Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Got Milk?

Becoming a new mom can be overwhelming, particularly if you are concerned with being a very good mom.  If you have this concern, you will likely spend a great deal of your prenatal time reading books and “Google-ing,” as I did.  What will then happen to you is this: you will have an overload of contradicting information and your brain will explode.  Okay, maybe not explode.  But you will no longer remember what you believe and you will spend countless middle of the night hours wondering what parts of the information you’ve acquired are important and what parts should be discarded.  What can you do to lower the risk of SIDS?  Should you co-sleep?  Should you use a bassinet or put the baby in the crib right away?  Should you wear your baby?  (This is a real thing, look it up.)  Should you use cloth or disposable diapers?  Is it okay that you don’t want to breastfeed?  What kind of bottles/pacifiers/diapers/wipes/etc are best?  As your baby gets older you’ll wonder, should I make homemade baby food or use store bought?  What’s organic and why do I care?  Is my baby getting enough formula?  Will I ever sleep a full night again?  Is cry it out the answer?  How much baby proofing is truly necessary?
Clearly, there is a lot to consider.  But a recent thread on Babycenter.com’s message boards really threw me for a loop.  On this thread there were mothers who claimed that it was harmful to give your child milk.  Yes, that’s right, milk.  They weren’t arguing about coffee, or poison, or vodka.  They were arguing about milk.  According to these women, milk is a dangerous and harmful substance that should be avoided at all costs.  It is full of antibiotics (aren’t those good?) and hormones and has been linked to frequent ear infections and even certain types of cancer.  These same women also believe that formula “more than doubles” the chance of infant death. 
Really?  As if there aren’t enough things to terrify mothers these days, now we have to fear milk?  What happened to milk being full of calcium and Vitamin D?  The good ‘ole days when milk-mustached celebrities wanted to know if we had any?  Preventing osteoporosis?  None of that rings a bell? 
Generations of human beings have been raised on milk, and most of us turned out to be relatively okay.  I say enough.  We cannot raise our children ruled by fear of giving them cancer.  Is this really the message we want to send to the newest generation; that everything we encounter is tainted and should be treated with trepidation?  Yes, there are germs.  Yes, there are things that cause cancer.  No, the world is not a perfect place.  But if we let fear rule our lives we will be missing out on the chance to live.  I’m not saying throw caution to the wind in every circumstance.  I’m just saying that as parents we need to take a deep breath and relax before our children end up in psychiatric offices getting prescriptions for Xanax because they are so fearful of the world that they can no longer function.  The anxieties over doing what is best for our children have to stop somewhere.  I vote that they stop with milk.

                                             (Yes, we're doing editorial shots now.)

1 comment:

Crunchy and Happy said...

I am a new mom myself and I am in the same boat as you. I read everything about raising my son safely and I am always encountering contradicting information. Add in what my family and friends think I should I do and the choices make my head spin.
But I do have to agree, for the most part, with the Baby Center thread. Milk was made for cows not for humans. Humans are actually the only mammals that continue to drink milk after weaning and the only mammals that drink the milk of other species.
Now you are correct in that generations have been raise on milk and have turned out ok, but never before has so much crap been incorporated into the production of milk. Long gone are the days of milking ol Bessie on the farm.
Overall, I do totally agree with you that we cannot live in fear. But I also believe that we cannot live in ignorance about what is going into out bodies.