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Having a baby can be overwhelming, and a new mom can be inundated with all sorts of information, products, and supplies. One of the biggest pushes on new moms is from formula manufacturers, 80 percent of which are cow milk-based. While many formula manufacturers will tell you that these formulas are safe for babies, here are 5 reasons not to feed your newborn milk-based formulas:

1. Your Baby Is Presumably Not A Cow

If you have in fact, just given birth to a baby cow, by all means, feed it cow milk-based formula! But if you’ve just had a human baby, you’ll want to stick with the human milk. Cows milk is specifically designed to help baby cows quickly grow to be large, hulking animals with far smaller brains and many more stomachs than humans. That means that cow’s milk contains more than double the amount of protein than human milk, which, when consumed by humans, creates metabolic disturbances that can lead to bone problems later in life. Additionally, cow’s milk contains too much sodium and potassium and not enough Vitamin E, iron, and essential fatty acids required to build strong, intelligent brains. And because the composition of cows milk is so different than human milk, babies drinking cow’s milk can suffer digestive and absorption problems.

2. Many Doctors Advise Against Cows Milk

The recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics is to avoid giving cow’s milk to children under one year of age. The high iron content of cows milk can cause bleeding in infant intestines, leading to anemia, and the high cholesterol and saturated fat can tax the heart of newborns who have congenital heart problems in their family. Additionally, The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine advises against all milk products for infants and children, as well as adults.

3. Do It For The Cow Moms

In order for cow’s milk to be available for human consumption, a cow must be impregnated, give birth, and then be milked. The reality of that situation is never more clear than after a woman becomes a new mother. To see her own body go through the amazing transformation required to create a life, and then to be able to nourish and care for that precious new baby is nothing short of miraculous. And if a woman can do that for her own child, why does she need to, or even want to steal the milk from another mother?

4. Breast is Usually Best

Of course, there are instances when nursing a baby is not an option, but infant formula was originally created as an emergency measure for orphans or when a wet nurse was unable to be obtained. The World Health Organization recommends exclusively breastfeeding for 6 months to two years or beyond.  Breastmilk is custom designed for each specific baby. In fact, if an infant catches a cold and then nurses, the mother’s body will pump up her milk with the specific antibodies needed to combat the cold for the next feeding! Additionally, breastfed babies receive the exact nutrients needed for optimal growth and cognitive development, are on average taller, smarter, and have healthier metabolisms as children and adults. And despite the constant pandering by the formula industries, there are many resources available to help nursing mothers be successful, such as the La Leche League. If formula is necessary, soy-based brands are dairy free and equal to cow’s milk formulas as far as the nutritional benefits go.

5. Cow Milk Formula is Highly Processed Junk Food

Despite formula company’s claims that their formula is healthy and natural, in order for cow’s milk to be semi-digestible in sensitive infant systems, it must be severely altered. Additionally, there is really little regulation on exactly what can go into formula, and often times, the recipe will change according to availability of ingredients. Some formulas are even sweetened and can contain unintentional contaminates from the manufacturing process! Gross.

 Image source: Bradley Gordon/Flickr

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