Friday, July 29, 2011

Question from a reader: Milk for an 11-month-old?

A reader asked a question in the comments section of a recent post, and since I don't know the answer I thought I would throw it out there in case anyone has some advice.

What do you suggest for milk for an 11-month-old? I have only just leared about Paleo in the last couple weeks and my husband and I are both following it now pretty strictly. I was only able to breastfeed for a month (no milk came in despite a lot of effort) and then my daughter was fed formula. Now she has rejected drinking formula and before knowing about paleo we put her on homogenized milk. She does eat solid foods, but very slowly so her intake is quite low. Milk is still the majority of her daily calories for sure. Is there an alternative to homogenized milk you would suggest? I hear some people say goats milk and others saw raw dairy milk? 

Great question! Does anyone out there have an answer for her? Please chime in!


  1. I weaned my twins at 15 months onto raw cow milk and some goat's milk and they did well. Good luck!

  2. In an ideal world, you'd wean her off the milk ASAP and get her eating solid Paleo foods with lots and lots of fat (avocado, coconut milk, grass-fed butter, etc.), but at 11 months, as you've mentioned, it's not quite developmentally feasible for her to efficiently get enough calories from solids alone. But that will change over the next few months! :)

    As long as she's showing no signs of sensitivity to dairy, you're probably fine continuing the milk for now, but make sure it's organic (and if possible, grass-fed), and see if you can find non-homogenized full fat milk (the kind where the cream sits on top - it's generally sold in the old fashioned glass jars). Without getting into a long explanation, the homogenization process makes the product more shelf-stable, but also causes problems from a nutritional/health standpoint. Here in Vancouver, we can buy that at Whole Foods. I would personally feed a child raw milk dairy if we could get our hands on it (sadly, it's illegal here), but that's definitely something you have to do your own research on and make sure you are comfortable with the dairy's cleanliness and handling practices.

    As a final note, cow's milk does not contain the same nutrient profile as breast milk, nor are the nutrients as bioavailable to a human as they are to a cow, so make sure she is getting plenty of Vitamin D (D Drops are super easy to give to babies, fish oils (liquid form is generally better quality and can be mixed in with food or milk) and iron.

  3. I think Switching her on fresh, raw cow or goats milk is the best option. If you can't do that, then try to find a pasteurized non homogenized milk and then re-culture it with buttermilk or kefir. Look for heritage breed cows like Jersey or Guernsey for better digestibility. Holstein is often harder to digest. Another thing you can do is make sure she gets a few servings of grassfed beef, lamb, or chicken liver a week, and lots and lots of coconut milk and oil. Cod liver oil is another great whole food supplement for growing babies.

  4. Oh and one more thing. Try to buy some grassfed butter. I sneak it in to everything my little one eats. I melt it in to berries, veggies, and meat. It's going to be the best food source of k-2 (mk-4) your little one gets. Especially since she/he isn't breastfeeding. I really don't think strict Robb Wolff style paleo is necessary for young children unless they are intolerant or they are showing gut syndrome signs like ADHD, autism, etc. Natural grassfed dairy is very nutrient dense and wonderful for growing babies. Don't discount it because you're trying to follow strict rules. Mark Sisson and Kurt Harris both think dairy is fine, so it's really up to you to follow whatever paleo "guru" you choose, or to figure it out for yourself.

  5. I had great luck with meyersburg powdered goats milk. Very convinent and my daughter thrived on it. Her excema even went away. I would be nervous of a raw milk product because an 11 month old immune system is so immature, but thats just my opinion. Goats milk is much closer to breastmilk, i believe.

  6. What do you guys think about substituting Trader Joe's Coconut milk? I am a non-diary paleo mommy and my daughter is turning one this week and has been without breastmilk for 3 days. I have a feeling she will be lactose intolerant because both I and my hubby are. The Coconut Milk is fortified with several vitamins. Please help me out because it's hard to hear the right advice for a milk-free baby.


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