If you are pregnant or lactating, you do not need special milk to help you grow the baby inside you, or to help you produce milk.
1. Milk companies have created a demand for milk for mothers (hereinafter referred to as MFM, since the more popular term "mother's milk" confuses people) by having OBs pushing these as VITAL to a pregnancy's success.
2. Milk companies are pushing the sale of MFM because the implementation of the Milk Code has affected their infant formula and toddler milk sales so they are diversifying to growing up milk (GUM), MFM and milk for senior citizens.
3. Some OBs get perks from milk companies when they push, prescribe, recommend or give away these MFMs to mothers.
4. Selling MFMs to mothers is also a cross-branding strategy by milk companies. Surveys have shown that parents are more likely to choose a formula brand from the same line (e.g. If a mother drank Enfamama, she will buy Enfalac for her baby, Enfagrow and and Enfakid for older children)
What They Don't Tell You:
1) Like formula, MFM contains high levels of sugar compared to regular cow's milk.
2) It was reported at One Asia Breastfeeding Partners Forum 2014 that pregnant mothers complaining of hypertension, gestational diabetes (GDM) and allergies (skin rashes) also presented as MFM drinkers. Within two weeks of being advised to stop drinking MFM, their conditions resolved.
3) There is a lot of anecdotal evidence at Breastfeeding Pinays (BFP) of pregnant moms asked to take MFMs who experienced rapid weight gain and failed their oral glucose tolerance tests. Some even had to suddenly go on diet in the last months of their pregnancy.
Truths to Remember:
1. Pregnant and lactating moms need a balanced diet and an extra 500 calories intake per child (generally, because I am not sure a mom carrying sextuplets need 3,000 extra calories, her body might not be able to process that much either).
2. Pregnant and lactating moms need THE SAME vitamins and minerals people normally need, most important of which is calcium, which can be derived from food sources. They do not need any special diet.
3. Nowhere in the history of human evolution did mothers NEED special milk just to have healthy pregnancies or abundant milk supply. Think of mothers who had to be pregnant and breastfeed before the days of clean water supply, modern plumbing, farming, medicine and in the midst of plagues, wars and less abundant food supply. MFMs are a new invention, and has only become popular/is being pushed more aggressively for the past 10 years.
4. Lactating moms also do not need milk to produce milk. Cows only eat grass. Lions only eat meat. We produce milk because we are mammals. The milk we produce is specifically designed for the needs of our young (in the case of cows, their calves need to grow big asap... in the case of humans, babies need to finish brain development first).
5. There are no studies yet (as far as I know) proving MFMs put mothers at risk for diabetes, hypertension and allergies for the simple reason that it will be unethical to ask mothers to take MFMs when they are already believed to be potentially harmful.
5. GDM/diabetes, even hypertension, will always be due to a number of factors (genetics, habits). However, one cannot deny that diet plays a huge factor in one's health. If you have a history (family or personal) of diabetes, food intake that is high in sugar will increase the odds of you developing the condition/getting sick.
6. MFMs are made from cow's milk which is not as easily digestible as fruits and vegetables (as calcium source). It also contains additives and preservatives. Cow's milk has also long been established as the top slow-acting allergenic food.
7. Milk has only become part of the worldwide diet after modern farming has allowed for excessive milk production by cows (which are pumped with hormones). Historically, the only ones who really used milk as part of their diet are people living in temperate countries, as milk digests more slowly (allowing people to feel warmer and fuller for a long time, especially during winter time).
8. A self-respecting doctor who has done his research would not prescribe MFMs to moms but would insist that moms eat healthy, natural food (as opposed to processed food, which MFM is). That will go a longer way in helping ensure a healthy pregnancy since real food will have biodigestible nutrients, fiber, water, etc.
9. A regular prescription of MFM affects a family's budget. Some moms also do not like drinking milk, or do not like the prescribed MFM but get scared (or guilt-tripped) into forcing themselves to drink MFM because they were advised by a doctor they trust to do so, for the health of their baby. That is a disservice to them when again, natural food sources offer a wide array of options and should be the automatic choice.
10. Should a mother ever want milk, any nut or soy milk or the usual fresh milk in 1-liter cartons should be good enough. Milk drinking for moms is not prohibited (unless there are special conditions) but it is also unnecessary.
11. When a pregnant mother develops GDM or hypertension, not only is it difficult and painful for her to suddenly go on a strict diet, her life and the baby's life is also put at risk.
Again... Nature had this system perfected already. Provided a mother eats healthy, gets plenty of rest and has the help she needs, she should be able to have a healthy pregnancy and sufficient milk supply.
Let us say NO to relatives, friends, doctors and milk companies who are pushing processed food our way when we should be eating healthy for two (or three).