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I recently reached the 10 month mark of breastfeeding! My goal was to make it 1 full year and I was really close to my goal, but it just didn’t work out as planned. Now we are wondering what’s next since I decided to call it quits.
I’ve got to the point where I no longer want to breastfeed exclusively. I started to transition into weaning by dropping pumping sessions. I was pumping 4 times a day and then I dropped down to 3. The times that I used to pump were early morning (6-9am), early afternoon (11:30-1pm), late afternoon (4-7pm), and in the evening (8-11:30pm). The early afternoon session was the first session I dropped but it would’ve been easier if I dropped my late afternoon session once my body adjusted.
When I began dropping sessions, I felt different. During my first 7 days of having only three sessions, I felt a little fatigued. I was a little moody too (my boyfriend would laugh at the “a little” past). I also noticed that my water intake dropped, I didn’t want to consume water….at all.
Stopping breastfeeding has been hard for me because I have been feeling guilty. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super happy to be able to quit breastfeeding and I’m proud that I have been able to provide for Kali this long. However, I feel a little sad that I’m no longer providing for her in that way. I’ve found that it’s normal to feel like that but it still sucks. I’ve been pumping for Kali’s entire life and now I’m about to quit. It seems so extreme!
Kali will be drinking formula for the next three months until she is old enough to drink regular cow’s milk. However, we don’t necessarily want to give her cow’s milk once she turns one, but we want to make sure Kali is getting all the nutrients and vitamins she needs from her next source of milk.
Disclaimer: this is our decision and what we plan to do for our child. Always consult with your child’s pediatrician before changing their diet.
No to cow’s milk
We are hesitant to give her cow’s milk when the time comes. We barely drink it ourselves. There are many alternatives to cow’s milk and I even talked to her pediatrician about our options. Alternatives include goat milk, almond milk, soy milk, and hemp milk. We are leaning more towards a plant based milk like hemp milk. I hadn’t heard much about it and I recently did a little research to see what was required to make it. I was surprised that you only need 3 ingredients!
Hemp Seed Milk
You can purchase hemp milk or you can make it at home. Hemp milk is a liquid that is made from hemp seeds. The ingredients used to make it are:
- Hemp seeds
- Dates or your choice of sweetener
- Dates (for sweetness) (optional)
- Vanilla extract (optional)
- maple syrup (for sweetness) (optional)
You will need a blender to grind up the hemp seeds. You will also need cheese cloth or something similar to drain the milk from the hemp seeds. Other than that, that’s it!
When choosing a milk alternative I think you should be aware of the price. If it is affordable for your family then go for it, if not, you may want to consider the next best thing. For us it’s fairly cheap to make hemp milk ourselves vs. buying it from a store. Hemp seed milk (Pacific Foods brand found at Target) costs about $3.39 for a 32oz container.
Cow’s milk (Walmart’s Great Value) costs about $1.99 for a gallon (128 oz). Do you see the huge difference here? 4 containers of hemp milk will cost about $13.56 to be equal to a gallon (128 oz) if you buy it by the 32oz container. That’s 6x the price of cow’s milk!!
If you can, make it yourself. Three ingredients, that’s all I’m saying!!
Sugars and unknown ingredients
Although there are alternatives to milk, you also want to be mindful of added sugars to sweeten the alternatives. Ask yourself is this an outrageous amount compared to other types of milk? Look at the ingredients, do you know what everything is? I’m not saying you need to screen every single thing your child consumes, but if you’re that type of person (it’s perfectly fine) then do it.
Here’s the ingredients for Pacific Foods Hemp Milk followed by Great Value’s whole cow milk ingredients.
Another huge difference. Cow’s milk has 2 ingredients listed while there are many ingredients in the hemp milk selected. Some of the ingredients are ones that I’ve never heard of.
Do your research!
Tricalcium phosphate is a calcium salt. From my research, it is found in calcium supplements and others have asked if it is safe to consume. The purpose of it is to help regenerate bones. Is this necessary in hemp seed milk? Too much calcium can have adverse consequences and can lead to hypercalcema. To me this means that the hemp milk does not have enough calcium in it on its own. (Source + read more here)
Disoduim phosphate is a food additive that enhances foods’ nutritional value and cooking properties. It’s in many foods like cheese, pasta, evaporated milk, and some chocolate.A In 2012, a study was done and it found that phosphates were bad for you. You can read the article from Heathline.com
Xanthan gum is a common food additive used as an effective thickening agent and stabilizer to prevent ingredients from separating (source + read more at Healthline.com
As you can imagine, you would be avoiding these ingredients if you prepare it yourself but if you add other ingredients you would need to check those labels to see what they contain. For example, if you added maple syrup to sweeten it, you would need to check that label unless it’s pure maple syrup.
I read an article that compared cow’s milk and to hemp seeds milk. Again, I was very surprised at the benefits and how it appears to be more nutritious than cow’s milk. I have talked to Kali’s pediatrician regarding cow’s milk alternatives and she also provided insight on what needs to be present (calcium, vitamin D, and protein).
Here is how they line up based on nutrients.
Based on 1 serving (1 cup)
Great Value : the nutritional facts for 236ml (bottom box)
– Protein: 8g
– Calories: 160g
– Carbs: 11g
– Total sugars: 10g
– Added sugars: 0
– Protein: 4g
– Calories: 140g
– Carbs: 19g
– Total sugars: 12g
– Added sugars: 12g
So there are differences mostly in the amount of protein. This version of hemp milk has half the amount of protein compared to whole cow’s milk.
To ensure your child is getting protein and other nutrients that they would get from milk, you can give them other food items like cheese or yogurt. If you choose to say no to dairy altogether then you could give them beef or meats, and if you choose no meat (vegan or vegetarian) you can look into peanut butter or lentils. Always talk to your child’s pediatrician before changing their diet.
What is your child drinking or eating now? What are your thoughts on cow’s milk, formula, table food, etc? Let’s chat!
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