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Starting cow's milk before one year


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  #1  
February 17th, 2010, 05:55 AM
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Is it OK to start weaning from breastmilk or formula before one year?

As we're in that transition now, I found it really interesting how many moms chose to wean their LOs from breastmilk or formula before one year. Yes, some of these women have the OK from their pediatricians, which surprised me, since we've had three pedis all tell us not before one year. So, I suppose that leads to the broader question of how do you feel about conflicting pedi advice?

But in any case, these are the reasons I've seen for weaning before one year:
-my pedi said to do it
-formula is expensive
-baby self-weaned (from the breast)
-I did it with my other kids
-everyone else is doing it
-LO is 11 months, that's close enough
-LO has had cheese and yogurt, so milk is no different
-my parents weaned me at X months, and I was fine
-since I started on cow's milk, LO hasn't shown any problems
-LO is eating plenty of table foods now
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  #2  
February 17th, 2010, 06:07 AM
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I don't see how it is healthy to wean from breast or bottle before a year. Their bodies NEED to eat breastmilk or formula until they are the age of 1, I didn't know people weaned before then...?
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  #3  
February 17th, 2010, 06:11 AM
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I can't remember when we started giving DD milk instead of formula or breastmilk - it was late b/c of her failure to thrive issues. How are they getting the bulk of their nutrition if you (general) wean? Most 1 year olds aren't eating full meals of table food, are they? (I have no idea, we had lots of issues with DD lol).
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  #4  
February 17th, 2010, 06:12 AM
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In Canada it is reccomended between 9-12months old, and only using homo milk. However, our milk is a bit different then the USA's.
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  #5  
February 17th, 2010, 06:17 AM
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I'm in the March PR. Douglas was born February 11. We just started weaning on his birthday. There are LOTS of babies in the PR who are already weaned or weaning, and only half a dozen or so are 1 year old already.

As I wean Douglas, I notice he is eating more at his meals, and he's started wanting more snacks. It's been a gradual process for us. He has always relied on his milk first, then solids - now, it's starting to reverse, but again, gradually for us.
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  #6  
February 17th, 2010, 06:31 AM
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I would never wean my child off of breastmilk or formula before a year. The fats and nutrition in BM and formula are essential in brain development. So there is no way I would take that away from my child even a day early.

All the reasons aren't good enough for me.
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  #7  
February 17th, 2010, 06:48 AM
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we had no choice with DD#1 LOL she refused formula. No matter what she wouldn't drink it. She was eating full meals though so we switched her to whole milk at 10 months. She loved her milk.

DD#2 we started introducing at 9 months. She's still BF, but gets both milk and BM. She also eats full meals.
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  #8  
February 17th, 2010, 07:10 AM
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I wouldn't. cows milk isn't really healthy for anyone. Our bodies aren't really made to digest it. Why stop giving breastmilk to give cows milk? And unless the moms begun the weaning process most breastfed children will not want prior to a year. Even formula would be a better alternative than just cows milk.
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  #9  
February 17th, 2010, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frgsonmysox View Post
I wouldn't. cows milk isn't really healthy for anyone. Our bodies aren't really made to digest it. Why stop giving breastmilk to give cows milk? And unless the moms begun the weaning process most breastfed children will not want prior to a year. Even formula would be a better alternative than just cows milk.
They may 'wean' in the sense that it can be very difficult to get them to return to the breast. In reality it's probably just a nursing strike, but mothers may not know or perceive it as such, and it can still be extremely difficult to work through. For example: my mom BF me for 2 1/2 years (I'm the oldest in the family), so clearly she knew how to do it, right? But when my younger brothers was eight months old, and teething, he bit her while nursing, and she screamed. He freaked out at the sound, and absolutely refused to nurse again after that. She persisted in offering for a while but eventually decided that he must be 'weaning.' What else was she supposed to do? Remember that this was before the internet, so she had probably never even heard of the term 'nursing strike.'

In answer to the original question: I think that we would all do better to listen to our babies, rather than to the advice of our pedis, or to random people on an internet message board. There is natural variation among human infants, and although the vast majority won't want to wean until long AFTER a year, there may be some exceptions. Dr. Sears recommends not even beginning solids until the baby starts 'mooching' -- i.e., trailing your adult food with his eyes, reaching out for it, etc. -- and I definitely agree with this. We started Charlie on solids far too early, because we thought that we were 'supposed' to and that he would be starving if we didn't. He wasn't ready, and even at 13 months, he's still not really into them -- I mean, he'll mess around with them a little bit, play, maybe eat a few bites at different times (especially with Cheerios), but by and large he is still very much a milky boy. If, on the other hand, you have an 11-month old baby who seems bored with nursing, refuses a bottle, yet is ravenous about solids -- then that may be his way of telling you that he's ready to move on. Listen to him, not us.
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  #10  
February 17th, 2010, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frgsonmysox View Post
I wouldn't. cows milk isn't really healthy for anyone. Our bodies aren't really made to digest it. Why stop giving breastmilk to give cows milk? And unless the moms begun the weaning process most breastfed children will not want prior to a year. Even formula would be a better alternative than just cows milk.
I respect your opinion re cow's milk. I personally have no problem with it. I love milk. As for BF children self-weaning, I'm an exclusive pumper because Douglas was a preemie. I did it for a year, and I just can't anymore. It's time. DH and I eat well balanced meals and are healthy and fit, and I'm confident that Douglas will get adequate nutrition from solids and cow's milk.
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  #11  
February 17th, 2010, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frgsonmysox View Post
I wouldn't. cows milk isn't really healthy for anyone. Our bodies aren't really made to digest it. Why stop giving breastmilk to give cows milk? And unless the moms begun the weaning process most breastfed children will not want prior to a year. Even formula would be a better alternative than just cows milk.
Yea I gotta ditto this. Cows milk is nasty. The boys I watch have been "cut down" to 4-5 sippy cups each of Vit D milk a day. She has instructed me to only give them 2 cups each a day, 3 if they are really thirsty. I give them their milk as requested by mom, but I try to get them to drink water too.
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  #12  
February 17th, 2010, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brui77 View Post
In answer to the original question: I think that we would all do better to listen to our babies, rather than to the advice of our pedis, or to random people on an internet message board. There is natural variation among human infants, and although the vast majority won't want to wean until long AFTER a year, there may be some exceptions. Dr. Sears recommends not even beginning solids until the baby starts 'mooching' -- i.e., trailing your adult food with his eyes, reaching out for it, etc. -- and I definitely agree with this.
This is a very good point. I think it should be a balance, but tempered with pedi's advice when it could potentially be detrimental to the child, i.e. not getting the right nutrients at the right age. One pedi said to start solids at 4 months chronological with Douglas, but I felt that was way too early for *him* She had no problem with delaying, because delaying wouldn't potentially harm him. The next said start at 6 months chronological, but he still wasn't 'mooching' as you say - we ended up waiting until 7 months when *he* showed interest.
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  #13  
February 17th, 2010, 07:23 AM
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I don't think anything magical happens when they turn a year old and all the sudden they can have whole milk...I wouldn't see a difference in giving it to her a day or two before her 1st birthday and a day after her birthday. She's not going to spontaneously change when she wakes up and is a year old.

Now, I wouldn't give her milk months before her birthday. I started giving her milk at 11 months old, very very gradually. She's 1 year 2 weeks old now and is fully on whole milk.
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  #14  
February 17th, 2010, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Chloe'sMommy View Post
I don't think anything magical happens when they turn a year old and all the sudden they can have whole milk...I wouldn't see a difference in giving it to her a day or two before her 1st birthday and a day after her birthday. She's not going to spontaneously change when she wakes up and is a year old.

Now, I wouldn't give her milk months before her birthday. I started giving her milk at 11 months old, very very gradually. She's 1 year 2 weeks old now and is fully on whole milk.
I don't find the "harm" in giving them cows milk before a year of age (close to their birthday like you've done), however I do not see how it is healthy to only give them cows milk (no breastmilk or formula) before a year of age because their bodies need the nutrients and whatnot that are in breastmilk and formula.
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  #15  
February 17th, 2010, 07:27 AM
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I had to pump with the oldest and then swiched to a mixture of BM/formula. Around 11 months old he started refusing the formula (and I was out of milk by then). He had already been off the bottle for 4-6 weeks. He would drink water or whole milk though. Left with the option of some fluids or none, we went with the whole milk.

Our younger son was BF until 10 month or so. Then he was more interested in his cup at meal times than BFing. The only time he would want to sit still long enough to BF was right beore bed. But, since I have great luck with the pump he was getting BM t meal times until he was 13-14 months old.

Both boys were great eaters early on and would get so mad when we were eating and they weren't offered anything. They would pretty much eat anything you put in front of them.
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  #16  
February 17th, 2010, 07:29 AM
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I wouldn't get all up in arms if the babe is like 11 months and eating a variety of foods, but what's the rush? The only reason I could see is a situation where the babe is refusing formula or breast milk, but I would first try other alternatives like seeing if they'd take a toddler formula (I remember getting samples when ds was a baby, and tasted much better than infant formula; sort of like a vanilla shake), or diluting cow's milk with breast milk or formula. Granted, my kids barely drink cow's milk at all, so I'm not accustomed to relying on it for nutrition at any age.
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  #17  
February 17th, 2010, 07:33 AM
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I think what is perhaps going on for those who wean early, for example, is that moms are offering table foods/solids *first* then offering milk. So baby is starting to rely on solids before formula/breastmilk. The question is, *when* is that switch to offer solids first appropriate? We were told (by our pedi, haha) to always offer BM/formula first until one year.

(And for the sake of argument, I'm not talking a mere difference of a few days - we're talking weeks/months and eliminating BM/formula altogether before one year)
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  #18  
February 17th, 2010, 07:33 AM
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I'd prefer the child drinking goats milk above cows. Goats milk is the closest to breastmilk.
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  #19  
February 17th, 2010, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frugal Abundance View Post
I wouldn't get all up in arms if the babe is like 11 months and eating a variety of foods, but what's the rush? The only reason I could see is a situation where the babe is refusing formula or breast milk, but I would first try other alternatives like seeing if they'd take a toddler formula (I remember getting samples when ds was a baby, and tasted much better than infant formula; sort of like a vanilla shake), or diluting cow's milk with breast milk or formula. Granted, my kids barely drink cow's milk at all, so I'm not accustomed to relying on it for nutrition at any age.
Agreed. It does happen - some babies will refuse BM/formula. But is that just a natural thing for those babies, or because they are being offered solids first? How do we know that our actions are not the ones responsible for that baby-led weaning?
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  #20  
February 17th, 2010, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalFan View Post
I think what is perhaps going on for those who wean early, for example, is that moms are offering table foods/solids *first* then offering milk. So baby is starting to rely on solids before formula/breastmilk. The question is, *when* is that switch to offer solids first appropriate? We were told (by our pedi, haha) to always offer BM/formula first until one year.

(And for the sake of argument, I'm not talking a mere difference of a few days - we're talking weeks/months and eliminating BM/formula altogether before one year)

I never offered first or after. I nursed when my child wanted to nurse, which was pretty much all the time. We didn't do schedules or anything like that. David weaned because my milk supply dropped when I got pregnant and he wasn't interested in an empty breast. Anastasia weaned at 3.5 years because she wanted baby Charlie to come first so more milk would come, lol.
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