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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Do toddlers still need to be given formula milk?! (a.k.a Breastmilk v. Formula)

Recently, the issue of the hazards of cow's milk (including formula) cropped up in my peer counselor group and another local mother's group I'm part of. One of the moms was worried about the effects of formula milk (or hormonized cow's milk, as she calls it) that her daughter was taking. Her pediatrician had patients who were menstruating at 4 and 7 years old - and the pediatrician thought it was because of the milk they were taking (the mom required the child to take 8 glasses to make up for the low food intake). Meanwhile, another mom (who continued to breastfeeding her 18 month old baby - yay! :D) was worried that her toddler was not getting all the required vitamins and minerals - she had been bombarded with the commercials for formula milk (and we have plenty!! DHA? ARA? +7 IQ points?).
During the Milk Code Forum I attended last Saturday, one of the presenters, Judy, had a terrific presentation on the story of milk. She emphasized that because of the great demand for milk, dairy farmers are doing everything to boost their cows' milk production - by adding hormones which for sure eventually ends up in the milk that we drink. Judy also shared that even if companies say that they've tested the milk for contaminants and did not find any, there are other contaminants not being tested or detected! There are about 60 or more chemicals/medicines injected into cows but only the presence of 6 (in the end-milk product) is being tested. And this is only for the regular milk! Formula milk undergoes more processing for it to be converted into milk "suitable" for babies. To mimic breast milk, milk companies then add synthetic DHA and ARA (from cultured algae, etc.) to the powdered milk. The formula milk is exposed to more contamination risks (BPA, melamine, salmonella, etc.) during the processing, canning and preparation process. No wonder our generation's hormones are totally whacked out - with menstruation even starting at age 4!!!
In my response to the breastfeeding toddler's mom, I shared how milk companies earn P42B from Filipino consumers which is why they spend P1B in marketing their products. I got those figures during the Milk Code Forum from Nanay Ines of Arugaan. Obviously, each milk company wants to get the biggest chunk of that P42B pie - which is why they are aggressively (and unethically) marketing their products.
With the passage of the Milk Code's revised rules and regulations, milk companies recognized that they can no longer actively market products targeted for babies below 1 year old, to preserve their "good image". The superiority of breast milk of formula has been settled and established. Detailed comparisons are available here and here.
There is even a downloadable brochure of stacked blocks which show how far away formula milk is from breast milk, particularly in terms of nutritional content. So, they directed their attention to older babies.

To be continued... Part 2.


rowie said...

Wow this is really interesting. I'll link to these posts, okay? :)

Melodie said...

Wow! This is incredible important information. Is The Phillippines the only country that has this kind of "formula milk?" I have never heard of this before. Or has my head just been in the sand?
I never introduced cow's milk to either of my girls because 1. They were still nursing like fiends and 2. I don't really believe in the nutritional value of milk. I believe that it is an unecessary "food" for all people, regardless of age. I'm not vegan, although I have been in the past, but I do have concerns about dairy foods in general and I have no regret that my kids don't drink milk. They aren't missing anything.

Melodie said...

By the way, did you know that this post generated Google formula ads on your site as well as a large photo ad for formula at the bottom? Just thought you should be aware. There is a way to block them if you want to.

AEC said...

Hi Jenny, I'll post this on my blog, if you don't mind. I've been telling everyone who will listen to me what you have shared. :) Hope this information will reach a lot of people & realize what these milk companies are doing--just MILK us out of our hard-earned money.

Dhang M. Mempin said...

informative but saddening...for parents just like me who may want to give breast milk to their toddlers but have no more natural capacity to give anymore. And what should we do? go for the breast milk of other women??? and how sure can we be that they are much safer that the formula milks???

Jenny said...

Dhang, if your baby is a toddler already e.g. beyond 12 months, you can give him regular fresh milk and not other women's breast milk or formula milk. regular fresh milk (cow, goat, carabao etc) is healthier for your child than the sugar laden formula milk.

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