Transitioning a one-year-old to Milk

When my daughter turned 1, it was time to switch her over from breast milk to whole milk. I knew that I was definitely going to give her organic cow’s milk because I did not want her to be exposed to the potential hormones in non-organic milk.  At first I thought all organic milks were equal, but it didn’t take me long to find out there were many differences among brands.  I’m not here to promote a certain brand, I’m just going to tell you my experience.

After about a week of her drinking whole milk full-time, I noticed that her digestion was just not right.  According to  Chinese food theory milk is cold, damp and damages the Spleen (the main organ for digestion in TCM).  My daughter started to display the key symptoms – frequent, loose bowel movements, gas and a distended abdomen.  Since I knew that  milk was going to remain a major part of  her diet over the next year or so, I wanted to find a way to aid her digestion while still giving her the nutrition that she needs to grow and develop.

I began researching and found that all organic milk is not the same.   There is raw (which I was personally not comfortable giving to my child), name-brand, store-brand and then local.  After trying several name and store-brands with no success, I chose Straus Family Creamery who bottles their own cream-topped whole milk in reusable glass bottles.  Their milk is pasteurized but not homogenized.  Immediately after switching her over to this local (San Francisco area), organic, sustainable milk her digestion improved ten-fold.  She went back to having one to two regular bowel movements a day with much less gas and bloating.

Even though I thought I was giving her the best milk because the name and store brands were organic, they were still highly processed and not easy for her immature digestive system to digest.  Just comparing the milks side-by-side showed their differences – the name and store brands were waterier and did not contain any of the natural cream that whole milk should.  Although I now have to go to specialty stores to get her milk, I think it’s well worth it.  Her digestive system will thank me for years to come.


If, after testing out several different brands of milk, your child still has digestive issues you may want to get them tested for lactose intolerance.  If they are not intolerant, you may want to find a local creamery and try out their products.  Another trick is to serve the milk warm (which I always do) to help aid in the digestive process.  You can also add warming spices to the milk such as cinnamon, cardamom &/or nutmeg to offset milk’s cold, damp properties.


A toddler needs about 18-24 oz of milk each day to meet their dietary requirements.  Luckily, my daughter gulps it down with no fuss, but if your child is fussy about drinking it, here are some tips to sneak it into their diet:

  • Make a smoothie with milk, ice, banana & berries – not only will they drink their milk, but they will get a full serving of fruits as well!
  • Make a milk-based soup like cream of broccoli, asparagus or mushroom – another good way to sneak in their veggies!
  • Make mashed sweet potatoes, cauliflower (looks just like regular potatoes) or potatoes mixed with spinach or kale to up the nutrient value.
  • Make “creamsicles” by blending their milk with fruit then freezing in Popsicle molds – a great summer-time treat!

If you would like more nutrition tips for your child, we offer pediatric consultations at our downtown Walnut Creek, CA office.

About Jenna Ferraiolo

Jenna is a CA state licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) and a nationally certified Diplomat of Oriental Medicine (Dipl. O.M.). She graduated Summa Cum Laude with her bachelor's in Fitness and Cardiac Rehabilitation/Exercise Science from Ithaca College in New York. After graduation Jenna worked as a Medical Assistant in a Cardiology practice in Hartford, CT. Looking for a more integrative approach to health care, she then went on to obtain her Masters from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM). During her time at PCOM, she worked with HIV/AIDS patients at UCSD’s Owen Clinic and also with NCAA athletes at the UCSD campus. In 2006 she had the opportunity to travel to Beijing, China to study in several area hospitals with Traditional Chinese Medical Doctors. In 2008, Jenna had another amazing opportunity and was able to travel to Uganda to volunteer with the PanAfrican Acupuncture Project. While there, she trained both Traditional health care workers and hospital nurses on how to utilize Acupuncture to help treat the symptomology of HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria. She also traveled to refugee camps at the southern border of Uganda to treat refugees from several neighboring African countries. Immediately after graduation, Jenna worked with Neuro Acupuncture Associates in Carlsbad, CA inside of an internationally-renowned, non-profit Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation center for 2 years. In December 2010, she moved to Northern California and co-founded Earth and Air Wellness in Walnut Creek. Jenna is committed to educating her clients on the many benefits of using natural methods to obtain optimal health. In all aspects of her life, she tries to live by example by eating a nutritious, well-rounded organic diet and getting regular exercise including yoga. Since having her first child in 2010 and seeing the positive impact it has had on her daughter, she has gained an interest in treating pediatric patients with TCM.
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2 Responses to Transitioning a one-year-old to Milk

  1. Jo-Ann Metzdorff says:

    You could also continue to nurse her. Societal norms frown upon nursing past infancy but nursing a toddler provides not only protection against certain allergies and illnesses, but studies have shown that it can possibly be very beneficial to the mother as well.

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