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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Fresh Milk vs Follow-on Milk Formula: a letter of concern

Dear Moms, Dads, Grandparents, In-laws, Relatives and friends,

**Disclosure: (Note: This is assuming your baby is ready for solids, is about a year old and can start taking in more complex foods in his/her diet. This discussion would normally happen around one-year old.)

I would want to directly address the issue in your heads on why fresh milk in general versus formula or follow-on milk formula.

Before anything, if I were you, I would just move slowly to giving your baby nutritious foods and slowly take out the dependencies in milk (called Tamang Kain or Complementary Feeding). Continued breastmilk supplementation is the most recommended approach but will start to take a “back-seat” versus nutritious foods. Breastmilk will also start lessening due to lesser latch/intake when your baby starts solids. Do not be discouraged because of this. It’s the move for your body to slowly adjust again.

You can give milk but not totally have it as the sole source of nutrition unlike when your baby was still a newborn, wherein breastmilk is the only source of nourishment. At 1 year old, solid nutritious foods start becoming important. The best option is to continue giving breastmilk. Kasi it is the best and cow's milk unnecessarily burdens your kid's digestive system.

I inserted slides from last year's Breastfeeding Congress that I find enlightening...from sugar contents in formula milk, Cow's milk properties, WHO feeding recommendation, bacteria in formula, etc. Do you know that in making formula (follow-on or newborn types) milk, you would need to put boiling water in it to kill any possible bacteria? If that is the case, you couldn't give that milk to your baby immediately. Also, you cannot have it pre-made too early as per the directions.

It has already be confirmed milk cans like the US has gone through recalls and let us not forget the Melamine Scandal in China. 

On formula versus fresh milk, I would rather have fresh since it is "fresh" versus having a "artificial concoction" be fed to my children. There studies that show that although formula milk companies try to have all the vitamins and minerals needed be placed in their milk, not all gets absorbed by our children and even if they get absorbed, the dose are not what is normal especially if the child is milk dependent. The sugar content is another thing.

For cow's milk, it has been traced to cause "decalcification" of one's bones - leading to osteoporosis!

I have to add that dairy is more phlegm-inducing so I switched my son to nut-based milk (i.e. hazelnut, almond milk, etc) to have him feel better and not get sick easily. My son still takes some cows milk when we are out in parties, dairy products, some yoghurt, etc but it is not on an everyday basis. He used to use cow's milk to avoid having to eat his food and since cow's milk takes longer to digest, he skips meals and we do have bad fights on eating habits. So, in general, if anyone at home is coming down with anything, dairy is (and will be) the first thing to be taken out of his/her diet.

Just a summary of milk importance:-
  1. Breastmilk
  2. Plant-based (in my case, nut-based) milk due to it being more nutritious and easier to be digested by the body
  3. Goat’s or Carabao’s milk: the former is closer to human breast milk than other animal milk being offered in the market (there are other mammalian milk but we do not “get their milk for consumption), can cause nose-bleeds for some due to the Chinese saying of “too much heat”, can be phlegm inducing also.
  4. Fresh cow’s milk: go for the organic ones so as to avoid have pesticides, hormones and antibiotics and not overly processed (phlegm inducing in our family's case).
  5. Formula Milk : This is the last option because formula feeding is associated with so many risks. You can check this
Let me know if I missed out on any questions you have.
It would encourage you to join Breastfeeding Pinays and Baby Led Weaning Philippines, both on Facebook to help you find answers that you are looking for. Those forums are quite active and would benefit you and your family with the proper support, information and mom-based experiences.

from a concerned parent, lactation educator and peer counselor

****Note: powerpoint slides taken from 2014 Philippine Breastfeeding Congress