If you think that formula based on cow’s milk do a young body good, think again. Mother cows produce milk for one reason–to feed their babies. According to Michael Klaper, M.D., nutritional expert and author of Pregnancy, Children, and the Vegan Diet, “Humans are the only creatures that drink milk from the mother of another species.It’s as unnatural for a child to drink milk of a cow as it is for a dog to nurse from a giraffe! Human children have no nutritional requirements for cow’s milk and grow up healthy and strong without it. Cow’s milk and the products made from it are laced with foreign, frequently allergy-inciting bovine protein and often contain hydrocarbon peticides and other chemical contaminants as well as health-endangering saturated fat.”
Giving dairy products to human youngsters is unnatural and unhealthy. Cow’s milk is the number one source of allergies in children, and in research links the consumption of dairy products to colic (stomach cramps), autism, chronic ear infections, acne, obesity, flatulence, constipation, excess mucus, and a variety of other ailments.
Even breastfed babies may develop digestive problems if their mother consume dairy products. In fact a study published by the American Journal of Pediatrics shows that the proteins in cow’s milk are transferred to babies through their mother’s breast milk. Furthermore, they also found that “infants fed whole cow’s milk receive inadequate amounts of vitamin E, iron, essential fatty acids, and excessive amounts of protein, potassium, and sodium.”
The consumption of cow’s milk has also been implicated in the development of diabetes; in fact, more than 90 studies have been devoted to the link between the protein in dairy foods and the development of insulin-dependent diabetes. Scientists suspect that infants’ immune systems produce antibodies that attack the cow’s milk protein because it is foreign to the human body–frighteningly, these antibodies also attack the human pancreas. The damaged pancreas no longer produces insulin; this means that children who have this condition will be required to receive daily shots of insulin for the rest of their lives.
Breast milk, on the other hand, provides all the energy and nutrients that a baby needs. It also contains special proteins, antibodies, and white blood cells that help to protect infants against infections, and it contains growth factors, hormones, and other necessary substances from the mother.
Mothers who breast-feed provide their babies with protection against illness and reduce the risk that their children will experience discomfort and endless crying associated with colic or succumb to sudden death infant syndrome.
The World Health Organization recommends that all babies be breast-fed exclusively for six months and continue to receive their mother’s milk in addition to other foods until they are at least 2 years old.
Milk companies engage in unconscionable advertising campaigns that discourage breast-feeding and foster dependence on a product that many families can’t even afford. As one UNICEF representative said, “These ads have undermined the mothers’ confidence in being able to provide their babies with the perfect food that is also a medicine, immunity booster, IQ enhancer, environment-friendly, and most of all, free.”
Mothers who don’t breast-feed can choose soy-based formula, which is easier on babies’ digestive systems than is cow’s milk, it’s available in powder and liquid form. Switching from dairy formulas to soy-based formulas often eliminates the discomfort, upset stomach, diarrhea and crying caused by cow’s milk. Parents should feel good about giving their children the many nutritious alternatives to dairy products.