Friends and families are usually surprised that C is not drinking formula milk at 18 month old. My mum said I was crazy to offer cow’s milk (I was doing UHT full cream then) and insisted that formula was better. Some commented that it’s the Caucasian way. Some are interested to find why and how. I decided to share with you what made us decide on feeding full cream milk, why it is better, how did we go about doing that.
Disclaimer: There is another camp who does not agree on feeding cow’s milk for various reasons. I am not going into that. This is a sharing on formula, or not, and I have decided on full cream (cow’s) milk for practical reasons. I have also tried goat’s milk but C do not fancy the taste of it. I am also not sponsored by any of the brands and am sharing purely based on my own experience.
In this post, milk refers to fresh or full cream milk, i.e. not powdered formula milk. And by formula, it also refers to toddler milk, follow up milk etc.
Why did we change to full cream milk?
I intended to breastfeed C till she self weans. My milk supply dropped tremendously after I was pregnant (She was 14 months then) and I wasn’t diligent in expressing at work. We resorted to formula to supplement while we look for a better option. While C was on formula, she didn’t quite finish every feed. I would say we wasted about 1/4 of each tin of formula. While we can still afford it at 1 tin per month (she didn’t drink a lot then), formula is expensive and we thought the money wasted could be better spent. Then I found out that some of my friends are actually offering fresh milk for various reasons. Either their babies don’t like formula or they don’t take to bottles etc. So I decided to read up a little more before I finally make the switch. The husband fully supports me and believes that I have done my research.
Why is fresh/full cream milk better?
I wouldn’t say that formula milk is absolutely no good or that it is poison. For toddlers who are generally eating well, there is no need for formula milk. It’s like protein shake. Not entirely bad but there are cleaner and better options to protein intake. It’s also like eating clean vs processed foods. Formula is a marketing gimmick, which is especially prevalent in Asian countries, with the added DHA, prosperous and calcium, which can also be attained from a well balanced diet. Formula milk is also not made from milk itself. WHO also issued a statement that formula is not entirely necessary.
While talking to my ex teacher’s wife, who is a PD, she explained to me in extremely simple terms why go for milk, rather than formula:
- Formula milk is high in sugar, which increase the risk of obesity and dental issues.
- Milk is higher in healthier calories which little children needs
- Offer milk as part of a healthy balanced diet to encourage children to eat more proper food. There is a tendency for parents to give too much milk (and if formula, it is sweet so children would prefers that), which result in children not eating well.
- It is cheaper!!!!
How did I go about doing it?
There are many articles online but I found this article extremely helpful because it tells me what is available in Singapore. I read from many sources that children below 2yo should be given full cream milk because they need the fats to grow. We started with Devondale (made in Australia) UHT full cream milk. UHT full cream is only kind of full cream that I know. Though UHT is not the best option, it is the most common option for full cream milk we can get here in Singapore. There is no need to offer the milk warm but C prefers it warm so we still have to warm up the milk for her. Otherwise, if your child has no sensitive stomach and what not, straight from the fridge is fine. Devondale costs us about SGD2.95 for 2 litres. That could last us about 5 days on the average.
Then came our Australia trip, where there is an abundance of ultra fresh and yummy fresh milk. It was the perfect time to transit her to full fresh milk! Absolutely no formula and we followed the guideline of recommended daily dairy intake. C has her milk at “home” and other dairy options like cheese and yoghurt on the go during the day.
At 19 months, C is on UHT full cream milk for breakfast and milk feeds before nap and bedtime because it soothes her to sleep. We also top up with other dairy options throughout the day, just like we did in Australia.
So what’s next?
Well, now that we are pretty much comfortable with offering milk, we are currently looking for better milk options that are within our budget, which I will be sharing next. Stay tuned!