predominantly made up of carbohydrates. It’s deficient in Vitamin D, and not particularly high in iron and other vitamins and minerals unless fortified which negates the whole point of depending on it. It’s designed for a baby cow…consider they’re growth rate! :) Everyone will have different opinions but the media and dairy industry have and continue to portray this necessity for us all to drink milk. Americans drink the most milk of any nation yet suffer the most from osteoporosis. You should look in to the whole side of negative calcium balance…

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Great points, Michelle. Thanks!

[Reply]

Michelle@PeachyPalate Reply:

No probs! I’m sure your inundated with info but here’s a link to my post if you want to have a quick read! http://peachypalate.com/2012/09/18/a-different-type-of-learning-2/

Keep us posted on what you decide! :)

[Reply]

Marty Reply:

I’ve read this too Michelle, and it all felt right to me, agree here.

[Reply]

Sarah     at 1:49 am

That’s quite a dilemma. I only eat vegetarian food at home whilst my husband is a meat eater and we haven’t had the dreaded conversation about whether our children will eat meat or not. I’m hoping since I do all the cooking then they’ll be mostly vegetarian apart from when we visit the grandparents, for example. I’ve also only started eating dairy since trying to conceive (seems to have helped! I won’t go into the whys) and then whilst pregnant. I know that it’s possible to be a dairy free veggie whilst pregnant but I just think there are too many nutritional pitfalls by cutting it out. That last point probs isn’t relevant but I thought I’d add it in! I intend on cutting back on the dairy post birth… Although I don’t eat much of it now. Sorry, brain splurge.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I am grateful that Casey and I tend to really be on the same page with this stuff, although he’s very anti-dairy and I tend to be more on the fence. But we’re definitely on the same page as far as meat goes, which makes that easy for us.

[Reply]

Brittney     at 3:42 am

Interesting stuff. Greg and I just watched Forks Over Knives (we’re late to the game) about a week ago, and while I can’t argue that the science and facts they present make complete sense, I still haven’t really changed my consumption of meat or dairy that much. Greg actually has more than I have, because he’s long believed the same concepts in the movie. I think, for me, it’s something about being brought up on these things and also the fact that I enjoy eating them and like the taste (ice cream, a steak, a burger). I feel like I do try to eat them all in major moderation though. I went completely meatless yesterday and often do 2-3 days a week. When I think about whether I’d be willing to sacrifice a couple years at the end of my life to enjoy life the way I want to live it now, I feel like it’s ok that I do eat dairy and some meat. That said, I know I can’t control how it might manifest negatively- ie. it could give me cancer in 10 years, not 60. I guess it’s something I need to think about more. I just feel like I’ve always been a relatively balanced and healthy eater, so doing a complete overhaul and eliminating so many thing I like and have always eaten in moderation seems like a tough concept for me.

[Reply]

Anne     at 4:45 am

If you choose to give him milk or soy milk or almond milk, you should choose organic, you don’t talk about it in your post but I think it would be coherent with your position. Will Cullen eats fish? There are a lot of nutrients there too…

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Sorry, I didn’t get into the organic/non-organic discussion here – so much already up for discussion I guess! We are firm believers in organic for most things. As far as fish goes — we’re considering it. We don’t eat fish, but I have considered feeding him some. Still TBD.

[Reply]

Michelle G.     at 4:51 am

I really, really, really think you should talk to your pediatrician about this issue. Perhaps he/she can refer you to a baby nutritionist. The experts are best at helping you make informed decisions.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Sorry – I should have mentioned that. We did actually bring this up at our nine month appt. Surprisingly, our ped didn’t really have much to offer. He’s pretty traditional, and was sort of surprised to hear that we had milk concerns. We might consider switching doctors to find someone who is more knowledgeable about our lifestyle. He’s a great doctor, but we will probably seek out someone else either as an alternative, or in addition to his care.

[Reply]

Natalia Reply:

I disagree that ‘the experts are best at helping you make informed decisions.’ I am sure there are competent and knowledgeable doctors out there – but many are informed by tradition; by ‘it has always been done this way.’ (As demonstrated by Emily’s doctor!). Traditional medicine is wary of anything ‘alternative,’ even if it’s as ‘basic’ as alternative dietary needs/wants! People fall into the ‘they’re wearing a white coat; they must know best.’ But that is not always the case.

In short, the only way to make informed opinions is to read, read, read! And be willing and open to listening to different opinions.

Thanks Emily for offering a platform for this very purpose :)

[Reply]

Samantha Crernock     at 5:10 am

I look forward to reading about what you decide to do, out of curiosity. You seem to have put a lot of research into this, I’m sure you’ll make the right decision for your family.

[Reply]

Kate     at 5:14 am

Our first daughter consumed cows milk at age 1, bc the pediatrician told me to and I followed his lead. Daughter number two nursed until 19 months, we then tried cows milk but she never liked it and just drank water. Daughter number three tried a Gerber yogurt bites snack at age 10 months & had an anaphylactic reaction with us rushing to the ER. She has a severe milk allergy. She nursed until 23 months and now drinks water. Children with dairy allergies are also allergic to goats milk, it’s the protein in it that the body fights off. We use coconut milk in our home, actually has more calcium than cows milk. We get protein from our food.
As for your supply, it will keep up with his demand. At one year my girls only nursed morning, noon, & before bed. I followed their lead, they dropped the noon feeding and later the morning feeding. The night feeding was last to go. It’s normal to no longer feel full & your let down to take longer.
As a mother with a food allergic child, when you do choose to try cows milk, be close to an ER just in case. Food allergies are on the rise. Our allergist told us to avoid nuts & tree nuts until age 5. Sadly I kissed her on the cheek after eating almond butter & the oils made contact with her cheek. Instant hives. No almond milk for this family either. Our daughters allergy opened our eyes & forced us to start searching about what’s really in our food. We’re a much healthier family now.
My suggestion would be to try coconut milk. Good Luck and just follow your instincts.

[Reply]

Leah Reply:

I read an article recently in ‘Whole Living’ magazine that explained about increased cases of food allergies. Scientists are starting to learn that it is not the food item itself but rather the production of that food item (has changed dramatically since the early 1970s). For example, people with gluten sensitivity (or celiacs) are able to handle bread that is made with heirloom wheat (that is stone ground in small batches). They are not able to handle products that contain gluten from the general food supply (because the pesticides, incecticides, fertilizers, and GMO have actually changed that food structure). The number of people suffering food allergies is on the rise–you are correct. There’s a huge reason behind it and the food production system is what has changed. Check out some of the research it is VERY interesting. There’s this breadmaker in California that is using super fermented sourdough bread with heirloom grains (sold at a farmer’s market there). Good stuff!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

That is so scary, and one of my biggest fears! Still haven’t tried nuts for that reason. I’m waiting til one year, and starting verrrrry slowly. Just finally did eggs last weekend. We’ll definitely check out coconut milk options!

[Reply]

Katy @MonsterProof Reply:

We also went with coconut milk. My 15-month-old still isn’t entirely weaned (nurses 2x a day). We hadn’t necessarily intended to be dairy-free with him, but he rejected cow’s milk (threw it), and I’m lactose intolerant, so we always had other options available. I selected coconut b/c I wasn’t comfortable w/ soy, and it had the most complete vitamin profile, short of the protein, which we compensated for with diet. However, they only NEED three servings a day, and I continued 3 nursings until around 13 months, so it wasn’t a huge concern.

[Reply]

Ashley Reply:

I’m curious what type of coconut milk people are using? I’m so interested in this topic and a few people mentioned coconut milk which I never would have thought of! Carton coconut milk [like almond milk] or canned light or canned whole fat? I’m guessing the whole fat stuff would be pretty intense to take through a bottle. :)

[Reply]

Katy @MonsterProof Reply:

We used unsweetened (at first) then original So Delicious cartons. The calorie content is lower than milk, so that’s why I moved over. Yes, more sugar, but he was acting really hungry. Not the most nutritionally-based decision. And…he was using sippy cups already.

[Reply]

Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)     at 5:20 am

I thought the whole “you can’t get pregnant while you are breastfeeding” was a myth???

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

It IS a myth – you definitely can. But the reason it is exists is because it is much more difficult for (some) women to get pregnant while BFing. Hormone/estrogen levels are much lower due to breastfeeding, and periods/ovulation don’t usually resume until a baby is weaned. Some women do and can get pregnant while BFing, but many women can’t.

[Reply]

Emily Reply:

Hi Emily,

I just wanted to share my experience with you. I slowly started weaning my daughter starting at 12 months, and her last nursing session was just past her 13-month mark. I, too, was eagerly awaiting my first period as my husband and I were trying to conceive. It took three cycles for me to get pregnant – during the first two we timed sex right (I was using OPKs) but my luteal phase was very short, which often happens for a few cycles after weaning. Low progesterone
levels are responsible for this. I started taking B-complex, which is thought to strengthen the follicle and stimulate progesterone production, and got pregnant that third cycle! Who knows if it was the vitamin or just my body readjusting after almos 2 years without a period. I’m sharing because even though three months was not a long time, I had begun to stress out a little as we had conceived our first on our first try. Don’t worry too much if it takes a few cycles after you stop breastfeeding. And research B-complex if you are curious.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Great info, Emily! Thank you! I’ll definitely look into this.

[Reply]

Candice Reply:

It’s not actually a myth–there’s science involved. But you have to be ONLY breastfeeding and doing it often in order for it to work.

[Reply]

Michaela Reply:

I know at least 20 women in my village who got pregnant while exclusively bfeeding.

[Reply]

Coreen S Reply:

Breastfeeding (lactational amenorrhea method) is a reliable form of birth control for women only when all of the following conditions are met:
1. Exclusive breastfeeding…feeding often, at least every four hours, and never more than a 6 hour stretch in each 24 hour period
2. No menstruation, once you’ve had a period, back up method is required
3. Baby under 6 months of age

[Reply]

Maya Reply:

Also, there’s a difference between “reliable birth control” (ie almost no chance of getting pregnant) and suppressed fertility, which is much more common.

[Reply]

Sara     at 5:23 am

Thank you SO much for this post. My husband and I have been struggling with this conversation as well lately. While our son is only 7 months old, we have been talking about it because we too are a dairy free house and I am a vegetarian so while my husband will eat meat, we don’t have meat in our house so our son will likely not eat it either. I look forward to hearing more about your journey with this.

[Reply]

Andrea     at 5:26 am

Yay for thinking about Baby #2. We’re working on baby #3 in this house. :)

[Reply]

Alexis @ Hummusapien     at 5:46 am

I’m the same way with you on the dairy thing…I basically stopped eating it after Forks Over Knives and The China Study. I still eat it cheese and greek yogurt here and there, but I drink soymilk and almond milk regularly. I don’t even have kids yet but I’m STILL thinking about what I will have him/her drink after breastfeeding. It’s hard to balance what you believe and what the research is :/ Maybe organic cow’s milk for a year and then organic soymilk? Then there is the soy overload issue you mentioned…I’m anxious to hear what you decide! I can’t believe Cullen is almost one year!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

ME EITHER!

[Reply]

Molly     at 5:52 am

We just went through the same debate. Connor is allergic to milk, soy, eggs and nuts so many of the traditional options were out. After over a year of nursing and not eating ANY of the foods he is allergic to, I made the difficult decision to wean him at 13 months because we too want to try for number two soon and I never had a period while nursing (still don’t – sorry, TMI). Our nutritionist suggested oat milk. It has 4 grams of protein and 2.5 grams of fat per 8 oz. Toddlers age 1-2 need 10-15 grams protein per day, so if he drinks the recommended 16-24 oz., we get there. Plus he eats other proteins of course. To bulk up the fat intake since that is a bit lacking with the oat milk, she recommended feeding him So Delicious Coconut Milk yogurt and/or avocado daily. Luckily he absolutely loves the milk, yogurt and avocado so we seem to do fine. It was helpful for my own peace of mind to get expert advice though. Best of luck with weaning, that was the hardest part for me.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Ahh it’s so tough. I do NOT feel ready to wean him, but I’m worried that my supply is declining. And I haven’t had a period either. It took a long time to get pregnant this first time, so I’m not assuming #2 will be any easier. So far Cullen has only shown a reaction to oat, so oat’s milk is probably out for us – haha. Go figure! Definitely going to try the coconut yogurt – grabbing some today!

[Reply]

sal     at 6:13 am

I’m so glad you posted this – I am currently pregnant and already worried about this issue (and getting questions from concerned grandparents-to-be…). I feel confident about my ability to serve my future children a healthy vegetarian diet – yet, the milk issue is a question I’m not sure how to answer yet. Thanks for starting this discussion!

[Reply]

Meg     at 6:21 am

Hi, Emily!
I’m not a vegetarian, but I was a breastfeeding mama for my daughter (who turns 2 next month). I work full-time and still continued to breastfeed her until she was 15 months old. My milk supply did start going down when she was around 10 months, but I pumped at work 3 times a day as opposed to 2 to get more milk. I also supplemented formula if I needed, which she loved. The only reason I weaned my baby at 15 months (I would have continued indefinitely) is that my husband and I went to Italy for 10 days when she was 16 months old and she stayed behind in the States with my parents. I didn’t want to take my pump to Europe! Right after I weaned her, I got pregnant with daughter #2 (due in 8 weeks!). I know you and Casey will do what’s best for Cullen–no doubt!

[Reply]

Catherine     at 6:25 am

Emily, thank you once again for opening my eyes to something I hadn’t thought about. I eat meat infrequently, but I LOVE milk – we go through at least two gallons a week (between two people!) in my house. I decided to switch a few months ago to organic milk for ethical reasons and am glad I did, but I had no idea there was even issues with milk out there! I’ll just back other posters who have said it more elegantly than me – you’re a wonderful mom and whatever decision you make for Cullen will be the right one!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks so much, Catherine!

[Reply]

Jen Lilley     at 6:42 am

Total sidenote, but is this Cullen’s high chair? I love it…worth the money in your opinion?
http://www.buybuybaby.com/product.asp?SKU=132130&

We are starting the complicated registry journey :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Yep! That is it! I absolutely LOVE it and think it was definitely worth the $$$. Love that it’s easy to clean and the tray comes off with one hand. And it looks nice in our dining room – an added bonus. It pretty much never goes on sale, but if I was buying it again I’d try to score a % off on a day like Black Friday!

[Reply]

Annie     at 6:55 am

My son is 18 months and for now I use milk from a local farmer that I trust. He doesn’t seem to be guzzling it as much as he did when he was 12 months, though. I think he’s starting to prefer water over milk, so I am considering only giving it to him at breakfast to keep him full and then maybe just supplement with yogurt or cheese at lunch/dinner/snacks. I don’t eat dairy and certainly don’t want to get my son too hooked on cheese, but for now, it’s what works best for us. Good luck and let us readers know what you decide! I’m interested in getting your POV!

[Reply]

Sabra     at 6:55 am

Thank you for this post! Even though I am about a year out from trying to get pregnant, this is something I’ve been thinking about lately as my husband and I have stopped drinking cow’s milk. We do eat cheese, but use almond milk in place of cow’s milk, and I was trying to figure out how that would work with children since almond milk has minimal fat/protein. I hadn’t considered goat’s milk, so that is definitely something to think about when the time comes! I haven’t read through all the comments yet, but I’m interested to see what everyone else has to say about it.

[Reply]

Liz @ circletwentytwo.com     at 7:24 am

It takes a lot of strength to be so up front and forward about issues like this. I can only imagine how many mean-spirited and terrible comments you’ll get because of your beliefs. That you’re willing to do the research and look at it from every angle is a sign of a great mama! Good luck with your and your family’s decision!!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Honestly, I was bracing myself for negativity that didn’t really come. Should have had more faith! I have awesome readers who tend to have respectful and really engaging conversations about stuff like this – so much to learn from everyone. I’m happy to start the discussion.

[Reply]

Robyn     at 7:39 am

Have you looked into a local milk share? We are able to purchase local, organic milk through a milk share. We leave a cooler at a pick up location each week and two large mason jars of milk arrive with the cream still on the top. I believe it is unpasteurized, which might be concerning for some people. I personally think it is great and encourages a strong immune system. You may ask around at your farmers market or CSA.

[Reply]

Leah     at 7:40 am

Make your own yogurt from local (and organic) milk to give to Cullen. This way you can control what goes in it. :)

Goat’s milks seems like a great way to go (for drinking and things like cereal for Cullen).

I’m not sure if it is possible to make your own yogurt from goat’s milk but that would be a great way to go (strained yogurt is a great protein source).

There’s always keifer for cereal as well. :)

In regards to Soy milk I’ve heard that a lot of soy milk comes from GMO Soy.

[Reply]

Annette     at 7:40 am

Our family was allergic to milk. My daughter was breastfed until she was 4, and didn’t really begin eating anything other than breastmilk until well after a year old. She nibbled before that, gnawed on things, but didn’t really eat. When we tried her on cow’s milk she presented symptoms that were just as clear as ours when we drank milk. She never liked fruit juice either, so she drank water and ate cheese which didn’t seem to bother her.

You sound like a caring and bright mom who does all kinds of research to find out what will be right for your family. Keep up the good work and let us know how it goes. I love reading your blog.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks, Annette!

[Reply]

Aimee     at 7:47 am

HI! Food is like religion and politics. Way to ask the hard questions!
My two cents: I find that my patients struggle with what they know they want to do and what marketing, other parents, and ‘what we did when I was a kid’ tells them to do. If C isn’t getting dairy through your breast milk, why start now? I see A LOT of skin, behavior, GI distress, ear infections in my pediatric practice. Unfortunately many of my patients refuse to believe that a food so complete could be the culprit. You know calcium is better absorbed from greens etc. My professional opinion is don’t do cow’s milk.
My personal experience is that my 7 & 8 yr olds are totally dairy free without mental, emotional, or physical issue. We started my 8 yr on cow’s at 1 and had horrid experiences. We went straight to rice milk with my 7 and avoided unnecessary drama. For the last 6 years we have used almond milk for the minerals you get from that route. We eat some coconut & rice products. We stick to whole beans & tempeh when it comes to soy-no milk-too much soy for us.
There’s your information overload/opinion. :) As parents, I believe in empowerment. Most of us know what is right for us, go with that.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Great info! Thank you!

[Reply]

Ashley Reply:

Awesome comment!!!

[Reply]

Jen     at 7:48 am

WHY is this so hard?! We’re going through the same thing now. Since eggs, soy, and poultry are on Wyatt’s allergen list, the only way he can get protein is through dairy or beans (I’m not sure when/ if I’ll feel comfortable trying red meat or seafood). Since he’s eating cheese and yogurt daily, I really don’t want to transition to cow’s milk after nursing.

I think I’m going to go the extended breast-feeding route (more like pumping and putting in a sippy cup since he’s kind of over nursing). It’s not optimal for my fertility, but I just feel like there are no other options. Good luck making your decision!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Honestly, that probably would have been my solution too, except my supply is on rapid decline. Not cool!

[Reply]

Laura     at 7:52 am

What are the health concerns of eating dairy? I am curious because I love dairy but my family has a history of heart attacks and strokes.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Well there are many, but a very generalized answer is that excessive dairy is possibly linked to increased cancer rates, particularly among women. Also creates digestive and inflammatory issues in many.

[Reply]

Jules Reply:

Yes! I sometimes have tummy troubles (mostly bloating), and when I asked my doctor about it, she told me that MOST women are at least a little lactose intolerant! I had no idea! I haven’t given up dairy entirely, and I know it’s not the only source of my problems, but I’ve certainly benefited from cutting back a great deal!

[Reply]

Kelly     at 7:55 am

My BFF is raising her children vegetarian and used hemp milk with her first child and will do the same with her second that is due any day. Ultimately you guys have to do what is right for you and what you can live with. Good luck!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I am definitely going to look into hemp milk, after hearing it mentioned so much here!

[Reply]

Heather     at 8:00 am

I have to admit that since I’m not vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, etc..I sort of zone out on these types of conversations, but seriously girl, you have a gift of making these topics really interesting! I plan on breastfeeding when I have children and the cow’s milk thing has always perplexed me as well (I’m not a huge dairy person). Good to know there’s lots of alternatives!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Aw, thanks Heather! I have great readers who provide awesome commentary – I feel lucky!

[Reply]

Kristyn     at 8:30 am

I have two sons (8/2009 and 8/2011) and we’ve dealt with the same issue. With our first I nursed him until 13 months, though we started supplementing with formula from six months to 18 months. I also read The China Study, so we came up with a compromise with our doctor: a mix of goat’s milk and plant milk. We rotated between rice, soy, almond, coconut, and hemp. Our doctor doesn’t think babies and toddlers should have a huge amount of dairy because consuming a lot of any one product has health implications and means the child isn’t getting something else. We focused on healthy fats like almonds and my son eats oatmeal with flax and nut butters. The fat and protein come from other foods.

Also, the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine put out a helpful book: Healthy Eating for Life for Children. I consulted my doctor and she said if we got our son to eat according to the recommendations in that book we’d be ahead of most kids who eat mac ‘n cheese and hotdogs.

When my son was around two and a half he stopped drinking any kind of milk and now drinks water and the occasional small glass of diluted orange juice.

For what it’s worth, my son didn’t get sick (not even a cold) until he was two and a half, and still rarely gets sick.

From reading your blog, it looks like your son is getting great nutrition from the solid food he eats. Good luck!

[Reply]

sarah     at 8:38 am

Hi Emily,

I read your blog all the time, I’m from the midwest St. Louis, MO to be specific but I love the Northwest!

Anyway I have a 12 month old girl and at 11 1/2 months I transitioned from breast milk to Goats, it’s costly I will add, about double that of organic cows milk. I personally drink soy milk but I didn’t feel that would be the best nutritional option for my daughter. So far so good though, from reading the other posts though it seems like Hemp may be a good alternative.

[Reply]

Jules     at 8:42 am

I’m an almond milk girl, but my kids drink a mix of almond and cow’s milk. The older ones like the cow’s milk better (although my 10-year-old reaches for the almond milk when he makes a post-run smoothie), but the little ones are happy to mix it up either way. We all also love Greek yogurt. I buy a big tub and we put our own fruit (or sometimes a few chocolate chips!) in it.
I think if your milk decision is more health than ethics based, and you find Cullen gets the best nourishment from cow’s milk or cow’s milk products, you shouldn’t be afraid to include it in his diet.
Good luck with whatever you decide!

[Reply]

Julie (A Case of the Runs)     at 8:57 am

I haven’t had a chance to read through all the comments, but I also mostly stay away from dairy. Just recently I found out I had issues with dairy when I was a baby, then I guess my parents thought I got “better” when I was older. But I remember having stomachaches as a kid all the time!! Finally put two-and-two together when I was 19.

Given what dairy does to me (and what I know about it), I wonder if I could ever comfortably feed any kids I have cow’s milk. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of alternative out there, plus my partner is still eating meat/dairy, so thankfully it’s not time to make that decision yet. Hopefully some alternative will arise by then?

[Reply]

Kimmi     at 9:25 am

This is a tough decision! Our first baby is only a month old and I too am looking to breastfeed for a year, but this post makes me realize I have a similar decision on the horizon. I used to live in CA, where raw cow’s milk was easily accessible (aka you can buy it at the grocery store) but I now live in CO (where it is more complicated to obtain and way more expensive). I’m not sure what the laws are regarding raw milk in your area or if you’d even consider it, but that’s where I’m leaning. There is so much in milk that is destroyed in the pasturization process that makes the milk more easily digestible and balanced, Can you imagine if we pasturized breast milk? That’d be crazy. Anyways just a thought.

[Reply]

Gina     at 10:19 am

Thank you for your post. This was really interesting to read. I reduced my meat intake two years ago without any problem. This past year, I have been trying to reduce my dairy intake (b/c i read the china study), and it’s been hard for me to do that. But, the process has taught me that I feel more bloated and congested when i overindulge in dairy. i have been thinking that if i decide to have kids i will try to feed them meat-free and dairy-free as often as i can, but i know that will be an adjustment for others around me to get used to b/c it is still considered a very foreign idea in our country.

[Reply]

Amber K     at 10:24 am

So many different things to consider! You have a great audience, wow. I have learned a lot not only from your post, but also from the comments section!

[Reply]

Candice     at 10:26 am

Hmm this might sound totally contradictory to you but have you considered researching the Paleo diet? It’s not vegetarian, of course, but a lot of Paleo blogs outline why dairy is harmful. As a sidenote too I think it’s funny that people pair eggs with dairy when they really aren’t dairy products at all :) I think there are a lot of issues with The China Study as well but the fact that you are researching and finding information on your own is great. And I think whatever you choose for Cullen will ultimately be the right choice–you’re his mom, after all.

[Reply]

Rae     at 10:36 am

My husband and I are both doctors (and he is a pediatrician) and we are raising our kids without meat or dairy (they do eat eggs). That being said, I don’t put any limits on what they eat a preschool; I think it can be tough when, as a child, your parents impose a food rule that you interpret as arbitrary, and has to potential to socially isolate you. Just my two cents.

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Good to know! I totally agree with you on the social piece. I considered writing about that here, but thought there was probably already enough food for thought. That sort of what I meant about parenting being a fine line between protecting values and pushing beliefs. I don’t ever want him to feel socially isolated because of choices we’ve made for him. I want him to feel confident and empowered.

[Reply]

Sara Palacios     at 10:51 am

Such a great post. My little guy is 4 months old and I’ve recently started discussing this very same topic with the husband. I am a vegetarian too and do not consume dairy for ethical reasons and am not sure what to do when he turns 1. I would love to be updated on what you decide to do.

[Reply]

April     at 11:31 am

Thanks Emily, i have been patiently ‘waiting’ for this post:= My guy is a week younger than Cullen so this has been on my mind a lot these past few months. I even took a pic of the back of a whole milk carton and a goats milk carton to show my ped the nutritional stats (almost exact) – as i KNOW he will question my decision to give Jack an alternative to cow’s milk.
You are lucky Casey is on board with you because I have to convince my husband along with trying to convince everyone else, ha ha. After all my research, I am almost 100% sold on giving Jack goat’s milk, with a little cow’s mixed in here and there. I want to do this because i know he is going to be exposed to cow’s milk many times growing up and i don’t want him to get a bad reaction or have to avoid it all together, i want a bit of a balance. I totally hear ya on being careful about the little guy’s nutritional needs, it can be scary.
You will laugh, i give Jack an organic formula that i can only find online, and my husband was VERY hesitant because he feels like the ‘popular’ formulas have been ‘tried and true’ for SO long, so why not go with those? So I know where you are coming from when you mention children have been drinking cow’s milk forever…sigh. Good luck with your decision and THANK YOU very much for all this awesome info, i knew you wouldn’t disappoint:) A man, i have read EVERY comment and you have awesome readers too, my research is complete, ha ha!

[Reply]

Kathy     at 11:42 am

I am vegan/vegetarian but my grandson is neither. He was never breastfed and they had problems finding a formula that he could drink. They initially said he was allergic to milk so was placed on soy formula. After he was a year old, his parents put him on regular milk. They noticed he always appeared to have a cold i.e. stuffy nose, coughing, etc., but he never appeared sick. The doctor suggested he could still be allergic to milk so they put him back on soy. He did seem to do better. Now at 3 years, he has gone back to drinking cow’s milk, however, he is limited in the amounts, as he still does not do completely well with it. Why they put him back on I’m not sure. I don’t know when a child would no longer be allergic or have a reaction to this, but it is something to consider being Cullen has never had cows milk in his system. He may do fine, but I have heard that people who are allergic can drink goat milk without incident. I would probably opt for the non dairy milks, but would be looking for ways to supplement the required vitamins, etc. I just don’t hear too much good about dairy in general.

[Reply]

Erica     at 12:13 pm

Emily,

I have been following your blog for a while now and really enjoy reading your posts. My husband and I are currently pregnant with our first due in December and we have talked about the same thing. From what I have read hemp milk seems like an excellent option! To save money and keep it natural, you can even make it yourself. Keep up the great posts!

[Reply]

Jessica     at 12:21 pm

My daughter had trouble digesting cows milk so we did almond and coconut milk. However other than making it myself, it was hard to find either kind of milk that less than 5 ingredients. I mean what else do you need besides almond and water? Anyway we ended up switching her to goats milk. We buy it weekly from the Farmers Market. If in a pinch we buy a pasteurized brand at Whole Foods, but it is a lot more expensive. Also goats milk is low in amino acid, essential for cell building, so our peditrician prescribed us some. We have to get it compounded into a liquid she cant swallow pills obviously. She loves goats milk and it is the highlight of her week going to the market to pick it up.

[Reply]

Jen     at 12:36 pm

this is a fabulous post. My son is only 8 weeks old, but I have been already worrying about what to feed him at the one year mark! Thanks for sharing!!

[Reply]

Kerry @ Kerry Cooks     at 12:59 pm

A wonderfully balanced and sensible post from you as ever Emily!

[Reply]

Erin     at 1:11 pm

I’m wondering if Emily or others made any great efforts to get their babies iron. My (vegetarian) seven month old is breast fed and beginning solids. It seems like iron is the only thing we really need to worry about. Any tips? Lentils and kale twice a day?

[Reply]

kelly     at 1:30 pm

My daughter is the same age as Cullen and I have decided when we do decide to wean (I’m still not sure when!) we’re going to give her almond & coconut milk. Actually, in my breastfeeding circles, Coconut milk seems to be the popular choice since it is the closest thing nutritionally to breast milk :) Soy milk scares me too (which is funny since it seems like 10 years ago it was the miracle product!). Whichever way you choose to go, good luck! It’s such a complicated thing.. feeding our babies :)

[Reply]

Emily S     at 1:48 pm

Thank you for posting this – I really respect your thoughts on this subject and finding what’s best for your family.

[Reply]

Marty     at 1:50 pm

I am not a Mom, first off. I’m a gluten-free (by need) vegan, only for 7 years (57 here). I never tolerated dairy, never drank milk, but loved cheese (who doesn’t!). I had acne all my life until I gave up cheese, couldn’t eat yogurt though I loved it (not sure why). After reading The China Study I decided then it was important for me to give up dairy. Fortunately my husband didn’t consume dairy, though he does like cheese occasionally (he’s a meat eater/hunter, though infrequently in our household).

My point, is personally I don’t believe dairy is necessary for human consumption. I wondered about infants and children when you posted this blog. One of my fav vegan RDs is Ginny Messina, so I went to her blog and this is a post she wrote. http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/realveganchildren

I think everyone’s post here is thoughtful and it will be a conversation that will still be had for years. When I recently tried cheese again (temptation), I immediately gained weight. I’ve been trying to lose weight all my life, and only have since I vegan GF and vegan. My choice was for health and ethical reasons as my father just died of heart disease and complications from Parkinson’s (sextuple bypass 10 years ago).

As a women I still have a predisposition to heart disease and though 85 is a good life, I’d like to live healthy as long as I can (he was a runner too, but ate a heavy meat diet until he died).

I’m excited that you and Casey want 3 children! It’s been so fun watching Cullen grow! And he’s almost one year, whoohoo!

[Reply]

Tamae     at 2:48 pm

Please keep up posted! We are going through the same thing with our 11 month old & haven’t decided what to do! Love that you brought this topic up! :]

[Reply]

jessica kiehn     at 2:51 pm

so, I’ve been here as well. I have a 2.5 year old and a new 7 weeks old.
Ideally, keep breastfeeding, but your reasons for it being near the end of bfing make perfect sense. Plus, if you DO get pregnant while still breastfeeding (which I recommend at least trying at first, and then if you’re not getting pregnant, wean) it’s not really a walk in the park to both nurse and deal with the 1st trimester.

When our oldest weaned off of really heavy nursing (around Cullens age, maybe a little older) then I HARDLY did milk. We just made sure she was getting a variety of greens, beans, fruits, and whole grains only and gave her water. Yep, all her sippy cups had water. Never ever juice and HARDLY ever milk. And with Nora, our second, we will never do milk since we’ve completely cut out dairy since our oldest Ruby was around two.

Guess why we completely cut out dairy?
Obvious health reasons, but because our naturopathic doctor tested her and she was having allergic reactions, sores on her skin, etc and it was all being fed by TOO MUCH DAIRY in her diet. We would give her real butter, whole organic milk, chobani yogurt, etc. and her body couldn’t take it. OUR adult bodies can’t take dairy. We cut it out and she’s been great ever since.

Food in general is just not what it used to be. You have to FIGHT to remain healthy these days. And dairy, even labeled organic, and in all it’s forms, are just rough on our bodies, in my opinion.

BUT to answer your question…if you really really want to give him milk, I’d definitely do goat’s milk only. It’s still dairy, but it’s much more digestible.

You’re doing awesome:) Just know that first kids are guinea pigs, I know it’s not fair but it’s true! You and Casey are open and aware and wanting to do what’s best and that’s a great place to be! Just go with your gut, pray about it, and NEVER VIOLATE YOUR PEACE!

jessicaikiehn@gmail.com

[Reply]

Pam     at 3:14 pm

First, quickly, I’ve been following your blog since you lived in VA because you lived right near my son, ran where my daughter-in-law ran, and posted pics of a cupcake shop they took us to when we visited! Also, you got pregnant one month after my daughter. (Hence, my daughter is going through the same thing as you right now!)
Anyway, in your research, did you come across Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Disease-Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right? In Chapter 4, he gives important reasons for NOT starting milk until 18 months. He recommends if you absolutely can’t BF until 18-24 months, that from 12-18 months you use a DHA supplemented cow’s milk formula “that best resembles human milk. Some of the newer formulas have improved designs with DHA added and modified proteins that are nonallergenic.” Then after 18m, a mixture of soy and nut milks (and cow’s or goat’s) can be used.
I’m just passing this along for your review. He has chosen a vegan diet for his family. I think you’d find this an interesting read.

[Reply]

Jessica     at 3:36 pm

we drink raw milk… We started when my five year old was 6 months old and we started thinking about what we were putting into that little body. It has been a great choice for us and we go and visit “our cow” every week.

we are very sensitive to soy here so that was never a choice.

[Reply]

Christine     at 4:51 pm

I don’t know if I’ll make it through 179 comments but I’ll pass you on to maybe ask Dreena Burton on Plant Powered Kitch. She is raising her 3 kids vegan and has done several posts on “what to do’s”… she might have some suggestions too! Good luck with whatever you decide.

[Reply]

Felicia (Natural + Balanced)     at 5:15 pm

ive only heard great things about goats milk, especially for babies. when my fiance was a baby he constantly threw up cows milk and had digestive problems with it (although now he can drink it just fine) but his mom switched to goats milk and he digested it perfectly fine and tolerated it great. he turned out to be over 6 foot and 220-30 pounds of muscle and a division 1 athlete so hey! go for the goats milk! haha in all seriousness though, i think its a great option. try to find local sources and when he is old enough, raw milk

[Reply]

Amy     at 5:24 pm

The China Study was a great book.. although I drink almond milk (mainly because I think I am lactose intolerant) I have not cut out all dairy. I am glad you are weighing all of your options and not just jumping on the cows milk bandwagon that the majority of Americans do because it is expected and convenient ! good luck with the weaning and I am proud of all breast feeding mothers- it is the best choice for your baby!

[Reply]

Lindsay     at 7:18 pm

I recently switched to buying only raw whole milk, which I am grateful is available in my area. My 3 year old loves it. When my 5 month old weans someday, he will get raw whole milk and hemp milk.

[Reply]

JaniceP     at 7:20 pm

Emily… I have lots to say but many have already said so. I highly recommend goat milk especially if you can get from the source… but the main thing I do want to say is that no matter what you and Casey decide it will be good and right. My goodness! Just look at Cullen now. Such a happy robust baby. So far so good and you will continue making those good decisions for the health of your whole family. You are so careful and thoughtful. For sure!

[Reply]

Carre     at 7:40 pm

I breastfed my son until he was 18 months. I hadn’t planned on nursing him that long but those last few months he would only nurse once or twice a day and it was before nap or bedtime and I wasn’t producing a whole lot. It was hard weaning him from those two comfort feedings. Once he started weaning I tried giving him cow’s milk and he hated it. I tried warming it up, diluting it, etc. He just turned 2 yesterday and still won’t drink it unless it is with cereal. The pediatrician wasn’t concerned and said that is common. As long as he gets calcium from other foods then it is ok if he doesn’t have milk, according to her. He either drinks water or diluted orange juice (with added calcium). I also give him a multivitamin everyday as well as a probiotic (despite breastfeeding he kept getting recurring ear infections all last winter and as soon as I started giving him a probiotic daily, he stopped getting them) Sorry for the long post, but that was our experience with weaning and transitioning to other liquids.

[Reply]

melissa     at 7:51 pm

i’m a little late to this so dont know if this has been said already and i apologize if it has, but i’m a pediatrician so couldn’t resist :) The reason we recommend whole cows milk specifically isn’t just one of those “because its always been done” things..it actually helps with myelination of the neurons in the brain (bascially the fatty coating that covers brain cells to help them “talk” to each other) so its important for little guys and their brain development. Of course, I know there are many babies that dont consume cows milk that come out just fine –but just know there risks associated with some of the other milks for instance goats milk consumption is associated with folate deficiency. just my two cents:) Cullen is soooooo adorable btw and i see a LOT of babies every day!

[Reply]

katie Reply:

What would be your recommendation to replace whole cows milk? Something with the most fat? Like hemp milk? Would it work the same? My ped said to just watch for the vit D levels in the milk altrnatives, and all the milk alternatives have the same % as cow’s milk.

[Reply]

Kristen     at 7:57 pm

This is a really hard issue. I am currently still breastfeeding my 15 month old daughter and giving her soy milk since I am not producing that much milk. You’re situation is even trickier because if you want to get pregnant again you are going to have to stop breastfeeding. I was discouraged from giving my daughter rice milk since it is lower in protein than soy, but I am constantly wondering if soy is the right decision. If you are vegetarian for ethics reasons remember that animal milk is only available to humans because the animals’ babies were not allowed to nurse and were then used as either meat (beef cattle, veal baby cows, dairy cows eventually slaughtered). It is totally unnatural that humans deprive baby animals of their mother’s milk so we can drink it.

[Reply]

Anna     at 8:10 pm

Emily, don’t assume that you aren’t fertile because it took a while to conceive your first baby.

It took my husband and I 1.5 years on our first. I stopped breastfeeding and 2 months later, I’m pregnant again. Complete accident! All it takes is 1 time, and I am a living testament to that! Our babies will be 16 months apart!!! I never in my life thought we’d conceive so fast. And the exact same thing happened to some great friends of ours!

[Reply]

Kaci Blake     at 6:17 am

Wow is this statement true: Parenting involves making a lot of choices that can often feel like drawing a fine line between protecting values and pushing personal beliefs.

My Elly is lactose intolerant, we have been giving her almond or coconut milk. But she also eats cheese/yogurt every other day with no issue. It’s the cows milk that just sets her little tummy off.

[Reply]

Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie     at 6:17 am

Thanks so much for posting this! My fiancé and I are both vegetarians and while we are not planning on having a family for at least 5 years reading your post and the comment swas extremely important for info about our own health. I’ve been reading a lot this morning about b12 thanks to this post to make sure I’m being the healthiest vegetarian I possibly can be!

[Reply]

Elizabeth     at 9:44 am

When I had children, I didn’t know nearly as much about nutrition as I do now, or as you do at a similar age as I was then (My kids are now 16 and 17 years old). I was neither a vegan nor vegetarian, though I am a vegan now. That being said, both my kids were born in England and the pre- and post-natal support there was enormous. I ended up breastfeed both until they were nearly three. Neither were big milk drinkers though they enjoyed cheese. My daughter of her own volition became a vegetarian at the age of 8 and vegan at 12. I think the only reason my son drinks as much milk as he does now and eats meat is that, as an elite athlete, he has been brainwashed by the status quo that it is necessary for his performance. What does mom know?

[Reply]

Shannon     at 10:55 am

Hi Emily,
I have been a longtime reader of your blog, but have never posted until now. This is because I had the EXACT same concerns and agonized over this decision for months before my daughter turned one (she is 13 months old now). I have spent countless hours googling, talking to our local health food store owners and nutritionist, other mom’s etc. After all of it, we decided on raw goat’s milk and when that’s not available, raw cow’s milk. I was educated that goat’s milk is the closest alternative to breastmilk. I live in New England (Connecticut) and we are lucky that there are still a lot of local farms that are “allowed” to sell raw goat or cow’s milk without penalty. I was concerned with the term “raw” and spoke to the health food store about this that assured me the bacteria are naturally occurring bacteria, the only thing is the shelf life of raw milk is alot shorter than “regular” milk. The concept is that basically it is what we all used to drink when the milk man delivered milk directly to your house, it wasn’t homogenized, pasteurized, etc, it came straight from the cow/goat. I think you are doing the right thing in trying to do what’s best for Cullen, as we all are as parents and I commend you for bringing forth the topic on your blog. It can be a very senstive subject and sometimes for me, even my own family isn’t in agreement with what my husband and I do :) Here is a link for where you can find milk from your local farmers if you are interested. http://www.realmilk.com/where.html Best of Luck!

[Reply]

Sarah     at 12:35 pm

I don’t understand how you can be a vegetarian based on ethics and still eat eggs and give up dairy not for ethical reasons. Chickens and dairy cows are abused just as badly or even worse than cows and pigs used for meat. Of course, it is your choice, but it seems illogical to do something only halfway based on ethics and ignore the other half.

[Reply]

Sarah G Reply:

I read this blog loyally and I don’t think there’s ever been any evidence of Emily doing this halfway. I think you assume she’s buying just any eggs, which may be the case she’s never clarified (or if she did I missed it)…. I don’t buy meat products that aren’t humanely raised, so I always get great eggs from local farms where I know the chickens are pasture raised, happy, not fed corn, etc. Also, I do understand how someone can eat eggs and milk but not meat. That’s ethical in an ecological sense — footprint, world resources, etc, which is a slightly different concern than simply how animals are treated. Anyway, I’m sure Emily will respond, but I hope you can try to step outside of your own personal understanding of vegetarianism/ethics to see that many people are doing their best using many types of reasoning, some of which may be just as solid and thoughtful albeit different than yours.

[Reply]

Sarah Reply:

Sarah, thank you for your reply. Your stance on the difference between ecological impact and abuse of animals of dairy and meat cows is extremely misguided. Dairy cows have the same environmental impact. Further, they are abused just as badly, if not worse. http://www.mercyforanimals.org/dairy/

Saying that you choose not to eat meat for ethical reasons and proceed to eat eggs (unless you actually know what is going on at the “small farm” where you buy your eggs) and milk is completely illogical. There is no argument about that. Look into the industries. Chickens are just as bad as cows. It is sickening.

That being said, we all do our best. But you aren’t doing your best from an ethical standpoint if you consume milk but decry the treatment of cows used for meat.

I, too, am a reader of this blog. I’m just pointing out facts.

[Reply]

Janet     at 1:27 pm

Please do not feed your child soymilk, it really is a terribly denatured and GMO food. The best alternative to breast milk really is raw cow milk from grass-fed cows. The Healthy Home Economist has a post called “The Right Way to Feed Babies” among other crucial and informative posts on how to properly feed children. (http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/right-way-to-feed-babies/)

[Reply]

Alison Reply:

Amen Janet!

[Reply]

Tiffany     at 2:36 pm

Interesting post. I am currently in my last trimester and struggling with the soy/cow milk debate myself. I stopped drinking milk years ago and have never felt better. (I had doctors telling me I had IBS for years, but when I gave up milk it all went away). However, I found myself drinking way more soy milk than I was comfortable with during my pregnancy. I’ve started drinking a little bit of cow’s milk (organic) each day…

It is a really tough issue, especially when you’re deciding for your little one!

[Reply]

Teri     at 4:34 pm

Hello,
So here is my humble insight. First off, I’m a mom, culinary grad & a current student at the Institute of Integrative nutrition. So I totally understand where your comming from. I chose to ween my daughter to Organic non GMO soy milk when I stopped breast feeding. She was raised vegeterian until she was 6 and then started eating poultry and fish spairingly. Her sources of calcium vary from keefir, cheese, leafy greans & vegies, and seed &nut milks.
Stella is taller than average for her age (I’m petite & her dad is average) When she was 5 her DR. asked me about her diet- and told me to stop giving her soymilk because of the estrogen- this could be why she was so tall. I really doubt that is the reason since this was only a small percentage of her calcium intake … I contribute it to the fact that she is so well nourished, she eats a mainly organic whole foods diet. I did eliminate the soymilk as a precaution and now she drinks Organic Almond milk, wich I actually prefer. Its actually really easy to make at home.
Most children in the US are overweight & under nourished. The american food pyramid is rubbish, The ADA & FDA are goverment funded agencys. Unfortanetly their bottom line is money- not health. There is no money to be made when people are healthy. Sad but true. US trained Doctors only recieve about 2 weeks of food based nutrition curriculm.
My daughter developed just fine with out dairy milk- she is extremley intelegent & healthy, so everything turned out ok!
I believe dairy milk is toxic to the system a little is ok but a few cups a day…. I dont know. Your son is very lucky to have a mother who activly looks out for his best interest instead of blindly following the masses.

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
― Hippocrates

Hope this helps!

[Reply]

Andrea     at 4:46 pm

This is to say the least- very fascinating. Health and ethics aside, I do think our society relies on milk because it always has been the easiest source of what it provides. Same way with peanut butter, basic staples. Increased awareness coupled with increased supply and demand has come full circle with quality (or lack there of)in the manufacturing of stuff. I grew up with fresh eggs from a local source and a backyard garden produce in the midwest. It’s so different now as an adult on the West Coast where yard space in itself is premium. I’m slowly learning what I will and won’t prioritize for organic, healthier substitutions, etc. It’s a process for sure. I think I would feel the same way about introducing dairy to little one. I don’t think there is a right/wrong answer. I mean you had to compromise on the cloth diaper (disposable at night) and it worked out for the best. I wish you luck and look forward to hearing how you deal with it in future posts. Thanks for sharing. :)

[Reply]

Alison     at 6:22 pm

Organic raw milk from grass fed cows is THE best thing you can give your growing child! You could look for raw goat’s milk as well! Even if they can’t tolerate dairy, they can digest raw milk because it hasn’t been pasteurized which kills all the good nutrients and enzymes that helps digest it! Then they add synthetic vitamins that are actually toxic! Even organic dairy is bad because it’s often ultra pasteurized! You can go to realmilk.com and find a local farmer to purchase it from. Milk from grass-fed cows has amazing properties, one of which is the presence of naturally produced antimicrobials in solution. Another is the production of a beneficial fatty acid known as CLA, short for Conjugated Linoleic Acid. Personally, I would stay away from the soy, nut or hemp milks as they often have added ingredients that aren’t cool. I’m sure it’s a tough decision for you but I’m sure you’ll choose whatever you think is best:) Good luck!

[Reply]

Deanna Reply:

+1 :)

[Reply]

Jessica     at 12:19 am

Have you heard of Domperidone to increase supply? At six months with all three of my kids, my supply plummeted. I started Dom and was able to make it to one year each time. Kellymom forums has lots of great info on it, or you could email me with questions.

[Reply]

liz     at 5:33 am

I know we are on the whole topic of cows milk and if it is or isn’t healthy for children/adults. however I want to point out that the non-dairy milks are not that great for you either. The majority contain carrageenan which many studies have shown leads to inflammation and gastrointestinal cancers. In small amounts it is safe but if you are a everyday non dairy milk consumer, I would be concerned. Your best bet for Cullen is probably grass fed cows milk or goats milk. Check your local health food store, many sell milk that comes solely from grass fed cows. Also raw cows milk might be an option if you feel comfortable with that.

[Reply]

Alicia     at 1:41 pm

I haven’t read all the responses, but I wanted to mention that it’s a distinct possibility that your supply is NOT dropping. Here’s a great piece of info from Kellymom about it. http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supply-worries/low-supply/
If you don’t want him to have dairy, I’d do whatever you need to to keep breastfeeding. It’s entirely possible to get pregnant and even deliver and breastfeed another child while continuing to breastfeed your toddler.
If you end up needing to wean, I’d do goat’s milk well before cow’s.
Good luck, whatever you end up doing!

[Reply]

jenny     at 12:04 pm

I just went through this with my daughter. I have been a vegan for the past 5 years and plan on raising my daughter mostly vegan (we do give her eggs). Like your ped, ours offered little help with alternates so I am on the hunt for someone who is more alligned with our lifestyle. We give L coconut yogurt everyday (if it were up to her, she would eat it all day long!) As far as milk goes,we use a mix of organic coconut, soy and hemp. Both the soy and coconut are fortifed with b12. We also do a smoothie once a day with flax oil. With a varied diet rich in fruits, veggies and nut/seeds, my daughter is thriving and I feel good aboutmy choices. Trust yourself and do what feels right for your family.

[Reply]

Kristen     at 11:22 am

You have plenty replies, and so much to think about – but this is what we did:
My first had major digestive issues, and we moved him to goat milk before the year mark (this was before I started to really change our diet and think about what our food eats too). And eventually transitioned off milk completely with more greek yogurt in his diet. My daughter, I was more concerned with the hormones in milk as well as I just started to believe we don’t need the milk after weaning. I purchased hormone free grass fed cows milk for a few months and then moved away from milk completely. I make sure they get plenty of protein and fats from other avenues – and we keep almond or coconut milk at home for any recipes, but don’t drink it (except my coffee). My kids drink water only, and have since they were each about 15 months old.

Yes, you can get pregnant breastfeeding, but boy… I know, for me, that would be too much to throw at my body at one. I got horribly selfish about my body when each of my kids were a year old – I just wanted it back for a little bit :).

Good luck to you. There is no perfect answer, do what is best for your family.

[Reply]

Nikkie Garcia     at 5:20 pm

Hi Emily,

I follow your blog daily and always enjoy your posts. While we are not vegetarian, we strive to eat meat sparingly. When my first son was weaned from formula (unfortunately I am unable to breastfeed), he had no interest in cow’s milk. I decided that I didn’t like the idea of giving it to him anyway so we switched right to water. Our pediatrician asked me to concentrate on calcium from other sources so we did do whole fat organic yogurts and cheeses. I also added purees of vegetables into the foods we eat everyday so that when he started refusing anything green, he was still getting the nutrients he needed. With my second we followed the same guidelines. They are now 3.5 and 20 months growing like weeds. No matter what you decide, Cullen will do great!

[Reply]

Amanda     at 8:56 am

Someone definitely might have already suggested this but I did not read through all 229 comments! (that’s AWESOME by the way — so many comments!) Have you considered switching to a soy formula? It would be sort of like extending breastfeeding. Instead of going straight to milk/soy milk/goat’s milk, it would be a way to go that is dairy-free but still tailored towards the nutrients that babies need? Or even just regular formula? It would give you time to figure out what to do as well.

[Reply]

Robyn     at 4:41 pm

HIya! I know this post is from a little bit ago, but we just had our 12mo check up with our little boy, and I wanted to pass along what our pedi said. We want to avoid cows milk, as its something that we drink very little of in our house and I feel health wise there are just some better options. Like you though, I wanted to make sure that our bean was getting the best nutrition regardless of my personal preferences.

We are still breast feeding, but about a month ago my supply REALLY plummeted, so we are only able to do 2 feedings a day. I do plan to keep that up as long as I can though. My pediatrician said almond milk was just fine, and that it actually contains a bit more fat then rice milk. She said we could feel free to mix it up though, giving him rice, almond or coconut. The only thing that she recommended to supplement is what she calls ‘calorie bombing’ or making sure to give him a good helping of healthy fats each day. She said we can hid a tablespoon of olive oil in his food here and there, or give him some avocado etc.

Just wanted to share what I learned, as I was anxious to read responses :)

p.s. just picked up the ingredients to make your 20min chili, cant wait!

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Great to know! Thanks Robyn! (Congrats on ONE YEAR!!)

[Reply]

claire     at 9:21 pm

My baby is vegan and allergic to soy, so we went through these same concerns when I stopped breastfeeding. Ultimately, what I learned is that fat is the number one concern if your child isn’t getting cow’s milk. So our daughter drinks almond milk and coconut milk and both are fortified with vitamins A, C, D and calcium. We make sure to feed her a lot of healthy fats to compensate for the slightly less fat content in the almond and coconut milks. It is my understanding you should not feed your kids rice milk because the rice sweetener contains arsenic.

Kids don’t need cows milk, it’s just a very convenient way for kids to get the fat and nutrients they need, but it’s not a magic liquid. A well balanced diet with an extra focus on fat and leafy greens and your baby should be fine… in my humble opinion :)

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Great feedback, Claire! This is our plan going forward. Thanks for the info!

[Reply]

Sarah Anne     at 7:39 pm

I love reading all the comments!

Have you thought of finding a great naturopath? I know that there are some really great ones in Seattle with the school so close. (A friend sees one he LOVES if you would like a resource/ personal referral). They could be a really great resource and actually can serve as a primary care doctor in WA. (Obviously not for broken bones etc..but general care)

On a side note…I love watching you and your family grow. I am always excited to see what you have to say and think you’re going to raise caring, aware ans healthy kids. Thanks for sharing with us so much Emily. Truly.

[Reply]

Martha     at 6:27 pm

Hey Emily, I often read your blog and am going through a similar situation (also wanting to wean b/c I want to get pregnant again) but also not wanting to give cow’s milk to my almost one-year-old son. I’d love an update on how the weaning process is going both for you and for your son. How are you going about weaning? How are you responding to it and how is your son doing with it?
Thanks….and keep up the posts…they are so helpful! Martha

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

Planning to write on this topic this week!

[Reply]

Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Foodie Baby: Gear & Goods     at 2:40 pm

[...] Foodie Baby: Got Milk? [...]

Wallace and Gromit Would Never Give Up Cheese (and I’m starting to see why) | Healthy Nest     at 6:19 pm

[...] at Daily Garnish, who is also dairy-free (and vegetarian), recently wrote an interesting post about how she plans to handle weaning her son off breastmilk. (Typically, babies start drinking cow’s milk around a year, but this is obviously [...]

Weaning my One Year Old     at 11:34 am

[...] Though I considered whether milk was even necessary, then considered all the alternative options, like goat’s milk, I ultimately decided we’d go the classic route of cow’s milk unless Hailey had problems with it. (If you are interested in the discussion of cow’s milk versus other options, Emily wrote a great post about milk options for baby) [...]

youtube.com     at 11:13 am

I visit evcery day some websites and websites to read artkcles or reviews, except this blog gives
feature based articles.

[Reply]

canon pilote imprimante     at 6:19 pm

What’s up, just wanted tto mention, I loved this post.
It was inspiring. Keep on posting!}

[Reply]

Heidi     at 5:12 pm

I just came across this post and I’m curious what you ended up doing. My son is 11 months and
I’m not sure what to do next month!! Help!

[Reply]

Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Foodie Baby: The Toddler Years.     at 3:25 pm

[...] million years ago, I wrote a whole post on choosing a milk for Cullen as we transitioned away from breastfeeding.  After he turned [...]

TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

(required)

(required)




    Welcome.

    A resource for healthy recipes, cooking tips, and inspiration for active living. Welcome!

    @DailyGarnish

    On Facebook.

    Favorite Things

    On My Recipage.

    Categories



© 2014 Daily Garnish
All content is protected by copyright. Please do not reproduce in any form.
Blog design by Splendid Sparrow