Doctor's Note

Isn’t that horrifying about the open heart surgery? I’ve grown more and more cynical over the years, but it still shocks me how terribly wrong the medical profession can be, in the face of overwhelming evidence and basic common sense. Now that graduating medical school classes are approximately 50/50 women and men, I hope things will change for the better.

More on dairy in infancy and childhood:

More on healthy pregnancies:

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  • Wade Patton

    Folks still look at me askance when I mention that moo cow milk dairy (CMD) is bad. The sales program of such has been, and continues to be a great snow job. It’s a real shame. Shame on our ignorance.

    • Joe Caner

      If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. – Joseph Goebbels

      Now repeat after me:
      Milk, it does a body good. Milk, it does a body good. Milk, it does a body good. etc, etc, etc.

      • Wade Patton

        Fixed it, “Milk, it does nobody good.”

        Feel free to redistribute.

      • Julot

        Human milk is very good for babies though. ;D

        • Joe Caner

          True that.

        • Karl

          Good point addendum: milk is made for the babies of the species and adapted as a survival food for the past 10,000 years for adults also: to great cost in human suffering.

          • Really great to focus on how a Mother’s diet affects the baby’s health. Pregnant moms typically have this support; however, once baby is born, MDs and RNs forget how important a Mom’s diet is for the baby’s nutrition. Long after breast feeding is over, we forget how important a Mother’s health is for the baby’s and developing child’s nutritional status. Maybe we need to focus on FAMILY health, instead of the baby’s health…food for thought?

        • Alan

          As long as it does not contain cows milk protein.

  • Julie

    Probiotic supplementation with S thermophillus,L reutri or L rhamnosus has been shown to dramatically reduce infant colic.

    • Vege-tater

      Might explain why I used to be able to tolerate yogurt but not milk? Doesn’t matter anymore since I don’t do any dairy, but was always curious why the difference.

      • John

        Dr. Greger mentions in his latest book from the huge study in England I think, that regular dairy is associated with shorter life spans but fermented dairy like kefir, plain yogurt and sour cream can have beneficial effects. It may be because the microbiology is eating the sugar in it, leaving healthy probiotics.

  • WFPBRunner

    If I could go back I never would have fed my children dairy. My daughter is lactose intolerant and my son has a problem with the protein resulting in acne. But in both cases it took into their teens to figure out. We are so brainwashed by the dairy industry.

    • I feel the same way. I was fortunate, in a way, when my son developed severe behavioral issues at age 4. He simply could not sit still in class! We were in California, in the early 1990’s, and EVERYONE was pressuring us to put him on ADHD medication. Other parents, MDs, the school administration, the list went on and on. Fortunately, in our search for a healthful alternative, we met an enlightened and progressive health care professional who recommended drastic revision of his diet, eliminating all Cow’s Milk dairy products as a start. This intervention changed the trajectory of his life, and mine – leading to my own reeducation about food and nutrition (and a MS degree in Nutrition!). This child who couldn’t behave transformed in front of our eyes – and today is in the fourth year of a MD/PhD program in Minnesota. Case study of one, of course, which means nothing, except for the ripple effect this “experiment” has had on thousands of people over the years!

  • Joe Caner

    Let’s not feed casein, which is the main protein in cow’s milk and a known carcinogen, to children and their mothers.

  • HaltheVegan

    Back in the 1970’s, my son had colic really bad, so the doc recommended soy based infant formula. That seemed to work. He was unable to be breast-fed, which I think is definitely the first choice … follow nature when we can!

  • HemoDynamic, MD – NF Volunteer

    I just sent this to our medical director, who does lots of circumcisions and see lots of infants and our Breast Feeding specialist who’s idea of healthy, in our community health project, is a cheese egg scramble with some kale and ham. I kid you not.

    Breaking down the barriers. Cheers to all those that are educating themselves everyday on this website!

    • SeedyCharacter

      Sad that this knowledge has been around for so long and has not been shared with the physicians and lactation specialists who most need it. I hope your medical director and specialist are open to learning from the video and putting theory into practice. Cheese egg scrambles . . . sigh . . . eggs are also one of the top allergens causing allergic responses.

    • aribadabar

      You just spotted a paleo ideologue flogging their stance on gullible, uneducated and unsuspecting public.

  • Margaret Dochoda

    Another probiotic, Lactobacillus reuteri, halves crying time. (For adults, at least, it’s the first culture listed on bottle in Lifeway kefir.):

    F. Indrio et al. Prophylactic use of a probiotic in the prevention of colic, regurgitation, and functional constipation: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Pediatrics. Published online January 13, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4367.

  • guest

    I wonder if there’s a correlation between Caesarean birth and colic.

    • Bruce Cropley

      yes, you’d expect one since caesars make it very difficult for the mother to breast feed, and that would often lead to cow’s milk formula being used… (*sigh*)

  • Kent Nauman

    I was a pediatric resident at Variety Children’s Hospital in Miami Fl in 1980-1. The hospital had a pre-op room where children were monitored and sometimes stopped breathing from the pre-anesthesia. Pain under 2 years of age was normally not treated out side of an ICU because it is too easy to stop the breathing. I was told that earlier in the hospital’s history they used to find children with rigor mortis and normal vital signs recorded. This did not happen when I was there.

    • Thea

      Kent: Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  • Nuri

    In my experience with an exclusively breast-fed daughter, only burping worked. I’m a fairly clean eater, so completely eliminating dairy (and wheat and table sugar) from my diet wasn’t difficult. This did help a little bit, but she still cried most of the time she was awake and not being moved. So yes, this can help, but it’s important to note that eliminating dairy doesn’t always work miracles.

    • HemoDynamic, MD – NF Volunteer

      You are correct that eliminating dairy doesn’t always help but in most cases it does and it is a harmless and healthy treatment.

    • This is a really important point, Nuri. Temperament in children/infants is different and variable. Moms are under so much pressure when their infants have colic, remembering this is important. We need to support Moms, help them relax by normalizing the difficulty that new Moms feel when coping with EVERYTHING. I believe that nutrition education when pregnant goes a long way to helping Moms cope when the you-know-what hits the fan following the arrival of our little bundles of joy! Thank you for reminding us that diet changes don’t always work miracles. Stress management is a helpful adjunctive tool, too!

  • Vege-tater

    Thanks for fueling my nightmares Dr G! When I learned they didn’t anesthetize my son for circumcision I beat myself up forever for not even questioning the procedure and just avoiding it. But heart surgery? How barbaric! Anyone with any common sense at all KNOWS that even the tiniest preemie feels pain! (I won’t even go where that thought takes me!)

    • Kent Nauman

      I have watched a few circumcisions which are done by OB-GYN not pediatrics. The babies do not appear to be very distressed. IVs are normally started without anesthesia and some times it took many tries. I did not like making babies into pin cushions. Later IVs were developed that the sharp steel needle was removed leaving a flexible plastic catheter which lasted longer. But the IVs are necessary to maintain babies lives. The Number one cause of infantile death in the third world is dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Julie

    The surgeons thought infants did not feel pain? That is incomprehensible! The thought of infants having surgery without anesthesia really bothers me–it’s horrific.

    • Thea

      I find it horrific too. I can’t think of a strong enough word to describe how I feel about it.

      Doing such things to human children is the same mentality and thinking that has been applied to non human animals who are non verbal. There was one man who used to skin dogs alive as a demo for people and tell them that the dogs were not really feeling any pain. (I have heard that skinning dogs alive for food is a practice happening this day in some countries.) It’s horrific and so hard to understand how anyone could do such a thing to any non verbal creature, human or otherwise.

      • Ugh

        Great mental picture to take into the future about the dogs. Thanks not, Thea.

    • Blaice

      I personally wonder if it permanently scars the psyche of the infant. Can you simply brush off such overwhelming pain mentally imprinted at such a young age?

      • Thea

        Blaice: I believe that the baby’s brains are permanently rewired–and not for the good. At least, that’s likely true when the baby experiences great fear. And I can’t imagine being paralyzed and in excruciating pain and not also feeling fear. I remember reading about brain rewiring in a book about dogs (The Other End Of The Leash), but it also talked about studies done on human babies. I don’t have any specific references/studies for you. Just sharing what I remember reading some years ago.

      • Darryl

        The only thing I could find indicates the children have a sensory hypersensitivity at surgery location, up to 8-10 years later.

    • Darryl

      80% accepted that neonates can perceive pain, and 7% were unsure, in this 1988 survey:

      Purcell-Jones G et al. 1988. Paediatric anaesthetists’ perceptions of neonatal and infant pain. Pain, 33(2), pp.181-187

      However, they were concerned with respiratory suppression side-effects of the opiate analgesia available at the time, and the lack of knowledge about dosing.

      Humans are born at an early stage of neural development compared to other creatures. Many pathways aren’t developed, and the white matter that connects different parts of the brain is poorly myelinized, so there are reasonable doubts that a unitary consciousness is present. Perhaps the 15% who didn’t believe young infants perceived pain thought that the infants didn’t interpret nerve signals as pain, much as it takes some months before the human visual cortex registers images.

      Even today, there is a reluctance to prescribe many analgesics or dissociatives due to concerns with developmental impairment.

      Mellon RD et al. 2007. Use of anesthetic agents in neonates and young children. Anesthesia & Analgesia, 104(3), pp.509-520.

    • plant_this_thought

      Doctors who believed that babies don’t feel pain also promoted the idea that animals don’t feel pain and don’t require anaesthesia for surgery in research. It’s bizarre and very hard to understand these attitudes except as outright denial of inconvenient truths.

      I’m glad that Dr. G also brought up non-anaesthetized circumcision. The combination of this excruciating experience and the replacement of breast-feeding by formula-feeding must be at least in part responsible for our society’s crazy attitudes toward sexuality.

  • Blaice

    I’ve seen my cousins feed their babies infant food, from gerber or whomever, turkey with gravy baby food…. It is disgustingly disturbing. I also would like to note my cousin is incredibly unhealthy and had twins, which is interesting considering the past video uploaded about those who consume milk or animal protein are about 5x as likely to have twins? Either way, it made me want to barf. My child will be getting homemade, organic steamed carrots and sweet potatoes with a pinch of cinnamon and turmeric blended, as well as many other delicious, HEALTHY, meals.

    • Tom Goff

      Great but don’t forget the B12 and vitamin D …………………

      • Blaice

        I mention one dish and you assume they will be deficient? lol okay. They don’t need B12 every meal…. and I’m not going to hide my baby in a closet.

        • Tom Goff

          I was trying to be helpful not critical …. but suit yourself.

          • aribadabar

            Some people are too defensive for their own good…

          • Blaice

            ………. Means something you don’t understand then.

          • Tom Goff

            That’s news to me but if you say so.

  • Han

    And then having to listen to people who are of the opinion that being vegan is your own choice but that forcing your kids to be vegan as well is child abuse… And you simply can’t have a sane debate with them about it.

  • Jim Wells

    Our first child had the worst colic. Friends in Canada suggested Gripe Water (sodium bicarb and a selection of herbs), which we couldn’t find in the US. Finally got some and it worked a treat! Less than a spoonful calmed her right down. Wish we knew enough to have gone plant-based back then. Late learners.

  • Julot

    And yeah the problem come from dairy’s proteins not lactose obviously especially in babies that have normally a good stock of lactase enzyme~

  • Rhombopterix

    Thank you soooo much! In 1991I lived in close contact with a young family whose first child had this condition. It started on day one. All of the babies in the ward were crying…I could hear them on the way up in the elevator! The hospital served cauli for tea by accident. We were told that was the cause. Over the next days the medicos told Mum not to eat this or that and still that little bundle of joy shattered everyones world. But no one ever suggested to us that dairy might be the cause. Poor mum gradually developed a guilt-complex. The toll on her was visibly evident. Since then I have always been on egg-shells whenever a friend or family member has a new child. Now I can give some good effective advice.

    Again we have an example of have solid factual knowledge somehow lost in the …ermm… noise.

    Recently someone asked you to make up some t-shirts. I hope you do that Dr. Greger. Everyone on my list needs one or two so please help me out!

    • Thea

      Rhombopterix: Dr. Greger recently mentioned that site called Plant Powered Clothing has a few shirt designs that are related to NutritionFacts. If you scroll down on this page, you can even see one with Dr. Greger’s name on it. :-)

      Hope this helps. Personally, I’d like to be able to buy such stuff directly from NutritionFacts as another way to support the site. But I can understand if the site is not interested or not yet ready to get in the swag business.

      • Rhombopterix

        Your all the Aces Thea…thats just what I was looking for. A 10% cut for NF is not too shabby. Cheers!

  • Rhombopterix

    OFF TOPIC sorta but here is a snip from a review … “NASA is discussing diet for Mars mission”:

    For instance, the review found that in some cases NASA overstated the benefits of specific nutrients and the risks of certain nutrient deficiencies. It also pointed out antiquated and incorrect claims in the reports. “For example, the report asserts ‘toxic levels of fat lead to high serum cholesterol, obesity, atherosclerotic plaques, and, ultimately, coronary heart disease, or even death.’

    However, fat has not been found to be toxic, and nutritionists generally do not recommend low-fat diets anymore. Moreover, total fat intake is only weakly associated with obesity,” the authors wrote.

    Antiquated and incorrect claims like that bourgeois obsession with low fat and cholesterol…

    Poor NASA… I pity the brave new Mars

    • Darryl

      OT: Honestly, a high-fat diet makes perfect sense for a Mars-mission, assuming it primarily monounsaturated fats. By the time they’re done spending billions on planning, re-planning, and advisory commitees, every gram sent up will cost hundreds. Fat has 9 kcal/g while those freeze dried sweet potato chips only have ~4.5 kcal/g. I’d drink canola oil for 2 years for a chance to go to Mars.

      • Rhombopterix

        No doubt all true. The point is good nutrition is just that. But NASA has gotten off on the wrong tack and the new pioneers will now repeat and relive the dietary fate of the SAD unless we change their thinking.

        What a better way of acquainting the public with “best practice” than having a discussion about short-term vs long-term nutrition?

      • aribadabar

        We will miss your excellent scientific reviews.. don’t go :)

  • Matthew Smith

    No milk for mothers with baby with colic.

    • Wade Patton

      Anyone concerned with maximizing their health and longevity will keep milk and dairy minimized if they partake in such substances at all.

      Milk does NObody good.

      • Matthew Smith

        Vitamin C has been reputed to be a treatment for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Vitamin D might be effective for Colic. I sure wish babies could be healthy.

  • Karl

    I’ll never forget my son’s circumcision- inhumane, torturous and long term traumatic. Didn’t allow that for his brother and that made a huge difference in how their babyhood and indeed their lives have gone.

  • Tom Goff

    Neal Barnard’s blog post on milk of a day or two ago is worth a read

    • Thea

      That’s a great summary! Thanks for the link.

  • Joe Caner

    I like my babies stirred in a warm bath and not shaken thank you very much.

  • michael

    Have there been any studies comparing multivitamins or supplements coming from organic plant sources and those coming from other sources non-organic plant based or non plant based sources?

    It is ridiculous that in this day and age studies and research is done not distinguishing between plant based sources both organic and non-organic plus studies distinguishing between plants based sources organic and non-organic and artificial sources of vitamins. Is there clearly a difference or not? Such a study TODAY is worth its weight in gold and will benefit untold numbers of consumers although it might be detrimental to the profit based supplement business that lives off people’s fears and their lack of information coming from unbiased sources. I for one would like to know if scientific studies should all be thrown out the window until such a study I have requested has been made. Have there been any studies comparing multivitamins or supplements coming from organic plant sources and those coming from other sources non-organic plant based or non -plant based sources?

    It is ridiculous that in this day and age studies and research is done not distinguishing between plant based sources both organic and non-organic plus studies distinguishing between plants based sources organic and non-organic and artificial or non-plant based sources of vitamins. Is there clearly a difference or not? Such a study TODAY is worth its weight in gold and will
    benefit untold numbers of consumers although it might be detrimental to the profit based supplement business that lives off people’s fears and their lack of information coming from unbiased sources. I for one would like to know if scientific studies should all be thrown out the window until such a study I have requested has been made. Of course this would require wisdom in the field of science, a field that has no lack of intelligence, but wisdom is the anomaly among scientists, politicians, and the academic field in general. Intelligence without wisdom is another definition of ignorance.

  • Part of the difficulty new Moms face is immediate and strong pressure to give up on breastfeeding, thus pushing the infant onto formula. Although there are more resources for new Moms than ever before to support breastfeeding, it is incredibly complicated for Moms to continue to breast feed for logistical and financial reasons. We need a cultural shift to support working new Moms in ways that encourage, allow, and support continued breast feeding long after most Moms quit. This article in the NYTimes is a great summary of what Moms face when trying to breast feed. Why not focus on the health of the infant as EVERYONE supports new Moms? That means we challenge “Milk is good food.” Go breast feeding!!!!

  • Jeff Stone

    My wife is lactose-intolerant and so doesn’t consume cows milk and yet my daughter had terrible colic. It would be interesting to see if the amount of colic is the same among asian populations who don’t consume milk. It must be if there are Chinese medicine treatments for colic and thus this is obviously not the entire answer to this problem Dr. Greger.

  • Maria

    I’m expecting my second child – a boy – and when I asked my the nurse midwife at my obgyn ‘s office about circumcision she said that even when patients request anesthesia for their babies, the procedure is done so fast that the anesthesia doesn’t even take effect yet, so in her opinion it isn’t even worth it. Yet another battle to fight when you are a parent who asks questions.

  • Rodrigo Cardoso

    Legendado em Português / subtitled into Poruguese:

  • Ricardo S. Coelho

    My baby had terrible colics even though the mother is vegan, so this advice, while informative, would not do anything for us. I searched online for solutions but ended up deciding to do nothing as the remedies available, even the natural ones, can be very risky. Heating the belly with one of those cushions that you put in the microwave for a few seconds helped, as well as gently massaging the belly, but not a lot. It was a hellish time for the baby and for us. I hope that a solution for this problem is found soon.

  • Dr k udaya Sankar pediatrician

    I Dr k udaya Sankar, pediatrician author of new treatment protocols in the treatment of protocols which was published in world journal of medical sciences which was accepted by more than 30 standard international medical text books . The condensed part was presenteed in 26th iPa, johannesburgh, South africa

  • Dr k udaya Sankar pediatrician

    I Dr udaya sankar Found new treat ment which cio tains mothers exclusion diet such as mother has to avoid 8 small c’s 1) cows milk 2) chicken 3) chicken egg 4) cabbage 5) cauliflower 6) coffee 7) chacolate 8) cigarettes plus pre pro biotics & simethecone for 3 moths . It was published in nov 2010 in world journal medical sciences , any doctor cAn check in Google search. My treatment is very effective, economical, easy to follow & administer. This is my innovated articl

  • Ivana

    Wow, thank you for this! It sure explains my case – my first baby suffered from horrible colic ( I was on a vegetarian diet at the time). No colic for the second baby at all ( I was eating mainly vegan). Where I live ( Serbia ) they tell you to drink milk to make milk. It makes no sense, I agree, but there you go. They tell you NOT to eat beans, cruciferous vegetables and chilli peppers (all of which I ate in abundance while breastfeeding my second baby). I am so happy I can now show this to future breastfeeding moms around here!

  • Απόστολος Στάβλος

    Doctor, is soy formula good for babies, in case mother has some kind of problem making enough milk? I just read an article saying that soy formula is quite bad but i don’t know what to believe.

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