I am not a cow. And my children are not baby calves. So why would I give them cow’s milk? Although I already did a post on what milk to give a child at one-year of age, I am working on transitioning my baby from a bottle to a cup full-time and read some research this morning that I wanted to share.
- Iron deficiency most commonly affects 9- to 24-month-olds. The cause? Too much cow’s milk, which not only contains less iron than many other foods your child should be eating, but also makes it difficult for little bodies to absorb iron. (For more on this, see my post on the dangers of dairy)
- A recent study in The Journal of Pediatrics found 23 percent of children who’d still used bottles at age 2 were obese by the time they were 5.5 years old. Why? Bottle-fed kids take in more calories from cow’s milk than cup-users do. Daily, 1- to 2-year-olds need 900 to 1,000 calories, including just 16 ounces of milk. Bottle-feeders generally drink twice that much milk daily. That’s 600 calories from milk alone!
There’s a reason kids are becoming overweight and unhealthy as a result of drinking cow’s milk–they’re not supposed to drink it! It is unnatural–their bodies are biologically incompatible. I recently watched a lecture called “Truth or Dairy” by Dr. John McDougall. One of the most striking parts of the lecture for me was when he showed a chart detailing the different protein contents of animal milk and the corresponding growth rates for their young. Human breast milk contains 1.2 grams of protein for every 100 grams of milk. Humans have a very slow growth rate, doubling in size in about six months, and reaching adult size in 14-17 years. Contrast that with cows–cow’s milk has 3.3 grams of protein for every 100 grams of milk and calves double in size in just 47 days. Human breast milk contains 45 mg calcium/100 cal of milk, whereas cow’s milk contains 194 mg/100 cal of milk.
An animal’s milk is perfectly and specifically designed for its species growth and well-being. WHY do humans persist in consuming milk that is not only wrong for them, it’s harmful to their bodies, especially children? Parents give it to their kids thinking they are helping them become “big and strong.” Unfortunately, they may be right about the “big” part, since it causes unnatural growth and increases risk of cancer down the road. It also increases risk of type 1 diabetes in kids and contributes to asthma, ear infections, runny noses, and constipation.
Let’s remember what species we are and nourish our young appropriately.