Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ask and answer

Hello friends,

A quick post today to respond to one of the comments on my post on Rachel's new meal plan. I felt that the commenter probably represented a good number of parents in Singapore so I hope that by posting my response here for everyone, it might provide some additional insight into our choices for Rachel.

This was the comment:

It is a whole new idea to skip formula milk during the day at any caregiver's place and on milk (bm) at night. Your PD gives a different perspective from what other PDs mention with respect to milk is a must for calcium needs.
Have you considered full cream fresh/UHT milk?
Sippy Cup vs Straw Cup - any difference on dental hygiene?


Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for your comment, which I very much appreciate.

I'm flattered that you may have thought that I'm such an innovative person but really, it is not a whole new idea to rely on breastmilk and solids at this stage when Rachel is coming to 16 months. In fact, the World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding up till 6 months and then breastfeeding with other food up till two years. The plan is to progress from (1) breastmilk to (2) breastmilk and solid foods then (3) to solid foods by the time she is two. This plan is, in no way at all, a whole new idea and it is in no way an idea that I came up with. Believe me, I won't do something like this unless I have researched the hell out of it. You can do some reading on this. Weaning, nutrition, there's so much information readily available.

I acknowledge it's not the norm in Singapore not to buy formula milk but to me, it's more of a cultural habit. Our son, Ryan, is on breastmilk and formula milk, so we are very much adopting the habit in his case and we are certainly not rebelling against the cultural norm, although I will say that, if Ryan was more interested in solids, we would definitely be relying less on formula milk. We just didn't have much of a choice in his case.

Having said that, I have to disagree when you say milk is a "must" for calcium needs. The "must" is the calcium and the vitamin D, not the milk itself. Milk is a good source of calcium but it is not the only source available. Not everyone is able or happy to take milk so it can never be a "must" otherwise these people would be severely malnourished! Milk is a convenience, because milk is so readily available and such a rich source, but again, not a "must". There are many other sources of calcium in food - yoghurt, cheese, soy, bread, fortified orange juice, etc. and for older children, supplements can be considered. Again, you can do some reading on this. Lots of information available.

My PD is not the only PD with this view, I'm sure, because it's a scientific fact which is undeniable - milk is not the only source of calcium. I'd be interested to know who the other PDs you mentioned are who believe that milk is a "must" for children of Rachel's age because they would be misinforming the parents and, frankly, scaring them. I wouldn't be consulting such PDs on anything - who knows what other misinformation they are disseminating.

Incidentally, my gynae also shares the same view as our PD. My gynae goes one step further to say that dairy milk is actually harmful to humans, whether infants or adults. He even removes the samples of formula milk from the free goodie bags that promoters leave at his clinic for his patients! Heh heh. 

As for fresh milk/UHT, yes I considered it and ruled it out.

As I mentioned previously, I'm not against milk or dairy products. My son, Ryan, is on formula milk (and breastmilk). I myself enjoy a milky cup of Milo and, when I have tea, it is always with milk. It was simply that, in Rachel's case, for various reasons which I outlined in my post, we felt that this arrangement would be best. It compels us to move forward and to progress, whereas Ryan has truly hit a brick wall in terms of his diet. Your child may be different, your circumstances may be different and I am in no way saying that all parents should do the same. I do, nevertheless, want to clarify that this plan of ours not to rely on formula milk is supported by tons of nutritional research and is, in fact, the norm in many countries. It takes a little more effort, given our usual Asian diet, but I don't mind that.

With regard to sippy vs the straw, both are only temporary measures until the child learns to use a regular cup, so in terms of dental hygiene, I would not be worried if I clean her teeth regularly. If you need to compare, straw cups are better than sippy cups for dental hygiene and for teeth development. Rachel is currently using a straw cup for water at her nanny's and at home. We are training her at home to use a regular cup as well so once she is good with it, she can use a regular cup if she wants milk (or other beverages) at her nanny's place. 

Hope that clarifies.




Sherlyn said...

Hi Leona, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I do agree with you and Dr Chan that milk has been quite "commercialized" in a way. I still recall how he questions what sort of nutrition we get when cows eat grass. Heheh..

Like Ryan, my 3 year old boy has been fussy with his solids. Would love to hear any thoughts on how to encourage preschoolers to eat without distractions like the iPhone and iPad. Am hoping to correct this with my second kid, including giving the cup much earlier as my elder son is still stuck with his bottle!

Pinkie Pirate said...

Hi Sherlyn, yes - Dr Chan and his anti-milk campaign! I know it well hahaha! He looks the picture of health so can't disagree with him! Ooooh - picky eater, we are in the same boat huh! Ok, let me put together a post on our mealtime strategy, as requested...!

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