What next after weaning from breast milk?

I was originally going to write a post listing all my findings on what milk or milk derivative to give to Sophia after I wean her off breast milk BUT I found MieVee’s (http://www.mummysreviews.com/2010/05/31/which-milk-is-better-part-1/) post on this topic which probably summarizes most of the pertinent facts better than I can. So I won’t reinvent the wheel.

The one thing I would highlight, which MieVee has also mentioned in passing in her post, is that I was surprised to find that there are also objections out there about pre and pro biotics and DHA / ARA added to formulas. I always thought these were the good stuff and was thinking of ways to include these in Sophia’s diet even though I’m not using formula (infant drops and natural sources). The natural sources are still good but it seems I should reconsider the drops and other artificial sources like infant cereal. See here for some links on the issue. No test has indicated any conclusive negative effects so far, it seems, but some of the facts sound scary. Like how a neurotoxic solvent is used to extract the DHA / ARA and traces may remain in the final product. Or how some studies have reported unexpected deaths among infants who consumed formula supplemented with DHA / ARA and also other illnesses like diarrhea that went away after switching to a formula without DHA / ARA. See, for example, these articles about DHA / ARA:

Moreover, even the studies which indicated improvement in brain and eye development in babies taking DHA / ARA supplements, the difference is small, especially as compared to the difference between breastfed and non breastfed babies. Which again seems to indicate to me that these added artificial substances are not absorbed as well as natural sources and, hence support my view that food should be kept as natural as possible.

Prebiotics and probiotics seem less problematic. At least they don’t seem to have the potential to do harm, they just probably does not do as much good as the formula companies make it sound. http://babygooroo.com/2010/05/are-added-prebiotics-worth-the-added-cost/

The more I read, the more I am reluctant to give up breastfeeding just yet. Actually, I should get rid of the thinking that breastfeeding needs to be all or nothing. I probably should still continue to pump at least once a day if not twice and only supplement whatever demand I can’t meet with fresh pasteurized whole cow’s milk.

However, as I have mentioned re latching vs pump and feed, Sophia is a very inflexible or stubborn baby. If she wants something she will try to get it. Therefore if I switch between breast milk and fresh milk, she will decide she likes one better and reject the other so that she will always get the one she likes. The only way to counter this is, as with the latching, to completely deny her one option so she eventually has to accept the other. It appears to me that she currently has a slight preference for breast milk which I suspect will just get stronger over time as her preference for latching did. If it gets to that then I suppose I may have to stop giving her any breast milk altogether and give only fresh milk. I wish there was a way to get her to understand the her behavior is only serving to deprive her of the good stuff……

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