Milk for our family: raw, goat, non-dairy, etc.

photo by mojitopt

I think our experiments with various kinds of milk and non-milk have come to a close in this family.

First of all, neither of our kids have reacted negatively or had any behavioral, allergy, or digestive issues with regular, organic cow’s milk. When they were infants, they both needed “sensitive” infant formula, but by the time they each hit 1 year old, they had outgrown the need for it.

We have now tried goat’s milk, almond milk, and most recently raw milk. The kids had no problem with the taste of any of those variations, but in the end all but goats’ milk made them sick. Goat’s milk is expensive, and after checking with my doctor, we would have to buy vitamin D supplements for the kids if we wanted to use goats’ milk instead of cow’s. Which would make goats milk even MORE cost prohibitive for us.

When all is said and done, why were we investigating non-traditional milk anyway?

I’m embarrassed to say that the answer is: guilt.

All the other “green” moms say cow’s milk is the devil. It will make your kids hyper! They can’t digest it! It has hormones! We aren’t supposed to drink milk from other animals!

I hear all those things and I feel like I’m doing something terrible to my kids by giving them organic cow’s milk, even though they have absolutely no problems with it at all. So I switched to goats, but I saw no difference in hyperactivity or focus. I switched to almond and got 2-3 weeks of diarrhea. I switched to raw milk and got diarrhea AND constipation AND vomiting for the kids, and a fever and nausea for me.

Why am I doing this?! I am tired of the gastrointestinal distress that milk alternatives are giving us. I am quitting. We are going back to regular, organic cow’s milk.

In my heart, I don’t feel like this is the wrong choice for our particular family. It’s like formula feeding – I would love for things to have worked out differently, but they didn’t. I was not able to tell my boobs how to manufacture milk past 6-8 months, it was a choice my body made without my consent.  My mother and I both have stomach problems, something our body does without our consent. Unfortunately, my kids have inherited my stomach issues. They can’t handle the milk alternatives. Raw milk was supposed to help with that but it turned out to be just one of the things our stomachs can’t handle. I am really very sorry about that. We had a lot of fun driving out to farms to get it! Maybe we will still go out for honey and yogurt.

I wanted to be honest with my blog readers in case you’ve struggled with similar decisions. I firmly believe that different things work for different kids and different families. What is important is that our family made this decision consciously, by investigating all the possibilities and then deciding what works best for us. I’d encourage everyone to do your own milk or non-milk investigations, and I hope that in the process you find what works best for your family too!

6 thoughts on “Milk for our family: raw, goat, non-dairy, etc.

  1. Suzie says:

    Great post!! I really appreciate your honesty, and think there needs to be more of it on the internet. We all want to do what’s best for ourselves, our kids, and our planet, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out and we need to strike a compromise between these competing demands!

  2. conscientious says:

     Thank you so much! We are fortunate to have so many options when it comes to our families’ nutrition and blessed that we have the freedom to investigate and choose!

  3. conscientious says:

    I think it’s easy to just assume that what works for someone else will work for my family too. But sometimes our kids are just different and that’s OK too!

  4. Alena Belleque says:

    Excellent post and thank you so much for addressing this! Every body is different, every family is different, and what works for one may be the very devil for another. Good luck, and way to be honest 🙂

  5. Laura Broach says:

    One farm near me uses low temperature pasteurization. They still milk their own cows, which are grass-fed pastured local cattle. I tried some just this week and was very pleased. The milk is still very rich like the raw milk and even has to be shaken because the fat rises just like in the raw milk. If you love that trip to the farm, maybe someone near you offers the same. I don’t have any problem with store-bought organic milk per se, but recently I discovered that Horizon keeps there cattle in feedlots and feeds them organic grain. The conditions are the same as other feedlots. I was very disappointed and stories like that make me wary of popular brands. 

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