Rice milk for infants?

Gah! and double gah!  Since I posted last week about no longer drinking cows’ milk I have been doing some more reading. Boy Wonder (9 months old) is still breastfed, but I have been mixing rice milk in his porridge. I thought I’d look more into this, and see what alternatives there are for when it comes time to wean him.

It seems consensus is that a child under 4.5 years of age should not be given rice milk as a drink, and especially not as a substitute for breast milk or formula.  Small amounts, such as in his porridge, are no big deal, but it really shouldn’t be an option when it comes to offering milk as a drink. Rice milk is low in protein, iron and essential fats, and very young children need to be provided with more nutrient dense options while they are developing so rapidly.  Even though I use rice milk fortified with extra calcium and vitamins, it is still not recommended.

I am wondering now about organic, unhomogenised milk, such as this one by Parmalat. and then when Boy Wonder meets the magical age of 4.5 transitioning him to rice or almond milk.  It is concerning that promotion of the Parmalat milk states ‘…made with ingredients from farms that are free from synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides’, because it implies that all other milk comes from farms that contain those things. Not that that is a news flash at all.

My concern about IGF1 in cows’ milk is still valid, however it seems the biggest risk for this is consumption in adulthood when we are not designed to still be producing that hormone in large quantities.

I am interested to hear other opinions and experience with this. What milk do you give your children and why? And at what age did you start?

EDITED FEBRUARY 2013: In the time since I wrote this post I have learned about the healing benefits of full-fat raw dairy and have rethought my position on this topic. I have been buying raw milk directly from a local farm where the jersey cows are 100% pasture-raised and free to graze. Both my children consume raw milk, although neither of them are huge dairy-lovers. Some days they have none, other days they will have a cup or two.

About informedmama

I'm an Aussie mum blogging about my parenting journey, toxic chemical-free living, healthful living, nutrition, food as medicine and my learnings as I head towards semi self-sufficiency.
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5 Responses to Rice milk for infants?

  1. Jess says:

    I think in many cases it is a balance of evils. I have a good friend whose son only drank rice milk for several years after he stopped breast feeding, due to pretty severe asthma, exacerbated by dairy. After some environmental changes (3 months away from day care, relocating), his symptoms have decreased substantially, and he is now able to drink cows milk again. I guess it just comes down to you and your child’s situation. Love your new blog btw xx

  2. Ebony says:

    I have just discovered your blog and like it already.

    I gave my baby boy breast,ilk then as I couldn’t go on formula from 4 months till 12 months when I started cows milk. After a few weeks I thankfully discovered just how crap it is. And not just because of the drugs and hormones in it but basically because it’s not designed for humans. The fat is not easily digestible and the homogenization and pasteurization destroys a lot of the good in milk. I am not game to give him raw milk.

    I then switched him to fortified rice milk, almond milk and a bit of full fat coconut milk. Coconut milk contains the same type of saturated fats as breast milk.

    In nature once mammals are weaned they stop drinking milk so why do we continue! Therefore if a toddler eats well and a balanced diet what they drink is not as important.

    I am happy to hear your opinions?

  3. informedmama says:

    Hi Ebony and thanks for your comments on my blog – I appreciate it, even if it took me a while to reply. I am just now getting my blog groove back, so lots more posts are on the way!

    I agree that it is possible for a toddler to get all their required nutrition through foods alone. The drinks that Boy Wonder regularly has are filtered water, freshly pressed juice (not packaged), herbal teas, green smoothies (water based) and fruit smoothies / milkshakes (made on organic milk or homemade almond/rice/coconut etc. milk).

  4. E says:

    what are S&S blood types again? I’m not into dairy at all anymore. I can’t stand milk, yoghurt or ice cream. I only eat a little feta for flavour in some dishes! It’s funny what happens when you listen to your body and eat only what is feels like!

    • informedmama says:

      We had Boy Wonder tested for his blood type but he came out an O, which makes no sense because I’m a B and Informed Papa is A! So I got retested and am definitely a B, now I’m sending the rest of the family down to be retested – maybe Informed Papa is actually an O like his own father? Or maybe we just didn’t get enough of Boy Wonder’s blood in the prick sample. We’ll soon know!

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