We've got milk. We've got lots of it. But, ever since Operation Bottle Wean, the babies milk consumption has gone from a staggering 127.82 ounces (1 gallon) a day to a mere 4 ounces (1/2 a cup). There is ONE reason, and ONE reason alone that this significant reduction has occurred.
The receptacle from which the babies receive their milk has changed.
Out with the bottle. In with the sippy cup.
I know that our kids are getting adequate hydration because I'm still changing about 12 diapers a day. But, because I'm a "new" mom ... I worried endlessly that they weren't drinking the volume of milk that I thought they were suppose to be drinking. They need whole milk for the Vitamin D, calcium and probably most important - for the fat that is critical to their developing brains.
Everything I'd heard and read said that a toddler is *suppose* to consume between 12 and 20 ounces of milk a day. I'm lucky if over the course of a week ... our kids consume 20 ounces a milk ... across all THREE of them. So, despite every thing I'd tried - - including every kind of sippy cup on the market - - we were falling way short of the required consumption of this hugely important toddler dietary staple.
As I was debating what to do to get the kids to drink milk, minus their bottle, I stumbled across what I thought to be a wonderful piece of advice. Someone on a parenting board I visited had posted that their pediatrician recommended adding a scoop of Nestle Quick in to the baby's bottle. Why, that seems harmless enough. I'll give it a shot!
I didn't have Nestle Quick ... just a bottle of Hershey's. I added about 1 teaspoon per sippy cup ... and low and behold ... the babies sucked the whole thing down. Thinking this was a fluke, at the next feeding - I filled up their cups with milk again, added another dash of chocolate magic ... and again, they polished off their milk and looked ready for more. I called Charlie at the office.
"I figured it out!!! I figured out how to get the kids to drink their milk!!!"
"You're kidding?! What did you do?!"
I hesitated. "Well ... I added a tiny little dash of Hershey's syrup." I barely whispered the words.
"You've got to be joking. You're giving our babies chocolate milk?!"
He didn't whisper the words back.
"You ... YOU ... the one that won't feed them white bread or give them so much as a hot dog ... are giving our kids chocolate milk. You are unbelievable!"
"Yes. But. They are DRINKING it!"
"Of course they are! It's chocolate milk!!!"
Our milk consumption again soared to 1 gallon a day. The babies loved their milk. And I was loving the fact that they were getting the Vitamin D, calcium and fat for their developing brains. When they'd sit down in their highchairs they would frantically point at their sippy cups and point at the refrigerator. I thought that I had cracked the code and all was good in the world.
We went to visit the pediatric dentist.
I wasn't kidding when I said I felt like crawling under the table when I told her that the only way we could get the kids to drink their milk was to add a splash of Hershey's Syrup. You'd think that I'd confessed I drove around without putting them in their carseats and the car doors wide open. She told me that not only was chocolate milk bad because it was loaded in sugar ... I was also developing the babies taste for sweet foods, at an alarming rate.
Out with the chocolate milk. Down with the milk consumption.
I chatted briefly with our pediatrician, Dr. J, and layed out my concerns on this whole milk topic. ("Whole" being as it pertains to our overall milk consumption ... and "whole" being the kind of milk they should be consuming at this age). Dr. J, once again ... helped to ease my mind.
He told me that the reason the kids need to be drinking milk, is for the calcium. He said that if they aren't drinking milk ... give them orange juice fortified with calcium. So for the past week, every morning at breakfast the kids get a sippy cup filled with orange juice. They love it. Almost as much as they loved their chocolate milk.
We're still trying to get them to drink milk - - but we're not quite the stress cases we were last month. The babies are getting lots of yogurt (Yo-Baby made with whole milk), tons of cheese, and I've started giving them a fresh fruit smoothie made with a dollop of ice cream and whole milk in the afternoon as a snack. It's all good.
Regarding our sippy cups. We really tried every brand on the market. I've decided that my favorite are the simple Gerber plastic ones. My least favorite are the Nuby's. Maybe it's just me ... but I had a monster time getting the lids screwed on correctly. More than once, I'd hand a baby a cup, they'd turn it up to take a sip, and whatever was in their cup - - was now all over them.
It was because of the Nuby cup that Charlie instituted the "Curse Cup". Everytime one of us curses ... we have to put a quarter in the Curse Cup. Suffice to say ... I've put in almost $10.00 all thanks to the Nuby. Charlie's put in $0.50 because he dropped a bottle of beer ... on his toe.
The message I'm trying to send is that milk is not as critical to their diet as I thought it was. The primary reason I wanted to get the kids off the bottle was because I thought they were drinking too much milk - and not receiving enough nutrition from other food. Since we've discontinued the bottle, our kids eat like CHAMPS. And, I'm only now realizing that they are getting the Vitamin D, calcium and fat that they would be getting from milk (if they were drinking it), from other sources.
We're still working on their appreciation of milk ... just devoid of the chocolate magic.