In the process of birthing her child, opening up to allow life to pass through her and howling or whimpering along with thousands of other human mothers and multitudes more female creatures, a woman feels a primal connection to her animal nature. Herein is sparked an unspoken understanding of The Mother Code: all mothers worldwide, of all ages and races and species, learn this unspoken language in their gut and communicate it with their hearts.
This Code is founded upon an equal, shared love for our babies, a desire for the best for our babies — and what’s best for our babies is, by protective feature of Mother Nature, likewise best for us. The Code recognizes another mother’s profundity of pain when her child is hurt or lost, and it celebrates her joy when motherhood is thriving. It sees the essential closeness of mother and baby as gold; the syncing of their bodies and spirits as fact.
As a breastfeeding mother, you know the depth of emotions that make breastfeeding possible. You know the struggle when it doesn’t work, and when it gets painful and exhausting and when we face external obstacles. You know the anxiety when questioning whether your body ‘works,’ whether biology has failed you or if you’re ‘woman enough’ to handle the pressure of this responsibility. You know the Breastfeeding Mother Code.
Lactation works the same in all mammals. Emotions and hormones are the fuel for the mechanics of lactogenesis, a natural triumph of a nurturing, healing system that has secured mammalian survival since, well, the evolution (or divine creation) of mammaries.
So keep this Code in mind, because now it’s time to talk about dairy cows.
Not Your Mom, Not Your Milk
As breastfeeding mothers, we want to be viewed as more than just a food source. The breast milk we work tirelessly to produce and willingly give, is more than just food.
A mother cow’s milk is more than just food for her baby, and certainly not food for us. It is hers; it is tirelessly produced and willingly given to her baby, when she’s granted that chance. When a dairy cow’s baby is ripped away shortly after birth, the baby is fed a milk replacer and mother’s milk is then sold to humans as cheese, yogurt, desserts, and countless other non-essential products.
I wouldn’t enjoy someone else stealing my milk. I wouldn’t like someone forcing me to continue making milk by hooking my breasts to metal machines that painfully knead it out of me.
I knocked over 10 ounces of pumped breast milk once and I just about lost it. That was a rock bottom moment for me, five whole years ago, but the memory alone brings back that feeling of a ton of bricks falling into my stomach. Imagine how an enslaved dairy cow feels when her own breast milk is lost, year after year, baby after baby.
A cow’s daughters will suffer the same fate to become milk slaves, forcibly raped to induce pregnancies — unless they’re part of a surplus, in which case they will be rendered for cheap beef. Like their mothers, they will never know the peace and fulfillment of satisfying their baby with lovingly made milk. They will never know the oxytocin rush of seeing, smelling, and feeling their babies — the hormone high that causes their milk to letdown.
Mother cows have been seen bellowing and wailing for their babies for days after they’ve been carted away for no better reason than money in one person’s pocket and a cheese quesadilla on someone else’s plate.
The Dairy Addiction
In America, the consumption of dairy is such a normalized practice that, despite mounting evidence that dairy is harmful to human health, it’s still heavily promoted by the food industry, government, and even medical practitioners. Yet we don’t think to drink bear milk or dog milk because it seems weird, right? What’s different about a cow?
Cow milk is produced by female cows for their babies. It isn’t biologically meant for humans to drink (or consume in other dairy forms) at any age.
There are many documented ill health effects associated with drinking cow milk at any age, including increased risk of acne, allergies, arthritis, various cancers, colic, constipation, coronary heart disease, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, dementia, ear infection, food poisoning, gallstones, kidney disease, lactose intolerance, migraine, multiple sclerosis, overweight/obesity, and osteoporosis.
Where Dairy Comes From
If you knew about how today’s dairy cows live, you’d understand why their milk has become so unsavory. Being kept in close quarters in horrible conditions, many dairy farmed cows are riddled with infection and disease such as brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis, foot and mouth disease, painful engorgement, viral pneumonia and Johne’s disease plus the breast infection mastitis, which affects about half of UK dairy cows and is a top cause of their premature death.
Dairy farms so extensively manipulate the female reproductive system that resident cows produce 12 times more than they naturally would for their own calf.
A cow’s body responds to mastitis by “generating white blood cells (somatic cells) which migrate to the affected area in an effort to combat the infection. These cells, along with cellular debris and necrotic (dead) tissue, are a component of pus and are excreted into the milk” (Viva! Health). One teaspoon of cow’s milk can contain two million pus cells, based on the amounts legally allowed in dairy products sold for human consumption.
Not all cows with mastitis show any physical symptoms of infection. That means they are left untreated and their milk makes it to the store shelf on time for human consumers to purchase.
You’ve seen the “Organic,” “Pasture-Raised,” “Grass-Fed,” “Humanely Raised,” “Humane Certified,” “Small/Family Farm” labels.
Yuppie bullshit, as they say.
Only 10% of U.S. dairy cows are not confined almost entirely indoors. On these few farms who “take good care of their animals” and pride themselves on high welfare practices, cows still conceive their babies artificially. They still endure forced pregnancies. They still have their bodily fluids relentlessly milled. They still endure breast infections caused by stress and being overmilked. They still get separated from their calves. (‘Humane’ farms tend to do this within an hour after birth because it’s considered easier for everyone if they aren’t given a chance to bond). They still aren’t allowed to live out their natural lifespan. Because they are still eventually slaughtered.
Just because a package of bovine milk product is labeled with a picture of a laughing, happy cow in a green field next to a cock-a-doodling rooster under the sun doesn’t mean this is reality. Those in the marketing field refer to it as “Feel-good” labeling.
Meals of fresh grass instead of GMO corn and byproducts don’t change these facts. Neither do belly rubs and baths, access to outdoors, visits with veterinarians. The cows are looked after because they generate unbelievable profits, at no one’s expense but their own.
True animal lovers don’t exploit animals, they show them mercy. Now, not all humans love animals, that is certain. But we don’t have to love animals to respect them, just like we don’t have to love other humans to understand they deserve basic rights to bodily autonomy and freedom from threat of unprovoked murder.
Betrayal of Motherhood
Trafficking, violence, rape, murder: the majority of mothers would be appalled to know these crimes occur every day this in the world, regardless which species endures them, or to know it takes all of this to bring an unnecessary, unhealthy, costly food item to a single plate.
Cows are sensitive, intelligent beings who feel pain, joy, loss, love. They mourn, hold grudges against those who wronged them, give excellent care to their young, have friends and families and long-term memory.
They are mothers, just like us. It’s important to note we are human mothers, which means we are stewards of this planet and the caretakers of the most vulnerable beings: babies, animals, victims… Many times, all of these at once. We’re all in this together, and so we must stand up for all nursing mothers.
When Weaning a Child From Breast Milk
Cow’s milk is the breast milk of a species that needs its young to gain weight expeditiously and, secondarily, to develop a brain that has the capacity to understand life within the limits of cow and its natural behaviors.
Human milk is designed to rapidly develop the brain first because it’s in the best interest of our species’ chance for survival; followed then by stable weight gain rather than a focus on rapid gain, which is not ideal for human babies.
Human babies can start out drinking their own mother’s milk, then eventually be introduced to water, alternative milks (listed at bottom of post), and/or other drinks as desired. Plant-based dairy products can be found just found everywhere these days!
It’s interesting then, how many pediatricians continue to push cow’s milk and bovine-based follow-on milk for children age one and up.
YOU HEARD: “Your baby will stop gaining weight as quickly unless she switches to whole cow’s milk.”
TRUTH IS: The weight determining factors (proteins and fats) are very different in both types of milk and for very good reasons. While the percentage of fat in both milks is similar, human milk has high levels of brain-building ‘smart fats,’ while a cow’s milk is heavy with body-plumping saturated fats (DHA/ARA aren’t naturally present at all in cow’s milk!). Cow’s milk contains more than twice the amount of protein as human milk, and 80% of it is in the form of hard-to-digest casein, which is also linked to various diseases and allergies.
YOU HEARD: “Breast milk isn’t as nutritious for babies as whole cow’s milk after age one.”
TRUTH IS: A human infant’s natural development process does not suddenly stop when guests arrive for the child’s first birthday party. Calcium is four times higher in cow milk than human milk. Seems like that means it’s more nutritious, right? Well, maybe for a baby cow that needs to grow a much larger skeleton — and quickly. Even if you wanted your baby to receive a large dose of calcium, human milk is the better choice because calcium has higher bio-availability in mom’s milk than moo’s milk, which means a greater amount is actually absorbed. Iron is also more than two-thirds lower in cow milk than in human milk; this is an especially vital nutrient as babies run out of sufficient body stores of iron sometime during their first year.
“The high protein, sodium, potassium, phosphorus and chloride content of cow’s milk present what is called a high renal solute load; this means that the unabsorbed solutes from the diet must be excreted via the kidneys. This can place a strain on immature kidneys forcing them to draw water from the body thus increasing the risk of dehydration. The renal solute load of infants fed cow’s milk has been shown to be twice as high as that of formula fed infants (Martinez et al., 1985).”
YOU HEARD: “Whole cow’s milk is safer to drink than human breast milk.”
TRUTH IS: Safer for whom? A majority of the world’s population is lactose intolerant, meaning they cannot process lactose after weaning age. The ability to process this with the enzyme lactase in adulthood is actually a rather modern evolutionary trait. More than 90% of Asians, 65-70% of Africans, and interestingly only 10% of Caucasians are lactose intolerant.
Cow milk, the base of most formula, is both a common allergen for human babies and a well-documented intestinal irritant by nature (colic, anyone?). In fact, most health authorities recommend against introducing cow’s milk to an infant under the age of one — though many doctors often recommend that a child should switch to cow’s milk or as they call it “whole milk” (but breast milk IS “whole” milk!) at precisely one year.
Early consumption of cow’s milk is a known cause of rectal bleeding in infancy, which can lead to iron loss and eventually anemia since cow’s milk is already low in iron itself.
In regard to cow milk consumption by breastfeeding mothers, this study linked it to sleep apnea in infancy and SIDS:
“Casomorphin is one of the opioid compounds formed in our stomachs when we drink milk. Infant apnea refers to when a baby stops breathing. The researchers ‘report a case of a breast-fed infant with recurrent apnea episodes, which have always been preceded by his mother’s consumption of fresh cow’s milk.’ Lab tests revealed a high level of casomorphin in the child’s blood, leading researchers to speculate that it was the ‘opioid activity that may have a depressive effect on the respiratory center in the central nervous system and induce a phenomenon called milk apnea.’”
“Bovine casomorphin from cow’s milk is suspected to increase the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome, or crib death) based on the elevated blood levels in babies suffering acute life-threatening events, and their relative inability to clear it from their systems.” – Michael Greger M.D. FACLM
There have also been studies associating casomorphin liberation from proteins in cow’s milk with autism, type I diabetes, postpartum psychosis, circulatory disorders, and food allergies.
“Milk from cows and goats is quite different in composition than human breast milk and, therefore, should not be fed to human infants.” – Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
You have the power and strength to make the change!
Google “downed cow” and “spent cow.” After several years being used as a milk machine, many cows collapse and never get back up. The natural lifespan of a cow is 20-25 years, but only 4-5 years for a dairy farmed cow.
Google “spiked nose ring” and “calf weaner.” This inhumane device prevents a calf from being physically capable of nursing. Read about it here.
While you’re at it, Google “rape racks.” Dairy industry cows must be pregnant or have recently given birth to be able to produce milk (they carry their babies for nine months just like humans). They do not conceive naturally. While being restricted of movement or escape, they are forcibly inseminated by employing a person to put their arm deep into her anus to manipulate her cervix, then insert an “AI gun” instrument into her vagina to inject her with bull semen (gathered prior in a number of violating ways, such as manually).
Dairy industry is pro-abortion. Millions of dairy cows are killed every year in the U.S. (tens of millions globally) for meat processing once they’re ‘spent.’ Because their reproductive systems are artificially manipulated, many are pregnant at the time of slaughter (a study showed 3% are heavily pregnant in the final trimester). In these cases, they watch and feel as their babies are cut out of their wombs and aborted on the slaughterhouse floor; the mother’s own neck is slit during this process. If the mothers are killed first, their babies suffocate in the womb and their bodies are thrown into the garbage.
Veal industry = dairy industry. If you’re against the slaughter of calves for veal, it doesn’t make sense to support the dairy industry. Veal calves are the male babies of dairy cows. In some parts of the world they are also killed for calf leather, and starved with mouths roped shut before being skinned.
Dairy contributes to environmental destruction. The industry is a significant cause of methane emission, a greenhouse gas seven times more potent than carbon dioxide.
A few videos to get started:
- The Dairy Industry in 60 Seconds
- Separation of mother & calf on small, ‘humane’ dairy farm
- Cruelty on farm for popular Daisy sour cream
- Pregnant cow & baby slaughter
- Nearly born calves of pregnant, slaughtered cows
- Baby calf tries to get back to mother
- Emaciated, exhausted dairy cows
- Dairy pushed in schools
Don’t miss these documentaries:
Got milk? Try coconut, almond, flax, hemp, soy, pea, macadamia, oat, rice, walnut, cashew, hazelnut, banana, pistachio, and other plant-based milks.
Dairy-free versions of yogurt, shredded and sliced cheese, cream cheese, ice cream, and other traditional dairy items can be purchased commercially at your usual grocery store.
There are also tons of recipes online to “veganize” literally any dish that typically contains dairy. If you’re not into processed stuff and prefer homemade cheese and such, there are lots of plant-based cookbooks to help you out!
- “Breastfeeding: Human Milk Versus Animal Milk” – NutritionMD
- “Calorie and fat content of various milks” – KellyMom
- “Cow’s Milk Casomorphin, Crib Death, and Autism” – Michael Greger M.D. FACLM
- “The Truth About Milk: Read” – Dave Rietz
- “When breastmilk turns to water and a cow makes better milk than you do” – Lakeshore Medical Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic
- Colostrum Feeding and Management on U.S. Dairy Operations – USDA
- “The Welfare of Cows in the Dairy Industry” – Humane Society of the United States
- Dairy Industry Facts – PETA
- What You Need To Know About Humane Dairy – Humane Facts
- The Myth of Happy Dairy Cows – Humane Facts