I’m Like a Low Component Cow

Today, Hannah had her 4 month child wellness appointment.  It turns out that I am like a cow with low components.

Components like fat and protein are measured in our cows’ milk. Farmers received a premium for higher milk components. Components are important because they are what makes your whip cream creamier and your cheese cheesier. They are also what makes babies grow.

Hannah hasn’t gained much weight and still only weights about 10 lbs. This same thing happened with Jonnie, but I felt  like I was making more milk this time. Jonnie cried all the time and was extremely fussy. Hannah is not like that at all. She smiles, coos and laughs a lot.

So how does one make milk have more components? Most of it is genetics. We breed our cows to have higher components. We choose bulls for our cows that have a history of having daughters with high components. Some of it depends on diet. Learn more here.

To help Hannah, we need to increase her caloric intake. This can be done several ways. One way is  to  increase the amount of calories in my milk. I asked if this gave me a free pass on the Halloween candy. The doctor said no, but I could eat a fatty steak more often and try to eat more nuts and naturally fatty foods. Just like in cattle, I will need to not just eat more fat, but more energy. Calories are a measure of energy. We get energy from a variety of sources (carbohydrates and fats). In cattle we try to balance high quality forages, grains, fats, fiber and protein sources to keep our cows healthy and increase components in milk.

The other two ways to help are to give Hannah more to eat more often or we can start with solid foods.

We started with some solid foods tonight and I am also going to give her an extra bottle of some of my stored milk for a while. We will be working closely with our pediatrician and my lactation consultant for the next couple months.

This is kind of what happens when we have nutritional problems on our farm. We consult our veterinarians and animal nutritionists. Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a team to keep our animals healthy.

Hannah has another appointment next week to see if anything we are doing is helping. Fingers crossed!

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