My one-year-old son is nursing. At his one year checkup the pediatrician said he should be drinking whole milk. We reminded him that our son is allergic to dairy and he suggested a soy formula. I told him I was still nursing but he said there was no way to know how much breastmilk he was taking in. I don't want to feed my son artificial baby milk. Is it necessary for a child who is still nursing to drink supplemental cow's milk or soy milk?
Congratulation on continuing to nurse your baby! If your baby still breastfeeds regularly, and is expanding his interest in solid foods, he does not require any additional milk (cow's milk or soy.) Your milk remains absolutely perfect for your baby as long as you continue to nurse.
Adding healthy foods such as broccoli, spinach, kale, apricots, figs, beans and chick peas to your baby's diet will help to assure that your baby meets his daily calcium requirements. It is highly unlikely that your nursing toddler would suffer from calcium deficiency even without the addition of these calcium-rich foods.
Many societies throughout the world remain very healthy without ever drinking cow's milk once weaned from the breast. Remember that milk is species specific. Cow's milk is intended for baby cows, who grow much faster than human babies and have very different nutritional needs. Because your baby has already exhibited signs of allergy, I would not recommend the addition of any dairy products to your baby's diet at this time. Soy [and other nut] products are also highly allergic, particularly for babies who have already shown a sensitivity to cow's milk.
Just as you did not know the exact amount of your milk that your baby was taking in his first year of life, you do not need to know the precise amount now. In the first year you watched your baby's output and pattern of weight gain, growth and development. This assured you that your baby was receiving the amount of your milk needed for optimal health.
If your baby's pediatrician is still concerned, ask that he schedule more frequent checks of your little one's growth and development throughout his second year of life. If your baby begins to fall to a lower percentile on the growth charts over a period of several months, this may be a red flag, indicating the possibility of a nutritional deficiency, otherwise, everything is as it should be.
A healthy and varied diet of nutrient dense foods, in addition to breastmilk, provides your baby with everything he needs. Best wishes!
The Baby Bond [book]
The Baby Bond [website]
The China Study [book]
The Deadly Influence of Formula in America
Don't Drink Your Milk [book]
The Downside to Feeding Your Child Cow's Milk
Dr. Sears on Cow's Milk
Should Children Drink Cow's Milk?
Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth about Cow's Milk and Your Health [book]
image from Health 101