Cows milk or an alternative milk.
What do you use?
It is a HOT topic with LOTS of opinions.
I was unsure which one to give my daughter once we transitioned from breastfeeding.
We were able to breastfeed for the first year of her life, which was a goal of mine upon having Mary Virginia. I realize that not everyone is able to or wants to breastfeed this long, so I was thankful I could. But I was ready to transition after she turned a year so I started researching what type of milk to give her (if any!).
I debated long and hard. I talked to other mothers. I talked to my pediatrician (whom I love). I spent hours reading books by pediatricians and blogs of mommas I respected. I got different opinions from numerous and trusted sources. In the end, I had to go with my gut and what worked for my family.
In our house, we really don’t drink or eat much dairy. We will occasionally add cheese to our salads and ghee to some recipes, but that is about it. I use nut milk for our oatmeal and coconut oil for baking/cooking. Neither my husband or I drink any kind of milk. It is just not our preference.
The other part of the debate was making sure she got proper nutrients as we transition. Breastmilk has pretty much everything she needed through that first year so when we added real food, it was more for her exploration and development than it was getting proper nutrients. The main nutrients she would get from cows milk would be calcium, Vitamin D and protein. I knew I could give her those nutrients from other sources. She loves any type of protein from lentils to tuna. She loves most greens, from raw spinach to cooked broccoli, which are good sources of calcium. I give her a Vitamin D supplement every day and make sure she gets exposed to a little sun every day.
Therefore, I decided we would stick to limited dairy for Mary Virginia. I have introduced her to full fat, grass-fed, organic, local (yes, all of those!) yogurt, but she hasn’t been interested. I give her the occasional piece of cheese, which I use raw cheddar or goat cheddar. I put organic unsweetened almond milk in her oatmeal.
After much research and debate, I concluded to use homemade almond milk to transition her from breastmilk.
Why homemade? Again, after studying many food labels in several grocery stores, I found that even organic nut milks have more ingredients than I felt comfortable giving my little girl during the transition. I had been thinking of making my own, and those labels sealed the deal.
And much to my surprise, making almond milk is SIMPLE and EASY. I really enjoy making it for my family because I can whip it up in no time. I just make sure I always have the ingredients (organic almonds and filtered water) on hand.
The only part that takes a bit of time is sprouting the almonds. Sprouting is important as it makes the nut easier to digest and so our bodies can access all the nutrients. The nice part about sprouting is it requires minimal work on my part. I just dump almonds and filtered water together and let it sit for 12 hours. Then they are ready to blend into milk!
I’ve outlined the step-by-step process below.
Mary Virginia has transitioned well with the almond milk. We have only used it at bedtime, and honestly, she has become less and less interested in it. I hear that can be a good thing when the time comes for potty training!
I respect whatever any momma decides is best for their family. I have watched many children thrive on various types of milk. This is what I decided is best for my family, but know that I respect what you or someone you know decides is best for theirs.
If you have any questions regarding my thoughts or opinion, feel free to reach out to me here. I know as momma’s there are so many decisions to make for your little one so if I can help in any way, I would love that. I know I need it!
Homemade Almond Milk SAVE RECIPE
1 cup organic almonds (sprouted)
4 cups filtered water
1. For sprouted almonds, cover 1 cup almonds with filtered water in a bowl and let sit for 12 hours.
2. Once sprouted, strain water from almonds and rinse.
3. Blend almonds with 4 cups of fresh filtered water (do not use water from sprouting process) in high powered blender until smooth. *Note: it will not be perfectly smooth as there will be almond pulp floating in the milk.
4. Strain the liquid in cheesecloth or milk bag (I prefer milk bag as it catches most all of the almond pulp) into a bowl.
5. Pour milk into a glass jar and store for 4 - 5 days.