Questions of milk


Timmy is confident of his own superiority. Our dining table is round, but he is still able to make his seat clearly the ‘head’, simply by his demeanour and force of will. His favoured dining pose is to have his arms locked outward, palms flat on the table top as he surveys his environment, in authoritative judgement.

But as determined as this little boy is to be a grownup, wanting to hold his own spoon (which will always end badly) and feed himself, he refuses to drink from a cup. Any cup. It’s a bottle or nothing. The bottle only works to get the drink into his mouth though, if he’s lying down. Gravity’s annoying that way. If he has a bottle sitting up, he’ll futilely and frustratedly suck at air before throwing the bottle away and crying.

Simple enough to give him his drinks while he’s lying down, perhaps, but he’s now at a very active and mobile stage of life where he just doesn’t have the patience to lie on his back to empty the whole bottle. While he’s drinking he’ll invariably roll onto his side or belly…and which point the Gravity Machine stops working, and he gets upset. It’s immensely irritating to have to sit next to him with a hand on his belly to stop him rolling, for the duration of every drink or formula feed.

All the ‘expert knowledge’ I can find says he should continue to drink formula right up until his first birthday. After that, I should be feeding him cow’s milk. The clarity of the line seems absurd to me.

Not one year old, yet? No cow’s milk. No. Don’t you dare.

First birthday today? Pack that formula away, it’s time for the kid to go full-dairy.

Will his digestive system have some innate awareness of the date, and spontaneously transform itself overnight in readiness? Is his gut structurally different on his birthday than it was 24 hours previously? But do I dare defy the Gospel of Plunket by trying him on cow’s milk a couple of weeks early?

And how can I know what milk to use? The expert baby oracles say cow’s milk is better than that from a soybean, rice grain, goat, sheep, or unicorn. But even “cow’s milk” isn’t very specific. The most specific I hear is ‘full-cream’, as a child needs the fat content in this accelerated growth period. Fair enough…but does ‘full-cream’ mean blue-top, or silver-top? (For readers not familiar with NZ’s milk colour-capping system, a dark blue top is for full-cream pasteurised and homogenised milk, whereas a silver-topped bottle contains milk in a thicker state more like its original. It isn’t raw milk though — it’s still pasteurised, just not homogenised.)


I have the question of which to use because I hear that in the homogenisation process (so then, the blue-top stuff) the breaking down of butterfat globules so they do not rise to the top also damages the structure of the fat, resulting in our bodies being unable to process it. Energy from full fat isn’t going to be much use to Timmy if he can’t process it, is it? So should I be leaving the blue-top stuff (and its friendlier price tag) for the more expensive Farmhouse silver-top stuff?

Even Google doesn’t tell me! Google’s supposed to know everything!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t know how to persuade Timmy to drink from a cup, either.

In other news, Timmy’s impressive record of health is now broken. Apparently, it’s expected for a baby to get sick 6–12 times in their first year, and Timmy had a sickness count of zero…until a week ago. He was so close to his first birthday — almost a clean escape! But then he got the ‘hand, foot and mouth’ virus (not related to the disease of similar name that appears in cattle) that’s so popular at the moment. But, since that average sickness count is in regards in colds, can I still claim victory?

Of course, I didn’t take a picture of my spotty dalmatian baby when his rashes were at their worst, because I just don’t think of things like that at the convenient time. So I’ve missed the ‘First Sickness’ photo album opportunity. I’m sure, later, Timmy will be relieved.



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