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.