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Question about extended BF

Posted by on Mar. 30, 2013 at 9:43 AM
  • 12 Replies
I always heard Toddlers need the fat in whole milk for brain development. Does bm have more fat?
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by on Mar. 30, 2013 at 9:43 AM
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by on Mar. 30, 2013 at 9:59 AM

No, cow milk has more fat, but it is not as easily digestible by human babies/children/adults, therefore the extra fat does not help much. Human milk has enough fat for human babies and it is used efficiently.

by Bronze Member on Mar. 30, 2013 at 10:02 AM

They can drink either one, provided the toddler in question has no allergies to cow's milk.  Both my toddlers drank both, often in the same day.  YDD drinks maybe 2 oz of cow's milk and the rest she gets from the tap, so to speak.  She nurses about 5x/day.  They're not old enough for me to tell whether it's going to work out in the long run, though.  Maybe in 10-15 years, I'll know for sure.

by on Mar. 30, 2013 at 10:22 AM
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Breastmilk will always be superior to any other milk. No one needs cows milk, ever. If a toddler is still nursing, they're getting what they need from breastmilk. :)
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by Kyla on Mar. 30, 2013 at 10:35 AM
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The fat in cows milk is very inferior to human milk.
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by Miranda on Mar. 30, 2013 at 10:46 AM
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What they said! ^ cows milk is never needed. 

by on Mar. 30, 2013 at 10:59 AM
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It wouldn't make much sense if human babies/children were designed to "need" another animal's breastmilk! Lol. Of course human breastmilk has plenty of needed fat!! Babies under 12 months have an even greater need for fat than a child over 1 and obviously human breastmilk meets those needs, it doesn't change after the birthday :)
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by on Mar. 30, 2013 at 12:22 PM


Breastfeeding contributes to your child’s NUTRITION

  • Although there has been little research done on children who breastfeed beyond the age of two, the available information indicates that breastfeeding continues to be a valuable source of nutrition and disease protection for as long as breastfeeding continues.
  • “Human milk expressed by mothers who have been lactating for >1 year has significantly increased fat and energy contents, compared with milk expressed by women who have been lactating for shorter periods. During prolonged lactation, the fat energy contribution of breast milk to the infant diet might be significant.”
    – Mandel 2005
  • In a study of 250 toddlers in western Kenya, breastmilk provided, on average, 32% of the child’s total energy intake. “Breast milk made an important contribution to the fat and vitamin A intakes of toddlers in this community.”
    – Onyango 2002
  • “Breast milk continues to provide substantial amounts of key nutrients well beyond the first year of life, especially protein, fat, and most vitamins.”
    – Dewey 2001
  • In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:
    • 29% of energy requirements
    • 43% of protein requirements
    • 36% of calcium requirements
    • 75% of vitamin A requirements
    • 76% of folate requirements
    • 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
    • 60% of vitamin C requirements

    – Dewey 2001

  • Studies done in rural Bangladesh have shown that breastmilk continues to be an important source of vitamin A in the second and third year of life.
    – Persson 1998
  • It’s not uncommon for weaning to be recommended for toddlers who are eating few solids. However, this recommendation is not supported by research. Research does indicate that in situations where breastfed toddlers have an increased risk of malnutrition, this appears to be due to inadequate complementary feeding or reverse causality (the mother is more likely to continue breastfeeding a child who is ill or growing poorly). In one study of 250 toddlers in Kenya, solid food intake increased after weaning, but not enough to replace all the fat, vitamin A, and niacin that the child had been getting via breastfeeding (Onyango 2002).  According to Sally Kneidel in “Nursing Beyond One Year” (New Beginnings, Vol. 6 No. 4, July-August 1990, pp. 99-103.):  Some doctors may feel that nursing will interfere with a child’s appetite for other foods. Yet there has been no documentation that nursing children are more likely than weaned children to refuse supplementary foods. In fact, most researchers in Third World countries, where a malnourished toddler’s appetite may be of critical importance, recommend continued nursing for even the severely malnourished (Briend et al, 1988; Rhode, 1988; Shattock and Stephens, 1975; Whitehead, 1985). Most suggest helping the malnourished older nursing child not by weaning but by supplementing the mother’s diet to improve the nutritional quality of her milk (Ahn and MacLean. 1980; Jelliffe and Jelliffe, 1978) and by offering the child more varied and more palatable foods to improve his or her appetite (Rohde, 1988; Tangermann, 1988; Underwood, 1985).

Cow’s milk?

Many nursing moms are told that they must introduce cow’s milk at a year. Your nursing toddler is already getting the best milk he can get – mother’s milk! Breastmilk has a higher fat content than whole cow’s milk (needed for baby’s brain growth), and all the nutrients of human milk are significantly more bioavailable than those of cow’s milk because it is species specific (not to mention all the components of mother’s milk that are not present in cow’s milk).

There is no need to add cow’s milk to your toddler’s diet (or the equivalent nutrients from other milks or foods) as long as your baby is nursing at least 3-4 times per day. Cow’s milk is really just a convenient source of calcium, protein, fats, vitamin D, etc. – it’s not required. There are many people in many parts of the world who do not drink milk and still manage to get all the calcium, protein, fats, vitamin D, etc. that they need.

  • Good non-dairy sources of protein include meats, fish, peas & beans (chick peas, lentils, baked beans, etc.), tofu and other soy products, boiled eggs, peanut and other nut butters (if your child is not allergic).
  • Good non-dairy sources of fats include soy and safflower oils, flax seed and flax seed oil, walnuts, fish and fish oils, avocado. Adding fats to cooking and baking can work well, for example, stir fry in safflower oil or make mini-muffins with soy or rice milk, oil or butter, and eggs.
  • Calcium may be derived from many nondairy sources.
  • Vitamin D can be supplied by sunlight exposure and food sources.
  • If your child is not nursing regularly and is not allergic to cow’s milk products, but simply doesn’t like cow’s milk, you can incorporate milk into your child’s diet in other ways. Many children like cheese, whole-fat yogurt or ice cream. You can also put milk into various food products: pancakes, waffles, muffins, French toast, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, and baked goods.
  • Some moms wish to offer cow’s milk to their toddler, but baby doesn’t like it. Over the age of 12 months, milk becomes a more minor part of a child’s diet. It is sometimes helpful to mix increasing amounts of cow’s milk with your expressed milk to help baby get used to the taste. Many dietitians see nothing wrong with adding some flavor (such as strawberry or chocolate) to cow’s milk.

Pediatricians now recommend that any cow’s milk be whole milk from a cup after the first year and until the child is at least 2 years of age. This ensures that your child receives enough fat, which is essential to proper brain development. After the age of two, if growth is good, you can switch to low-fat or nonfat milk. Note: If your child is nursing, then remember that mom’s milk is “whole” milk – the more breastmilk your child gets, the less need to worry about your child getting additional fat from whole milk or other sources.

It’s best to limit the amount of cow’s milk that your child receives to 2-3 cups (16-24 ounces) per day, since too much cow’s milk in a child’s diet can put him at risk for iron-deficiency anemia (because cow’s milk can interfere with the absorption of iron) and may decrease the child’s desire for other foods.

by on Mar. 30, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Quoting Analugojana:

No, cow milk has more fat, but it is not as easily digestible by human babies/children/adults, therefore the extra fat does not help much. Human milk has enough fat for human babies and it is used efficiently.

Actually, breastmilk has a higher fat content. this is true at all ages, but in the later stages of lactation, the fat content actually increases.


Calorie and fat content of various milks

Type of milkCalorie content*
(kcal per ounce)
Fat content
(grams per ounce)
human milk22 (average)†1.2 (average)†
infant formula201.06
cow milk (whole)191.00
cow milk (2%)150.62
cow milk (1%)120.31
cow milk (fat-free)100.00
goat milk180.90
soy milk180.50
soy milk (reduced fat)120.25
rice milk (unflavored)150.25

* Rounded to the nearest kcal
† See What affects the amount of fat or calories in mom’s milk?

by on Mar. 30, 2013 at 12:34 PM
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If that were true my two dairy allergic kiddos would be in serious developmental trouble lol.  Children need FAT for brain development.  Fats can be found in LOTS of foods- oils, avocado, fish, etc, and breastmilk is the absolute best source of fats.

by on Mar. 30, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Human breastmilk for human babies and toddlers is superior to any other food.

Nothing else is required.


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