All About Milk

by jessicaturner on June 15, 2009

Elias is almost completely weaned. I am nursing just a couple days a week now. I expected to be done this last week, but with Elias’s ear infection, he was extra clingy, so continuing to nurse seemed like the right thing to do. I thought the can of formula I bought last weekend would be our last can, but I think I will be buying one or two more before transitioning to whole milk. (Update: our pediatrician says it is fine to switch to whole milk at 10-11 months, especially if the baby is doing well on eating solid foods, like Elias. Another pediatrician we talked to said that parents used to give kids milk at 9 months and that the marketing of formula companies swayed it to 12 months. Interesting food for thought…)

Many people commented that dairy was the cause of their babies’ ear infections, so now we have been contemplating if we should switch to whole milk at all, stay with formula longer, or maybe even go to soy.

Elias REALLY likes dairy (just like his Wisconsin-born-and-raised mommy), so it makes me sad to cut it out of his diet. But, he’s young. He’ll be okay. :)

Have you had experience with soy milk for your toddler? Did you supplement to make sure they got all the vitamins they get from milk? What was your experience?

As always, I appreciate your feedback and candor. I can’t imagine doing motherhood without your help.
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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Carrie B June 15, 2009 at 11:58 am

One of my girlfriends uses soy milk for her little boy. She gives him a daily vitamin to make sure he is getting everything he needs.


Mom2Valerie June 15, 2009 at 12:48 pm

My hubby had problems with dairy products as an infant/toddler and also had lots of ear infections. He eventually had tubes put in and has gotten over his intolerance for dairy (for the most part). I've been weaning my daughter slowly for when baby #2 comes (she only nurses 3 times a day now) and I've found the soy formula I got as a sample is making her very gassy and gives her quite an upset tummy. I think you just need to experiment to find the right formula, but I certainly think holding off on whole milk is a good plan.


Andrea June 15, 2009 at 1:06 pm

While waiting on whole milk is a good idea, especially with the ear infections, but soy might not be the route to go. While it is a good substitute, soy has a TON of estrogen. I would search around for other options before completely switching to soy or whole milk.

I'm sorry that isn't much help my daughter never really had ear problems so i don't have lots of experience there. I hope whatever you switch to helps little Elias get better :)


Therese June 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm

There have been studies linking soy to peanut allergies, so I would be cautious of that. Michael had colic when he was an infant and we did a 1 week stint with soy formula-he was so badly constipated that we had to switch. I would either stick with regualr formula or start milk. I don't tend to agree with the milk/ear infection connection, but it's just my opinion, and as always, you are an awesome mother who will make the best decision for Elias…


Angela June 15, 2009 at 1:34 pm

I think you should wait on the whole milk. I'm just one of those mothers that waits to do whole milk until 12 months.
If he has a problem with dairy, try rice milk or goats milk.
But I would ask his pedi before doing anything. They will give you the best advice based on his medical need and then you can decide what is best for him.


Leslie Raffelson June 15, 2009 at 1:35 pm

I just listened to Dr. Mike's episode on milk on the Pedicast podcast and he said to be careful of Soy milk as it doesn't have the nutrients that whole milk does, so you have to supplement with other things. I don't remember the episode number – but you can find it on


Sandra June 15, 2009 at 2:21 pm

I too, waited until my daughter was 12 months before making the switch to whole milk. She had probably 2 ear infections her entire life, so we didn't have that problem…I just went by the doctor's recommendation…
Hope that helps and good luck!



Amy June 15, 2009 at 2:26 pm

My daughter didn't have many problems with ear infections (just one here and there), but we did find that she didn't really go for whole milk "cold turkey"…we mixed her milk and formula together for about a week or two, gradually adding more milk to the mixture. Then she was fine.

I also waited until 12 months to introduce the whole milk.


Jill June 15, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Both of my girls had lots of trouble with ear infections… my youngest had tubes put in twice and that helped a lot. I personally haven't seen any connection with ear infections and dairy in my kids…we switched to whole milk at 1 year of age with both of the girls and they both did fine. I'll be interested to see what you decide.


Lauren June 15, 2009 at 3:02 pm

I firmly believe that every child is different. My 10 month old is extrememly allergic to everything dairy. I was as a child until 2. We have been on soy formula for 3 months now, and he is a happy and content baby. My doctor wants to switch him to rice milk with a teaspoon of flax seed oil at 12 months. He also said I can continue one feeding of soy formula a day if it makes me feel better. Ear infections are tough. Both of my brothers had 2 sets of tubes growing up, and they each drank a gallon of milk a week. My mother couldn't keep them away from the stuff, they loved it.
People as so passionate about the milk debate, it's tough to make the decision for yourself.


Adventures In Babywearing June 15, 2009 at 3:37 pm

There are so many problems dairy can cause in some children and adults. We don't do dairy for health reasons as well as food allergies in the home. I still am cautious about soy because of the conflicting information you'll hear about it. We drink rice milk and also found this link helpful with "cheating!" :



Bad Alice June 15, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Find out what your doctor thinks about the ear infection/dairy connection. Is there any hard evidence or is it all anecdotal? I worried about dairy and asthma. My daughter's pulmonologist at first suggested no dairy, but subsequently told me that research showed no connection at all. That's asthma, not ear infections, but don't cut out dairy based on hearsay. I can't remember when we started her on whole milk. I'm pretty sure she was at least a year old and that we stuck with formula until then.


emily June 15, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Both of my girls went straight from breast to milk at 10 months.

Neither had issues with ear infections but my second (who is now almost 3), does have lactose intolerance – she is on soy milk. Because we are on well water, we have also had vitamins since about 6 mos for both girls.

She can tolerate some ice cream, yogurt, or cheese, but not a lot and no milk.

We went through the scare about "hormones" but my doc said not to worry… trust YOUR instincts, do what you think is right for your family, and make sure your doctor knows your concerns!

Good luck!


Ashley McWhorter June 15, 2009 at 3:52 pm

I never commented on your post about ear infections and tubes, but my daughter got tubes put in at 9 months (she is 3 now). We have never regretted it. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. She was one of those that had 7 ear infections in three months. Crazy!!! Since the tubes were put in, she has had two infections…but, they don't bother her because the fluid drains out. But, the tubes have both come out this past year, and she has been perfect. Hopefully that will continue. We'll see. :)

About milk…I have no idea. I have 3 children and have nursed them all for at least a year. My first (who is 5) has had one ear infection. Completely different from my 2nd (who had the tubes). So, I think every kid is different. They told me it was b/c of the way her canals were shaped. Oh, and none of my kids drink milk. Ever. So, I don't know about that causing ear infections or not. Hmmmmm…. I just think ever kid is going to be different.

Anyway. Sorry for the book. HA! :) Have a blessed week!!!


Jiff June 15, 2009 at 4:37 pm

My daughter had a LOT of ear infections and her pedi waited to see if they stopped happening once cold season was over. Glad he did because she's been fine since. :) I've never heard of the milk being linked to ear infections, but her problems were happening while in daycare full time and on formula full time, so it wasn't really dairy.

At 12 months, I switched her to whole milk cold turkey and she LOVES it! She will drink more milk than she ever did formula. And if you deal with constipation, give pear juice in a bottle/sippy cup once a day. Bayley stays regular thanks to the pear juice. :)


Chatty June 15, 2009 at 5:14 pm

My sister's little guys actually both have a bona fide dairy allergy, so they're on soy. But I've heard that you can actually *cause* a dairy or soy allergy if you give them soy (they figured out the dairy allergy the hard way).

We just do regular whole dairy milk. Is Elias on a milk based formula? If he is I think you can be pretty confident that he'll tolerate dairy well. And I think the point about switching to whole milk if he's a good eater is a good one- milk (for the fat and vitamins) and a good full diet are all he'll really need, especially since most of the food we buy is so fortified. We switched Mister over to milk a few weeks before his first birthday just because we ran out of formula and he was barely taking a bottle anymore anyway, so we just let him drop his bedtime bottle and that was it. We never put formula in his sippy cup, just milk.

As a further point to the formula companies- we use Good Start for Sweet Babe and noticed that they have a 0-12 formula and a 9-24 formula! The 9-24 is billed as a "great alternative to milk." At $25 per can!!! HA!


Julia June 15, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Asher is still too young for anything other than my milk, but his pediatrician told us to stay away from soy because of all of the estrogen they add to it. She said that organic cow's milk is best. They add a lot of hormones to non organic cows milk as well. My friend uses unsweetened almond milk, but her pediatrician suggested she try goat's milk if she wanted to cut out cow dairy.


Kelsey June 15, 2009 at 6:51 pm

I don't have much experience with the ear infections (my girls didn't get their first one until 2 and my baby has yet to have one-we are VERY lucky) but lately my hubs has been reading up on problems associated with animal products in general. I would look into more *vegan* options. (I personally couldn't do it, I LIVE off of cheese!) But I think it's a good idea to start to limit our families' intake of animal products. I've also read that we get more calcium and such from plants vs dairy. And watch for that nasty BPA in your canned formula…


Southern Gal June 15, 2009 at 7:32 pm

My daughter (who never suffered from ear infections) weaned herself at FIVE months old and at around 9 months old would only drink water from a sippy cup. Nothing else. She was my first baby and I worried like none other about her nutrition because she was a very picky eater as well! Our pediatrician said as long as I gave her vitamins and she was drinking and eating she was fine. My boys drank milk, but didn't love it. I gave them watered down juice for a while and that satisfied them. All of them are healthy adults, children now.


elana June 15, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Our pediatrician recommended switching to whole milk at 1 year. Because he's a picky eater the doctor prescribed liquid vitamins after we asked about them. We found it easiest to give them to him while he's taking a bath cause they stain if you get it on clothing.

I try to stay away from soy products as I too have heard it has a lot of estrogen. I've also heard that cows milk is more similar to breastmilk than soy, and that soy can be harder on their tummies.


andrea June 15, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Jessica – you weren't the official mommy blogger for sw airlines, were you???


Jessica Turner June 15, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Hi Andrea – yes I am Southwest's official mommy blogger. You can search Southwest on this blog for links, or go to and search Jessica Turner for my posts!


Brooke June 15, 2009 at 10:28 pm

I have a suggestion for you before you stop nursing entirely. I didn't want to stop nursing my son but when I was working it was more and more difficult, and we decided that it was best for my own sanity. In one of my last nursing sessions, I sat in bed with the boppy and nursed my son while my husband took pictures. I know it sounds X-rated but it really wasn't. I really treasure those pictures, they are very tasteful and mean a lot to me. They're completely non sexual and just beautiful.

Nursing is something, one of the few things, that ONLY YOU can do for him. Those pictures remind me of that, especially on hard days. (He's four now and sometimes has QUITE the attitude.)

Email me if you want to see one of the pictures. :)


jayfersgirl June 16, 2009 at 2:58 am

Another option is to not do milk at all — I've been researching this as my daughter nears the one year mark (though we're nowhere near being done nursing). I think you'd have to continue formula thru 12 months then, but milk is really not necessary and can cause lots of health problems, especially with all the added hormones in it these days.


MamaBear June 16, 2009 at 3:09 am

It looks like you've gotten lots of advice on this topic already, but I wanted to throw my 2 cents in there too since we recently cut dairy out of our diets. My friend Brittany ( wrote a post about it that was the final push I needed to address the skin issues I have that apparently ARE related to dairy.
Anyway, as many have stated, stay away from soy, try goats milk, and I would also recommend that you find a good pediatric chiropractor. They can do wonders for kids with ear infections. My kids saw chiros within a week of their births so it's never too early!

Enjoy those last few nursing sessions! My daughter was 2 1/2 before emotionally either of us were ready to be done but even that went too fast. :)


Missy @ It's Almost Naptime June 16, 2009 at 3:34 am

Actually, when I was born, I was only on formula for a MONTH, then I went to whole milk. When my cousins were born (they are in high school now) the drs said switch at 6 months. And now they say a year…


Something smells fishy, and it ain't the DHA.


kaylin rose and mara anne June 16, 2009 at 3:57 am

I have twin girls and one of them is fine with whole milk, the other is on soy. I should have switched her to soy formula when she was little, but I just thought it would put me over the edge to make 2 different types of formula with so many bottles they took. To make a long story short…the one who is on soy, had her first ear infection when I first started her on whole milk…it caused the ear infection, since she has problems with dairy…just milk and ice cream. She can do cheese and yogurt just fine. Once we put her on soy, she was a happy baby again. I really have not done anything extra for her for vitamins…there is a lot of good stuff in the soy milk and the doctor feels like it is just fine. She is small for her age, and soy has fewer calories, that is the biggest issue.

Good Luck with your choice. Just go with your gut, that is what I have found works the best!


Rachel June 16, 2009 at 5:45 am

Check out this link on soy milk and babies:

Good luck to you and Elias! Chances are he will love milk. My daughter transfered over to whole cow's milk at 9 months from breast milk. We changed early because she was pretty underweight, otherwise I would have waited until she was 12 months. It was a cold turkey switch and she did just fine. Like Elias, she has had a lot of ear infections this last winter, but keep in mind that we are headed into summer now, so colds and infections aren't as prevalent. My doc was going to give her tubes, but we are holding off awhile to see if things improve over the summer.


6hebrons June 16, 2009 at 4:07 pm

I have four kids…my youngest is 2.5, she was breast fed until she weaned at 16 mos. and after that it has been raw milk — no ear infections — grows like a weed – but still with in the norm- it helps since we sell raw dairy — and she gets really mad when we run out and I have to give her mommies regular milk. I was hesitant at first — but it has been great… the other three only drink raw milk — and are very healthy…. I haven't done it yet, but I am a skim milk drinker. Good luck — I think a lot has to do with the childs ear development.


Patti June 16, 2009 at 5:29 pm

I just decided to quit pumping at work and just nurse my 9 1/2 month old at night and in the mornings. Such a big step but I am so relieved, I HATED pumping!!! I hadn't heard about giving whole milk though, I am going to ask my pediatrician about that. Much cheaper then formula!!


Anonymous June 17, 2009 at 6:05 pm

I think I have recommended this book to you before….Disease Proff Your Child by Dr.Joel Fuhrman. He is against any dairy products with good research to back this up!


Holly June 17, 2009 at 8:46 pm

I would wait till one year with the whole milk becuase of the constipation factor and slowly transition them. My children did whole milk at 12 months and have never had any ear infections. I would not do the soy or rice unless that is medically necessary because it really does not have all the vits and fat their little brains and bodies need at this stage in their lives. Hope this helps!


maiahs_momma June 18, 2009 at 9:56 am

We had to use soy, but then switched over to a milk called "Lacteese" milk with our two oldest kids (who are now 7 and 5), because they just couldn't tolerate milk. When they were Elias's age they would the do the projectile vomiting. When they got older, they would be a sad mess if they had milk…so we just kept them on the Lacteese milk. Then also added in children's liquid vitamins, because they get more of the vitamin that way and less sugar too. You can get those at a natural health food store! The funny thing is with these two boys of ours is that they can't drink the milk, but can have it in things and have ice cream/cheese etc.
We are glad that we had another option to give them, but we didn't have any ear infection issues with milk.



Meredith@MerchantShips June 18, 2009 at 11:17 pm

I just wanted to share that all 3 of my kids have had recurrent ear infections–whether I abstained from dairy or not while nursing.

Tubes made a miracle difference for my kids. Elise just didn't talk until about a week after tubes, when her vocabulary doubled in less than a week.

I hope Elias won't need them, but if he does, it is nothing to fear.


Anonymous June 21, 2009 at 2:17 am

Definitely research about soy – everyone used to love it but now it gets a bad rap – something about thyroid issues and estrogen, I think.


Jenny Clark June 24, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Soy is VERY bad for children and adults. You can read more here

Also – most soy grown these days is genetically engineered beans by Monsanto – they are called "round-up ready" beans and are able to withstand heavy roundup pesticide treatment. Bad news again.

We drink Raw milk (I drink it while pregnant) and its the only milk besides my own I will feed my baby. The nutrient level is amazing and I have known kids with supposed "dairy allergies" that are fine on real, raw milk. Pastequrized milk is void of the good bacteri and nutrients, which also makes it harsher on stomachs.


Jenny Clark June 24, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Oh, and if you prefer to drink whole milk that has been pasteurized, it should most definetely be from all grass-fed cows.

It doesn't need to be "organic" if its grass-fed, because grass is the only thing cows are supposed to eat, there is not the risk for bacteria and the other gross stuff that happens to most of our commerical cows who are fed solely on corn with a grass fed cow(a cows stomach can't process corn feeds so most cows these days are pumped with antibiotics because they always have stomach infections).


BeautyRescued July 20, 2009 at 3:15 pm

I second Jenny Clark's recommendation to look into Raw Milk…my son Sam was diagnosed with GERD and my ped recommended I go off of dairy since I was nursing. My personal wellness doctor suggested that I switch to drinking either goat's milk or raw milk, and that this would resolve the GERD and some other issues we were having. I know it seems controversial, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.


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