Sunday, February 28, 2010


As Baby approached her first birthday, to be honest, I started counting down the days until we could stop breastfeeding. I had set a goal to breastfeed for her first year of life. It was a wonderful experience, especially when she was a sweet little newborn, but by the time she was a year old she was getting wiggly and bound to spring teeth any day (which didn't happen until 18 months, but who could have predicted that?). Plus, the grandparents were all excited for an overnight visit from Baby, and Nick and I started planning a weekend at a bed and breakfast. Baby had already started solid foods by then, of course, but a large portion of her nutritional needs would still be fulfilled with milk. With all of the controversy about milk these days, I began researching what option would be the best for my little girl.

Here's a very brief summary of what I learned about the current problems with cow's milk*. In an effort to make more money, many dairy farmers give their cows the artificial growth hormone rBGH, created by the corporation Monsanto (big surprise). This added hormone is banned in most of Europe and many other parts of the world. It's my understanding that rBGH increases milk production in cows, but because their bodies are often not able to handle the added milk, it can cause mastitis (an infection). To treat the mastitis, cows are given antibiotics, which theoretically pass into our milk and could potentially not be great for our health.

The other controversy related to rBGH is that the added hormones themselves may be bad for our health. Consumer advocate groups theorize that it can be a cause of early puberty in children. However, several studies have disproven this theory, and it seems that the rise in early puberty is more likely related to an increase in childhood obesity. It is, however, possible that rBGH may be linked to cancer in humans.

While much is still unknown, I decided that it was important to find a milk clear of rBGH for Baby. My criteria for The Ideal Milk was:
  • rBGH-free
  • Locally produced (for environmental and economic reasons)
  • Affordable
Now, I'm not going to list all of the options for milk available in Colorado Springs, because there are MANY, but I will name a few that I considered:
  • Robinson Dairy: While local and convenient (they deliver to your home), the prices were a bit high for the amount of milk we drink.
  • Organic milk available at the grocery store: Not locally produced and pretty expensive.
  • Raw milk from a local farmer: Although arguably the most healthful option for adults, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be fed only pasteurized dairy products. Plus, it's usually VERY expensive.
  • Colorado Proud milk: I shop at King Soopers, and Colorado Proud is the brand name of their cheapest milk. It's usually priced around $1.68 - $2.29 per gallon. Not only is it locally produced (I'm defining "local" as "Colorado" here), but it's rBGH free!
So, surprise, surprise, the least costly option ended up being the best choice for my family.

Now I'm curious: If you choose organic milk for your family, what is your reasoning? Am I missing something?

*I'm sorry, I can't quote sources for you...I think I learned the most from Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle", but I also did some internet research, and this was nearly a year ago so I don't remember where I found most of it.

1 comment:

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics probably has no problems with all the hormones, antibiotics and who knows what else in commercial milk. Please look at raw milk and go see both the commercial dairy and the local raw milk farmer and please educate yourself. In my experience, I have found that big organizations like mentioned in this blog, usually are on the side of big business, because that is where all of the lovely grant money comes from... Regards