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Thursday, February 7, 2013

What Milk to Give?

I can no longer count how many times I have received this question via blog comment, email or text:  What milk should I give my child?  If you are a regular reader of this blog, you would know my stand that toddlers do not need to be given formula milk.  I further expounded on this here.

So next question: does my toddler need regular milk?  Well, this depends per family.  Some families are dairy-free ergo totally no milk or they make their own milk from nuts, rice, etc.  Perhaps it is the Western influence on us and the brainwashing made on our doctors with Western education — we are made to believe that milk is an essential part of a balanced diet.  However, if you read Dr. Sears, milk is not really necessary but we give it because it is an easy source of calcium, protein, fats and Vitamin D (if fortified).  There are other sources of these nutrients and you can choose to give these instead of milk.

However, if you decide to give milk to your child, there is nothing wrong with this.  In my family, we drink milk.  My husband uses milk in his coffee, I use milk in my tablea while N enjoys milk with her cereal.  But N doesn't drink milk regularly and I don't stress about that.  She gets calcium from oranges, tofu, spinach, etc. There are other sources of calcium — google "calcium sources" and you will find a lot of resources enumerating these.

In the comments section of my post Formula Milk for Toddlers, I received a lot of questions about brands, chocolate milk, etc. and I thought that the number of times that I have replied to the same question over and over again has made it worthy of a blog post.  Next time I get the same question, I can just send them this link :D

What milk should I give my toddler?
You can give animal milk (carabao, goat, cow) or non-animal milk (rice, hemp, soy, almond, hazelnut) to your child.  Let me clarify.  The best milk that works for each child varies from child to child.  For all I know, your child may have a soy allergy — so of course, do not give soy to your child.  Or your child may be lactose intolerant — so don't give those animal milks to your child and give rice, etc. milk instead.  Please do your research.  I do not know your family's medical history.  So it is up to you to research and talk to your doctor.  Be an intelligent patient.  Do your research before visiting your doctor so you can ask intelligent questions and challenge conventional thinking.

What brand should I give? Bottled or Tetra?
My sister uses Bodum glass bottles. I'm cheap - I purchased
my glass bottles from SM Department Store. 
Ah... I do not endorse any brand.  But please know that I support the Nestle boycott so definitely no Nestle products for my family.  I really prefer the bottled milk but I know that this is not always easy to find so we also purchase tetrapacks.  But the danger with milk in tetras is that you're not sure what's inside the box.  Some things to get past quality control and even if it is 1 in a million, you don't want to be that "1".
So when we do buy tetrapacks, we pour them into glass bottles before storing in the refrigerator.

Brand? We have been using Alaska hi-calcium low fat milk.  I used to purchase Cowhead but it is more expensive.  My sister uses Meadow Fresh - but this brand is not readily available in the grocery I patronize.
my milk of choice
But if I get the chance, I prefer to buy the bottled milk.  So what brands?  No specific brand but I am sharing with you some local brands that I have tried and where you can buy them.  Note: for goat's milk, I have only tried Mr. Moo and Milk Star.  We haven't tried Leon Philippe, Nubies or Aussie brands.

Holly's Milk (cow) - or
Rizal Dairy Farms (cow) -
Hacienda Macalauan (cow) - or  This used to be packed in bottles.  However, they switched to boxes.  There have also been complaints about how the milk easily spoils - even before expiry date.  Since this is readily available in supermarkets, it could also be because of improper handling by their retailers.
Mr. Moo (cow, carabao, goat) - Tagaytay 0922-8774085 and Silang 0922-8774083.  They also have a branch in South Supermarket, Alabang
Milk Man (cow) - - delivers milk in 2-liter jugs
Milk Star (goat) -
Leon Philippe (goat) -
Nubies (goat) - 09178989475
Aussie (goat) - or 0918-9080-488 or 0922-8181-488

How about chocolate milk? Milo, Ovaltine are still considered formula milk - they are powdered milk with added sugar.  I do give N bottled chocolate milk but we mix it with regular milk to lessen the sweetness.  I also don't let her drink it regularly because we don't want her to equate milk with chocolate.

Here's another tip:
Did you know that milk manufacturers recommend that we consume the tetrapack milk within 3 days from opening the box? Same with the milk that we transfer in bottles.  If you can't finish the milk, store them in 2 smaller glass containers and keep the bottles at the back of the refrigerator.  That way, you only bring out a smaller portion of milk each time you need to use it.  The other bottle will keep longer since the temperature won't change as often.

Milk should not be made as a replacement for meals to feed your child.  As parents, it is our duty to help our child gain healthy eating skills.  I was sad to hear my yaya share about how one of my daughter's classmates just drinks milk for dinner because she ends up being tired from her tutoring class and has no more strength to eat dinner (when she gets home).  Milk becomes a replacement for meals and this should not be so.  Neither is this common refrain excusable that — "it is okay your child won't eat, just let him drink milk."  I agree with not forcing your child to eat but please don't make milk as the meal replacement.

More questions? Concerns? Leave a comment!

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