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Formula emergency - cow's milk ok?

(29 Posts)
WhatWillSantaBring Sat 10-Sep-11 04:51:19

Hi all,

I'm on holiday in the USA, and we ran out of DD's formula. We bought some <runs to read label> "Similac Advance" but it has made her violently sick. I will try it again tomorrow morning, but if it still makes her sick, do you reckon we would be OK to use cow's milk as an emergency stop gap for the last three days of our holiday? In the resort we're in, I haven't seen any other brands of formula. [Also, as an aside, I'm shocked by the babyfood - nothing that even vaguely looks wholesome and organic a la Plum, Ella's Kitchen, Organix etc in the UK]

I know that cow's milk isn't suitable as a breastmilk substitute, but I thought that was because it's not nutritionally complete, rather than it being inherently bad. She takes cow's milk fine in cereal etc, and eats three good meals a day, so I figure that cow's milk will be ok for a few days. Oh yes, she's 9 months old, and I BF till 6 months.

Any information (such as facts as to why cow's milk isn't recommended till 1 year) gratefully appreciated.


harrietlichman Sat 10-Sep-11 04:57:09

No scientific facts from me I'm afraid but I'm sure it would be ok for a couple of days - I had to do the same when my son was under 12 months in a similar situation and he didn't suffer any hideous consequences! Enjoy the rest of your hol!

pinkytheshrinky Sat 10-Sep-11 05:04:57

I have to agree that I think it would be ok for a while. Remember the 'rules' are really broad brush and designed for global populations. This rule is to prevent poorer people in developing countries resorting to cheaper cows milk too early. In a well fed baby of your dds age this will do no harm for a while.

MigGril Sat 10-Sep-11 06:30:26

pinky - really I think you'll find the guid lines are there because not all baby's eat that well at 9months. Some will quit happly be eating enough solids to get most of there nutriane this way where as other will still need a lot of milk to meet this need as they aren't that intersted in solid food. Nothing to do with where you live.

For what it's worth as fromula is only a nutrianl subsitute then yes you can replace it with cow's milk for a short time if he's eating solids well. It wouldn't be ok to do this with a baby who's still having a lot of milk though.

TheRealMBJ Sat 10-Sep-11 06:36:58

Cow's milk is too high in salt and protein to be effectively processed by a baby's kidneys under a year if given as the main drink.

As an emergency substitute, a single bottle of cow's milk at 9 months will not be a major issue.

It is very interesting to note that there has never been any studies looking at the difference between feeding infants formula/cow's milk., so although formula is theoretically better as a substitute for breast milk as it has been modified, there is no proof that it definitely is.

TheRealMBJ Sat 10-Sep-11 06:39:26

Oh, and where are you travelling in the US? They definitely do have different brands, similac's major competitor is enfamil (in the us)

ballstoit Sat 10-Sep-11 06:40:43

Pinky is right...UK guidelines were changed to be in line with those of the World Health Organisation. They say formula til 12 months due to poor nutrition from solid food available in the developing world, and also to encourage breastfeeding (which again is recommended for longer now to comply with WHO Guidelines).

The answer to your question is, she'll be fine for a few days, particularly if the alternative formula is going to make her be sick...she'll miss out on more nutrition if she's puking 3 times a day.

MigGril Sat 10-Sep-11 06:49:53

ballstoit - but it is quit comman for some babies to not be that intersted in solids even at 12months so it's not just poor nutritain in the developed world you could have a baby who is well estabilished on solids at 9months and they would be fine. A lot are but some just arent that interested at that age so they would still need formula or wouldn't get enough nutritian.

Georgimama Sat 10-Sep-11 06:50:37

Make sure it is full fat cows milk and she will be fine for a few days (years back the advice was BF/FF until 6 months and then cows milk was fine for drinking and cooking with for a baby).

ballstoit Sat 10-Sep-11 07:01:42

The guidelines don't take into account individuals...if they did they wouldnt have an age at all, IYSWIM. They would be given by weight, or percentage of birthweight gained, or in physical milestones such as holding head. They are given as an age, and the upper age at that, to protect babies worldwide.

As TheRealMBJ explains, there is no research which proves that formula is better at all, never mind til what age.

RitaMorgan Sat 10-Sep-11 07:17:13

As has been said, cow's milk is too high in sodium and too low in iron/vitamins as a main drink, but I would probably go with it for 3 days. I'd keep the rest of her food salt free though.

SkiBumMum Sat 10-Sep-11 07:23:48

We had exactly the same experience in Canada. Gave FF cows milk for the two wk holiday as hadn't taken much formula with us for luggage weight reasons. DD was 8m at the time. She was fine - in fact her reflux dramatically improved! The fun started when we got back and there was no way she was going back to stinky formula.... Fortunately she was a good eater of solids so we decided not to beat ourselves up about it.

Agree with you re baby food over there. Vile! DD ate lots of bagels with smushed up banana or avocado etc and we ate lots of pasta out. It's hard staying in a hotel isn't it?

MigGril Sat 10-Sep-11 07:24:12

They are given as an age, and the upper age at that, to protect babies worldwide. - That's actually the point I was trying to make really, but you can't just say it's due only to poor nutritian in developing countries as poor nutritian isn't limited to developing countries as I'm sure the WHO is well aware of, so I'd be very supprised if it actually say's that anywhere in there guid lines.

But if you'd like to point me to where it does say that I'd like to have a read.

Iggly Sat 10-Sep-11 07:27:41

I didn't think the guidelines had anything to do with developed vs developing countries. It's about the cows milk being too salty, too low in nutrients etc because milk is the main source of nutrition until 1ish by which time a baby generally would be having more solids (generally, obviously not every baby will be).

WhatWillSantaBring Sat 10-Sep-11 07:28:45

Cheers guys,

Just used the last of her regular formula and she's now sleeping, so will see what gives tomorrow morning.

It may not be the best, but I'm sure it won't do her any harm, and better that than her puking constantly!

Thank you!

Iggly Sat 10-Sep-11 07:32:16

telegraph article on cows milk for babies

Georgimama Sat 10-Sep-11 07:34:22

But who on earth is going to give a baby 25 fluid ounces of cows milk per day? We're talking about three days emergency milk for a nine month old.

ballstoit Sat 10-Sep-11 07:38:08


MigGril Sat 10-Sep-11 07:43:01

Iggly - That's kind of what I was trying to say is that WHO guid lines apply to everyone, no matter what counrty you live in for good reasion. I guess I have a bee in my bonite about this as a lot of people apply it to there BF advice and say that feeding untill 2 is really only for developing countries when it isn't.

I'm well aware you can subsitute FOOD for formula in a baby who's eating well and just give a resable amount of dairy instead as formula is just a food subsituete. BUT for lot's of reasions if a baby doesn't eat well you can't just give cow's milk instead of formula for a prolonged period of time, it doesn't conatine enough nutriantes as a complelet food.

As an emerancgy stop gap for 3day's it's probably not a problem.

ballstoit Sat 10-Sep-11 07:47:46

This one explains the rationale for the advice on formula or breast til a year. It's not linked to sodium or protein being too high in cows milk, but iron being too low. I can't link to some of the studies because they're on pay per view in journals. The crux is that the USA and many European countries have not adopted WHO guidelines as there was not strong enough evidence base...there is an emerging evidence base that the new guidelines are causing rather than reducing eatiing and health difficulties.

ballstoit Sat 10-Sep-11 07:51:29

MigGril - strangely WHO guidelines have not been adopted worldwide...precisely because they are not based on enough evidence for manyy countries to support them confused. I find the whole thing really patronising, parents are given blanket 'one size fits all' advice, because we are not trusted to weigh up our children's individual needs.

MigGril Sat 10-Sep-11 07:52:59

GRRR that flipine review is the vain of my life. THERE IS NO NEW EVEIDANCE, its a revivew of paper's that have already been reviewed by the WHO and I'm not sure why you've even linked it' hear as it's not relevent to this discusion at all.

This is what the WHO had to say about that one

ballstoit Sat 10-Sep-11 08:09:51

It is relevant in my view, because it is only since recommending 6 months for weaning that the 12 month recommendations for cows milk as a drink were introduced. They're linked because the only concern with cows milk instead of formula, is the lack of iron. If babies are weaned on to a good, varied diet, there is no reason to continue with formula. The arguments for extended breastfeeding are not the same as the ones for extended formula are they? You've linked to a's not a study.

ballstoit Sat 10-Sep-11 08:12:02

Your arguments for extended breastfeeding are the ones which are irrelevant here...ops asking about replacing formula not breastmilk.

MigGril Sat 10-Sep-11 08:22:17

Not baised on enough evidance, the WHO reviewed over 3000 studies to come up with there guidlines for exculsive BF till 6 months. Many of thesse where carried out in developed countries, I'm not saying there woun't be new evidance in the fuature just that there isn't any yet.

Sorry Op this really isn't relevent to your qestion.

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