My bully beef baby boy is growing so well, you guys! His budding personality and infectious giggles are the highlight of our day (Kari included!) and we love watching him grow into a real little boy. On his first birthday, I had begun to wean him off formula, introducing a growth milk slowly. My wallet enjoyed the relief! My Hubstopher appreciated the efficiency behind simply pouring, versus the mind-numbing time suck that comes preparing formula bottles in the middle of the night.
And then, the unthinkable happened. It was 11pm, on a Sunday night, and we had run out of growth milk. I don’t know, somewhere along the line, my spreadsheet brain forgot that we needed to stock up! Aaack! The shock! The horror! I knew that baby boy would be waking up soon, for his feed, and I had to make a plan quick!
Enter: cow’s milk.
I must admit, I was going against what I thought was my better judgement. But I had no other choice. I decided to give the kid cow’s milk, hoping that his digestive tract wouldn’t, you know, explode on me. And guess what, you guys, he loved it. Granted, I had to mix a little bit of his growth milk with the cow’s milk (for the taste). But ever since that day, he exclusively drinks cow’s milk and his tummy has yet to show me the middle finger.
So, in true spreadsheet style, I decided to Google cow’s milk and whether I’m being the worst parent in the world, for giving a 14 month old milk from the udder of an animal. (So dramatic). Here’s what I found, you guys:
1. It’s high in protein and salt
Cow’s milk has a high content of protein and salt, making it unsafe for infants under the 12 month mark to consume. It’s just not as easy for them to digest. But once your kid has had that first birthday, their digestive systems are mature enough to digest animal milk proteins.
2. Milk allergy is a real thing
Food allergy’s occur when your immune system tries to protect you against something that you may have eaten. Because your body is trying to work this foreign matter out, you are left with symptoms, which we would then recognize to be an allergy. Introducing your baby, too early, to cow’s milk could cause damage to the digestive system, resulting in milk allergy. Should you introduce cow’s milk to your toddler, and it doesn’t agree with them, the following are symptoms of a milk allergy: wind, bloating, diarrhea, stomach rumblings and aches, rashes around the mouth and chin, itchiness and swelling, vomiting and nausea.
3. Cow’s milk is amazing
Cow’s milk is a rich source of calcium and vitamin D, which helps to build strong teeth and bones, and is crucial for bone growth. Milk also provides protein and carbohydrates, giving your toddler all the energy he needs (you know, to jump on your couches and write on your walls with permanent marker…kidding!) Introducing cow’s milk to your child’s diet, as early as 12 months old is a great idea! This will set him up for a lower risk of stroke, high blood pressure, colon cancer, and hip fractures later in life.
4. What about fat-free and low-fat milk?
Whole milks are preferred, when it comes to your toddler, unless a doctor has recommended a low-fat milk due to high risk for obesity. Kids need a higher fat content of whole milk, anyways, to help them maintain their normal weight gain. Whole milks also assist the body in the absorption of vitamins A and D.
5. Is there such a thing as “too much milk”?
Yes, yes there is. Giving your child more than 4 cups of milk a day may affect their diet, since the milk will keep them full. If your toddler is thirsty, offer water, but since your toddler should be eating soft foods by now, try not to offer a milk bottle too often. This is one of the reasons why I loved the switch! My kid wasn’t eating solids as often as I would have liked and it was because the growth milk (and formula) sustained him and acted as a meal replacement.