We are getting close to the age that we can introduce milk to our babies. I have actually been thinking about this for the past couple months. I am not in a huge rush to push cow's milk on Avery, but someday I will be introducing it to her and I want to know what we're getting into...
It's obvious that girls today are entering puberty at a much quicker rate than we were a mere 10-15 years ago. And when we compare the size of girls today versus the size of girls in the early 1900's, the difference is staggering.
The Washington Post published an informative article a few years ago. This is actually where I first started reading and learning about the importance of eating/drinking organic. The article takes both points of view. It makes you think and causes you to choose which side of the fence you sit on.
The concern and main argument is over the hormone rBGH. While the WHO and the National Institute of Health conclude that the hormone does not show evidence of leading to cancer, they did not come back with significant data to demonstrate that it changes the way girls mature over time.
What makes me sad about this is that farmers are injecting cows with this hormone to increase the amount of milk a cow is producing. They want more milk at a quicker rate so their sales increase. I'm not willing to take the risk to give my daughter hormone-pumped milk in order to give a farmer more revenue.
I've spoken about females, but the article actually points out that boys are maturing at an accelerated rate as well. My mother-in-law is a high school teacher and has been for the past 16 years. I talked with her a while ago asking her if she noticed girls getting bigger over time. Incredibly was her response.
Why is this such a concern to me? Not only can early breast development lead to embarrasment among classmates (wearing a bra in 2nd grade?), but also the breast tissue has more time to develop breast cancer and the emotional aspects of puberty are nothing that a 9 year old should be faced with. Not to mention the size issue of growing large at a young age and only getting bigger over time (weight) could also lead to adult obesity.
Now, our budget does not allow us to go completely organic. Unfortunately there are not enough organic farmers out there. This drives the price up of all organic products, which leads to farmers being less willing to switch to organic. It's a Catch-22. What can we do? We, as a family, try to buy organic where we can and where we feel it matters most. Milk is one of those specialties, especially since having Avery.
For those living in California, Trader Joe's has an USDA certified organic milk for $1 less than the chain markets. Otherwise, Horizon Organic is a good brand. Just be sure to look for the USDA certified label on a carton. This ensures that your milk came from a cow that was NOT treated with hormones and fed on a grass and no-pesticide/insecticide diet. A grass-fed cow is much healthier than a grain-fed cow. This NY Times article is a good one about cows milk.
I won't get started on how the federal government will not offer organic milk on the WIC program. Ok, maybe a little bit. They consider it a luxury item and will not sponsor it because of the high cost. So, they offer the cheapest milk. The least they could do was sponsor a milk that was free of hormones, right?!
What are your thoughts?