The beginning of the end

Jennifer, you’ll be happy to know that I did get around to mixing cow’s milk into Trixie’s milk today at a 1:5 ratio. She drank it just fine and there are no signs of any negative reaction*. Who knows, maybe this time next week, no more pumping.

*Ok, well, there is a huge, blistering rash that developed all around her mouth and on her legs where the milk dripped a little, but I don’t want to jump to conclusions.

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43 Responses to The beginning of the end

  1. fred says:

    Never fear: the blistering rash is just from salivating over the wallet.

  2. shawn says:

    its not the rash you have to worry about….its the horns.

  3. manvel Mom says:

    Have you considered Soy? – There’s alot of bad stuff linked to Cow’s milk – ear infections, juvinial diabetes, autisum.

  4. lia says:

    to manvel mom…milk does NOT cause autism! But some autistic children have extremely sensitive digestive systems and can be lactose intolerant…there is no medically proven reason why autism occurs

  5. amy says:

    Ditto lia. Cows milk doesn’t cause autism. I am, however, a member of the Cow’s Milk is Evil(tm) club. I think it’s totally unnecessary to feed our children milk. Besides, it tastes bad. 😉

  6. Erika says:

    Lighten up people. I’ll bet you bottom dollar that Ben was **kidding** about the rash, etc. from a little drop of cow’s milk (nice touch adding the external drop on the leg). I think I will go have a nice tall glass of milk. Mmmmmm milk.

  7. benmac says:

    Erika is right. The rash part was a joke. I apologize if anyone thought that poor Trixie was in trouble. Question: if cow’s milk is evil, what’s the alternative? Are you talking about soy? or some other kind of animal? Not judging – just curious. thanks-

  8. jennifer says:

    how can it be totally unnecessary to feed your children milk? is that a joke? or are you talking about another kind of milk? the thought of not giving callie milk with all of her meals is a new one. i still drink milk if i am eating at home and i am 32. milk is evil? really? evil? as in the devil? hhhhmmmm….. i guess you never know what you are going to read on TTU.

  9. Becca says:

    I dislike the taste of cows milk, but I like soy. It also works better for me because I’m lactose intolerant. Soy milk is also supposed to be healthier – more protein and such – but I don’t know the exact information.

  10. Grandma Davis says:

    LOTS of bad possibilities with soy or “store bought” milk
    Have you heard any mention from Alecia about NURISHING

    Any way–awww they were so cute when they met! You Sanderson Artists are great!

  11. hannah says:

    I am such a nosey buttinsky chatterbox – I told myself when I saw this one brewing I was going to stay out, but alas, I can’t help myself! My impression is 1) lots of people have digestive problems w/milk and some people have allergies, 2) milk from massive dairy farms is loaded with the antibiotics and growth hormones they feed the cows. That said, we feed Sophie only organic milk and I only drank organic when I was pregnant. But I do think there is some kind of milk hysteria going on. But that’s just me – I also don’t believe in wheat allergies, etc. I wonder if any academic types have studied the milk/wheat, etc., hysteria – it is curious.

  12. John says:

    (Hi, Hannah!)

    There are a lot of weird hormones punped into dairy cows; this might be a major cause of what gets called “precocious puberty”, something girls are more susceptible to than boys. You may want to shell out the extra bucks for organic milk for Trixie. There’s that really big co-op grocery in Carborro you might check out for alternatives.

  13. John says:

    PS- we’re actually feeding Colum all organic everything. We can pull this off because he’s a less picky eater than Trixie (for now anyway) and because Alecia gardens, and because we just resigned ourselves to our grocery bill increasing again by half.

  14. Kelli says:

    I have no babies, but most of the parents I babysit for give their toddlers whole cow’s milk, from the regular grocery store, and those children are growing up to be intelligent healthy children. I would agree that if you have anything to be concerned about at all, it might be the hormones in the milk (as mentioned above) and not the cow’s milk itself. And that could, as Hannah & John say, be remedied by giving Trixie organic milk.

    ‘Course, if that’s the biggest concern anyone has about what foods children consume over the course of their toddler years, then, wow…

    As for cow’s milk causing autism, the same thing has been said about a number of other things, including certain vaccinations. A friend of mine, who is a neuropsychiatrist and treats children with autism says that, really, the medical community doesn’t have conclusive evidence about what, if anything, *causes* autism.

  15. Kelly says:

    It doesn’t cause juvenille diabetes either. There is evidence that suggests (although not with any degree of certainty) that breastfeeding for some period of time may reduce the risk of Type 1 Diabetes, but cows’ milk does not cause Type 1 Diabetes.

  16. lilibet says:

    Hannah, I too was going to stay out of this one but here is my two cents…Dairy is one of the hardest foods for our bodies to digest, some do well others not so well. I can speak from personal experience. My son was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy. I had to avoid dairy in my diet to insure no proteins would transfer through my breast milk. I was completely off of milk products for 7 months. Never in my life had I felt better once I started avoiding it. A lot of tummy problems I had lived with went away. Not to mention I just felt great. I too question milk and whether it is or is not necessary. I do know this, that those cows are eating a lot of corn that have pesticides and that is what we should really be concerned about, so I say drink organic. If you and your spouse tolerate milk well (mind you I thought that I did tolerate it) than I say drink it. I took Nutrition from Dr. Hampl from ASU and he recommended avoiding diary until 12 months of age. You may want to look him up, he is a fabulous professor and is very involved with research. Another note…growth hormones are most likely not the cause of “precocious puberty”, it has more to do with heredity, sedentary lifestyles and childhood obesity. And to that reference of Juvenal diabetes (Type 1) that has more recently been liked as an autoimmune response due to an infection from a virus that the child has experienced. Anyway enough of that. Lastly regarding the wheat allergies, they do exist, it is called Celiac Disease and I have a dear friend who suffers from it. See So back to the questionÂ…To drink or not to drink???

  17. Kelly says:

    It’s fine to err on the side of caution, but really, dietary decisions should not be based on pseudoscience. Most of the stuff in mainstream media–even Newsweek type journals–are only bits and pieces of any real scientific evidence. Plain old cow’s milk is not going to kill your kid.

  18. lilibet says:

    Correction. Celiac is not an actual allergy but a gluten intolerance. Sorry for the incorrect reference.

  19. Leslie says:

    OK I’m staying out except to say that when I was breast-feeding I *really* wanted a Dairy Queen t-shirt (to wear). Ben, looks like it’s your last chance to get Jenn one!

  20. John says:

    “Plain old cow’s milk is not going to kill your kid.”

    I don’t think anyone’s saying it will. But there’s poisons that bring death, and then there’s poisons that do other kinds of harm. Does Ben want Trixie hitting puberty at age 10?
    The very fact that the medical/scientific folk have not done enough research on stuff like bovine growth hormones in milk (it may cause precocious puberty; it may cause breast cancer) is reason enough to avoid it.
    To put it another way, it’s the myth of progress at work. Most every “advance” in science and medicine turns out to have a downside, a side-effect, or a dependance on non-renewable resources. Sometimes those side-effects harm humans, sometimes not. But it often takes years or decades to learn what those side-effects might be.
    Then keep in mind that the pseudoscience cuts both ways: there are plenty of academics and medical professionals willing to shill for some agribusiness or some pharmacueticals corporation’s products. Remember doctors advertising cigarettes? Or look into how the pharmacueticals corporations get doctors to prescribe thier drugs- with expensive bribes, for the most part. The budgets for marketing drugs dwarfs the budgets for R&D. A lot of that money goes to fancy lunches and free vacations for those doctors who are less than ethical, or who find themselves trapped under ever-increasing malpractice insurance fees.

    All of this means that there is indeed a mass of misinformation out there, but we can know, with reasonable certainty, that consuming organic foods can reduce risks posed by foods with pesticides (these are poisions, mind you) sprayed on them, hormones injected into them, and genes that have been mucked with. Why? because we know that regular old milk, the kind without hormones, rarely killed anybody since Pasteur figured out how to cook the pathogens out of it.
    Maybe in 50 or 100 years they’ll have figured out how to do such things in ways that bring harm to neither humans nor nature (harm to nature inevitably means harm to us, since we live there), but in the meantime, I know that organic milk doesn’t have hormones in it.

    Check out for some information and essays about the matter.

  21. Rob says:

    Gee, John… Drinking cow’s milk “might” cause you sprout antlers, too.

    But the fact that the research doesn’t exist to prove your assertions doesn’t somehow magically make them true.

    There’s nothing more sympathetic to a jury than a disabled or injured child. Despite this fact, I’ve never seen a dairy farm hit with a lawsuit over a birth defect. Never. Not once. If there was ANY evidence to support these theories, an enterprising litigator would’ve made a mint off of it a long time ago.

  22. John says:

    Hmmm… Rob, your debate technique is a little frustrating. I didn’t say that no research exists; I said that researchers have inconclusive data. But you’re missing my point – that your reasoning, sarcastic though it may be, cuts both ways.

    Organic milk is old, time-tested. Mlik with hormones is new, and untested. Why should I abandon what I know is good for something about which I know only what paid marketers tell me? Especially when the agribusinesses have a history of selling us food that’s bad for us and the environment? Out of some faith that this time, everything will be okay?

    To rephrase your own conclusion:

    But the fact that the research doesn’t exist to prove hormones added to milk is safe doesn’t somehow magically make it so.

    As for your concluding paragraph, you’re suggesting that because (so far as you know) no one has sued a dairy farm, there’s no possibility of anything being wrong with the milk. Which is kind of like suggesting that something is wrong only if one gets caught. Which is what the agribusinesses are counting on.

  23. Rob says:

    John, I’m sorry you disaprove of the manner of my speech.

    Just the same, you freely and openly admit that there is ABSOLUTELY no scientific evidence to back up your claims that ordinary, store bought milk is bad for Trixie.




    As you admit, they’ve done the research. As you know, the results have been inconclusive — at best. Instead of hard science, you’re relying on unsupported theories, ancedotal evidence, and the ever popular W.A.G.

    Despite the weakness of the supporting evidence, you insist on crying “agribusiness”, and letting slip the dogs of fear. Fear the paid marketers… fear big business… fear your doctors, on the take from the evil big drug companies.

    Frankly, I’m surprised I haven’t heard any mention of Halliburton & the New World Order.

    Pseudo-science pisses me off. On a site so dedicated to methodology, statistics, and science, I find your lack of empirical data… disturbing.

  24. John says:


    It’s not your manner of speech with which I take issue, but your argumentation itself. The technique you’re using in your most recent posting is called a “Straw Man” argument. Straw Men arguments argue against a position which one’s opponenet does not hold, but which is similar to a position one’s opponenet does hold, while being weaker argument. Very nearly everything you assert about my points in your post above is a Straw Man. It is not, I find, a fruitful technique. If you have some hard science to show that hormones in milk are safe, then I welcome it; it’d reduce my grocery bill just that much. But thus far, you seem to want me to accept, on faith, that the hormones are not harmful, and that’s not something I’m willing to do. The burden of proof is on those who are adding stuff to the milk, since we’ve already got something we know works and is safe.

    I’ve no wish to piss you, or anyone off, and I’m sorry my concerns with the hormones in milk make you so very angry.

  25. hannah says:

    Hi John!
    Well said – I was tempted to rush to your defense last night, but glad I waited as you’ve done a much better job than I would’ve. My response to Rob is 1) that he was unnecessarily rude. 2) No one said there is a definitive, proof-beyond-a-doubt link b/t mass farm milk and any specific harm, but there are things that are still up in the air, and WHY take the chance with your baby? That’s kind of what you’re saying too, I guess. 3) What does Rob care if we buy organic milk? It’s not like we’ve gone out and bombed the big dairy farms – or even boycotted them for that matter. Rob, for someone who seems so upset about attacks on big business, I question your capitalist credentials: are you opposed to the free market, in both ideas and dairy products?

  26. FrumDad says:

    I’m just focused on (and salivating slightly at) the prospect of a class-action against the big dairies. That is *such* an idea. Wow.

    Oh, yeah, almost forgot.

    Halliburton! New World Order! ZOG! Bob the Genius!
    And… calling on Godwin’s Law: Y’know, the first thing the Nazis did was ban organic milk.
    (That should satisfy Rob.)
    (and the Bob! is not a reference to Rob.)

    I’m feeling like a wise-acre today.

  27. Rob says:

    WooHoo!!! Godwin’s Law has been invoked! Thanks Frum!

    Look, folks… I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but there is simply no proof that organic / vegan / free-range / kobe cow’s milk is any better for you or your child than generic grocery store milk.


    Medline & PubMed are both free and publicly availible. If anyone has any peer-reviewed articles or studies on any differences between the two, or discussing any syndromes, diseases, or maladies which have been linked to modern dairy farming… please. Enlighten us.

    Otherwise, we’re dealing in junk science & wivestales.

    I’m a big fan of the marketplace of ideas, where good ideas drive out the bad. If you’ve got some science to back up your assertions that free-range moo-juice is somehow better for the papoose, I’d love to see it.

    If not, we’re just talking about warts, frogs, and burying potatoes under a full moon.

    Hardly a way to raise a child.

  28. amy says:

    Wow… this topic has gotten a bit out of hand.. but I thought I’d respond to Jennifer who questioned why I said cow’s milk was unnecessary.

    What is exactly is it that you NEED to get from cow’s milk? Everything in cow’s milk is available from other sources. Often those other sources contain less fat, and are better absorbed by our systems.

    Take calcium for example. A glass of calcium-enriched OJ has just as much calcium as a glass of milk, and your body actually absorbes MORE of the calcium.

    Protien? Try eggs, meat, legumes.
    Vitamin D? Try stepping outside for a mere 15mins three times a week. (That’s all it takes for your body to produce all the vit. you require.)

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I have yet to come across something in cow’s milk that your body needs that can only come from that 1 source.

  29. John says:

    Again: no one needs to proove that organic milk is safe; we already know that. What must be proved is that non-organic milk is safe. And Rob is right – until a study done by reputable scientists is published demonstrating that hormones in milk are safe, I shall stick to good, old fashioned organic milk.

  30. schaff says:

    What about Quik?

  31. John says:

    HA! That rabbit had serious Quik-abuse problems, didn’t he? 😉

  32. FrumDad says:

    John said it, but I think it bears repeating. Rob nicely summarized his main point:

    > there is simply no proof that organic / vegan
    > / free-range / kobe cow’s milk is any better
    > for you or your child than generic grocery
    > store milk

    I think the point that’s being missed is that the black box here isn’t the organic milk. We’ve got hundreds of years of anecdotal evidence that organic, hormone-free, regular milk doesn’t cause anyone to sprout extra bits or miss bits they need or anything.

    The unknown here is the hormones, etc. (“HE”). Grocery Store Milk = Organic Milk PLUS HE.

    (although, I buy my organic milk at the grocery store, so my terms are wrong…)

    Without data on the effect of the HE, the riskier proposition is feeding Rachel the GSMilk.

    If the question is, “will this food be harmful,” then even without any data at all, setting past priors at .5, you’d still go with the Organic Milk, because the math works out better:

    Organic is bad = .5
    HE is bad = .5
    GSM IS bad = .75, because GSM is bad if Organic is bad OR (not XOR) HE is bad.

    Also, wivestales turn out fairly often to be pretty good science. Chicken soup springs to mind, and sweating out a fever, as well as any number of herbal remedies. Couple majillion wives out there, swapping tales. It’s not the most efficient laboratory, and it certainly comes out with some odd results sometimes, but it also has vast potential as a distributed system, and will fairly often come out with accurate results (if not as often precise ones).

    FINALLY. And after this I *really* do have to get back to work.

    That Rabbit was a total junkie. Him, Sonny the CoCo Puffs Cukoo, and that Silly Rabbit had some serious rehab time coming to them.


  33. benmac says:

    Prove hormones are safe
    Prove hormones are dangerous

    That’s what this debate really boils down to.

    I think one of the problems here is that it’s much harder to conclusively prove the first statement than the second. You only have to find one incidence of harm to prove the second statement true, but you have to exhaustively rule out every single imaginable, remote or even unknown possible side effect to prove the first. (And even then there’s a chance that something might show up later.)

    In a nutshell: If something is shown to be dangerous, it will always be dangerous. If something is shown to be safe, that conclusion can always be revisited.

    And that’s why I suspect people are willing to err on the side of safety at the expense of paying a little more for organic.

  34. hannah says:

    Just to belabor this a little more – although I am committed to buying organic milk b/c I’m unwilling to deal w/an unknown that frankly gives me hebees (like frog warts), I decided to look on the web a bit – is it all paranoia? Found an interesting and very recent article arguing for the pros of organic milk rather than against the harms of regular milk and the pros of organic milk had indeed been published in respected peer-review publications. The article also has a nice run-down of the debate. For those that can’t get enough of this, here’s the link:

    New studies show benefits of organic milk

    p.s. call me the leftie-conspriacy-therorist I am, but I’m always suspcious of statements like this one, which appears in the article: “Monsanto, the only producer of rBST, says there is no difference in safety or nutrition between rBST milk and organic, a statement backed by the U.S. government.” Right, just like the Dalkon Shield, breast implants, asbestos – all claimed to be safe in their day, by their manufacturers and the gov’t.

  35. Maddie's Mom says:

    Amy, somewhere in the middle of this very long discussion, said:

    What exactly is it that you NEED to get from cow’s milk? Everything in cow’s milk is available from other sources. Often those other sources contain less fat, and are better absorbed by our systems.

    I am under the impression that one of the things babies need to get from cow’s milk *is* the fat. That is why the American Pediatric Association recommends WHOLE milk from age 1-2. It is the fat that aids in brain development, or some such important thing for babies.

    Now, I suppose that babies could get fat from some other source, but milk, since it contains calcium and other vitamins, is one of the better sources of it.

    Now, if only I could get my daughter to drink the stuff! (Thanks for the tips in another thread, y’all. I’m trying everything.)

  36. Kim says:

    Just a short comment on the cows milk issue. My husband was a life long dairy farmer when I married him (5 years ago). We have since sold the cows (as we own another business and we wanted that to take priority) but I can speak about some of the issues here. First: we DO give our cows anti-biotics for illness or after they give birth. Each cow who is on antibiotics is marked with a cow safe “marker” (Ours was day-glo orange)on her rump. Her milk was either dumped or given to the calves, cats or farm dogs. It was NEVER put into the tank or shipped with the other milk. Each tankload of milk is tested before leaving each farm. If it is found to contain any anti-biotics, it is dumped and the farmer who ‘messes up’ (by not keeping the milk separate) is responsible to pay for the lost milk. We never gave our cows growth hormones.

    Now, we were a small dairy in a co-op. My husband grew up on ‘raw milk’ Out of all the kids my in-laws produced (8 children with 26 grand and great-grand kids) only one granddaughter has had a milk allergy. At 13, she has grown out of it.

    I think each parent needs to tailor their offerings to their kid’s needs and health. Soy is very good as well.

    My husband and I are trying to adopt some infants (we have adopted 2 special needs boys) and reading your blog until the stork brings our little ones is great!! I know I will be able to put all I have learned from Trixie and her readers to good use.

    If you ate today, thank a farmer!

  37. amy says:

    Maddie’s Mom – re: fat. Avacados, olive oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, most nuts (although they probably shouldn’t be given to young children either due to allergies) and olives.

    In this day and age, sources of fat is rarely a concern for children. These days our kids are far more likely to be overweight even as a toddler than underweight.

    Anyway, just to clarify. I am not really a milk nazi. I have a jug of regular old Target-brand 2% sitting in my fridge right now. I just don’t drink it straight. I am slightly lactose intolerant, as is my husband, so we only use it sparingly in recipes and cereal. We will most likely have to give our son Soy milk when he turns 1 since he seems to be pretty sensitive to dairy.

  38. Foster says:

    Doesnt the levels of estrogen in soy products worry anyone? I mean, if you want to talk early puberty and all.. A friend of mine was recently told by her gyno (who is a mid-wife) to stop drinking soy milk (and coffee, and anything w/ caffiene) b/c the high levels of estrogen had tricked her breasts into thinking she was pregnant, and she was starting to produce breast milk! And shes never even been preggo. Soy consumption is also one of the causes for the high levels of breast cancer in Asian countries. So.

    Also, another cause of early puberty, one Im highly interested in mainly b/c it has not been studied very much, is that when girls are around their biological fathers, their bodies naturally supress puberty. When not around their fathers (i.e. single-parent homes), puberty will hit them sooner. When around a non-related male, such as a step-father, for extended periods of time, puberty will actually hit them even sooner. Apparently, the fathers pheremones “protect” the girl, while another males actually rev her body up. In this day and age where so many families are broken, whos to say that this might not factor heavily into the whole earlier puberty thing?

    Oh, and ps, the real cause of “early” puberty is better health care, hygiene, and diet. And the national average has only dropped by something like half a year, and the mean age is still 12. Still, I eat mainly organic foods, including milk, because cows have been producing edible milk forever, so why mess w/ it now?

  39. Elizabeth says:

    Foster, do you have a reference for the statements about onset of puberty and fathers? It’s very interesting, but I’m skeptical of it as an effect without seeing some kind of study. (The plural of anecdote is not data).

  40. lisa says:

    Soy consumption is also one of the causes for the high levels of breast cancer in Asian countries.

    Hmm. Here’s another view:

    “Studies of Asian women (living in Asia) without a history of breast cancer found that those who consumed large amounts of soy protein had a lower risk of breast cancer.”

    “Study results: The researchers found no connection between breast cancer risk and reported soy consumption.”

    but: “It makes sense to use soy foods in moderation if you’ve had breast cancer.”

    This is from 2001; do you have a more recent study?

  41. jo says:

    Foster, my grand-daughter reached puberty at age 10-1/2 she is now 14 and has always lived with HER FATHER and Mother.

  42. Francesca says:

    Early Puberty – I watched a documentary called I believe “Blue Vinyl” and have done some reading since. THere is some evidence to support that early onset puberty and other hormonally related problems are being caused by exposure to MBTE. THis occurs when plastics are heated (like when you heat food in plastic). Some of the evidence sited in the movie is deformation of the sex organs of many animals in the waters around plastic plants. They test high for MBTE . To be safe I microwave in glass and transfer food to plastic to feed my twins. I also fed organic for the first two years, as they are growing so prodigiously that I believe (on no evidence) that during high growth, we are all more susceptible to absorbing and retaining toxins.

  43. Valerie says:

    Oh my. I started puberty at around 9, always around my dad, and I drank regular, grocery store milk. It is quite simple….a child’s body needs a certain amount of fat to begin puberty. We need to be worrying about our kids’ weight, not what causes “early” puberty. I think that’s a stupid term anyway, puberty happens when it’s supposed to, not “late” or “early.”