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Cow's milk vs formula

  1. #1
    kashismum is offline Registered User
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    Cow's milk vs formula

    I'm sure a definitive answer doesn't exist, but I'm interested in others' opinions.

    Both my children were breastfed for the first year. After that, I introduced cow's milk slowly. I'm now doing that with my son who just turned a year, but my husband is convinced that formula has other 'good stuff' in it that cow's milk doesn't.

    I prefer the idea of cow's milk as it is a more natural substance, but I also worry about the hormones and all the bad stuff you hear.

    Also, neither of my children eat fish as I am allergic, and I hear that some fatty acids/oil only occuring in fish are added to formula.

    I'm confused. My tendency is to stick with cow's milk unless anyone has a compelling argument to the contrary.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    dfair1721 is offline Registered User
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    Formula vs Cows milk

    To give you a quick answer, your husband is right.

    Infant formula is formulated from cows milk (dried out like skim milk powder) and added with many different minerals and vitamins a baby needs during its first year of life. Regular cows milk only has a few minerals and is usually fortified with Vit D as well. We generally switch to cows milk at a year of age as the child is getting all the vitamins and minerals he/she needs from other foods. So if your child is a good eater, they don't necessarily need to remain on formula.

    As for the oils in fish, I think what your husband is talking about are long chain fatty acids from both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. A few years back Formula Companies started adding these long chain fatty acids called DHA and AA, These fatty acids are important for brain development. Research over the years found that these long chain fatty acids in breastmilk and decided to add them to the formula. These long chain fatty acids are generally made in the body from shorter fatty acids called linoleic and linolenic fatty acids. There is still research being done on whether infants produce their own (and if they do how much) DHA and AA from these precursors.

    These precursors and the long chain fatty acids can be found in the "good oils" like olive and canola oils. They are also found in fish and fish oils, avacodos, omega eggs, and many nuts and seeds to name a few.

    So if your child eats a variety of foods, I would say stick with cows milk. Just make sure it is homogenized (3.25% milk fat) and pasturized! I say pasturized because I found some milk being sold in the Park N Shop that was unpasturized!!!

    Hope this helps.

    Denise Fair, MSc, RD
    Last edited by dfair1721; 03-20-2008 at 02:12 PM. Reason: typo

  3. #3
    kashismum is offline Registered User
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    Thanks very much. A comprehensive answer.

  4. #4
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    we kept giving our son formula until he was 2 (will do the same for our daughter) as it was cheaper...for us, that was the deciding factor.

  5. #5
    arleneli is offline Registered User
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    If you are so soncern about the hormon stuff you can try the organic ones. More expensive though.

  6. #6
    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfair1721 View Post
    So if your child eats a variety of foods, I would say stick with cows milk.
    Remember that if your baby is still getting some breast milk - this counts the same as (if not better than) "the baby eats a variety of foods".

    Best wishes,
    SARAH
    La Leche League Leader
    www.lllhk.org

  7. #7
    bekyboo44 is offline Registered User
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    My son was breastfed for ten months, then had follow on milk for two months, and then at 12 mnths we started with cow's milk.

    My son didn't like the follow on milk at all, and it was difficult to get him to drink it. The cow's milk however he loved!
    I would rather give cow's milk...again because of the whole natural argument, versus something that is, in essence, a man made product!

  8. #8
    skittles5510 is offline Registered User
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    Interesting question. I personally would just introduce fresh cow's milk. There's no need in making the transition to formula, and then transitioning again to fresh milk. That's twice the work to me. Yes, formula does have lots of vitamins, and minerals, and other stuff added to it, but they are all manmade!! Your son can be getting these nutrients from real foods instead. And if you continue to breastfeed, even better!

    If you are allergic to fish, it is not the DHA and ARA that's giving you the allergic reaction...it's the proteins in the fish that's making you react to it. (Besides, the DHA and ARA in formula are man-made/synthetic..not taken from the fish). So I think you don't have to worry about that part.

    So my opinion is to stick with cow's milk, especially since you are already doing this.

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