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What's the Matter with Your Baby?

Excerpt from “Goats Milk - The Natural Alternative” by Tinsley Beck BA MEd

“What’s the Matter with Your Baby?” That question was to have considerable influence on our lives. The scene was in the Goat Pavilion at Perth Royal Show, 1961. My husband and I had come from farming backgrounds, and although we had pursued the fields of teaching and nursing, we still liked to spend most of our time when at the “Royal” in the livestock sections.

It was a warm day and we had our first-born baby, Jenny, with us. She was thirsty and before heading for the Goat Pavilion we stopped to give her a drink of milk. We knew as a result of the milk she would cry until she exhausted herself and slept, as this had been the pattern since she was a week old.

As we entered the Goat Section we spotted Mrs Evans with her beautiful British Alpines. We congratulated her on her success while I tried to quieten my daughter’s crying by putting her over my shoulder and patting her back.

Mrs Evans then asked “What’s the matter with your baby?”

We replied that she was always like this after a drink of milk. She then asked if we had tried goats milk and we replied it was the one thing we hadn’t tried - hadn’t even thought of it! Having nine doctors among our close relatives we hadn’t been short of advice, suggestions and remedies, all of which had been tried without success, BUT no-one had suggested GOATS milk!

In desperation we had taken Jenny to a children’s specialist in Perth, as we were preparing to go to New Guinea, and wanted to know why she was like this in case any future children should have the same problem. His verdict was that she was allergic to milk (including mine) and would be better taken off milk altogether, but as she was so young we decided to keep on with a limited amount of milk. We hopefully tried all the commercial types of milk available for babies, thinking we might just find one that suited her.

I had given up breast-feeding her at three months as, although I didn’t want to admit it, it was obvious my milk was not agreeing with her. Having done my midwifery training, I was aware of all the tricks of the trade (ie posture feeding etc) and even resorted to expressing my milk and giving it by bottle, trying different teats to see if we could find a solution. The result was always the same. After she had taken about 60 or 70ml of milk, she would leave off and scream, apparently in great pain.

Mrs Evans suggested we try her on goats milk and we were to be at her home at milking time that night. We were! In her first drink, Jenny took a 240ml bottle full of goats milk, burped and went sound asleep - for the first time in four months. We couldn’t believe it! We never had another moment’s bother.

Our second daughter, Sheryl, arrived in the middle of our first year in Papua New Guinea and there was a repeat performance of feeding problems. When Sheryl was four months old the Paediatrician at Port Moresby General Hospital said there was no more he could do besides sedate her to stop her crying. She looked like a skeleton and we thought we would lose her.....

A neighbour came to our rescue in the end and said she would contact her brother in Brisbane and see if he could locate some powdered goats milk (which wasn’t as readily available as it is now). He did so and sent it up on the next plane. We told the Paediatrician of our previous experience but he wouldn’t believe that goats milk could help. Reluctantly he agreed to give the powdered goats milk a go as a last resort - as long as we gave her folic acid to prevent anaemia! Sheryl’s recovery was sure and steady but not as dramatic as Jenny’s had been on fresh milk.

PS: Years later I found out that our problems would have been avoided if, while breast feeding the babies, I had been drinking goats milk instead of cows milk. Allergy or intolerance passed on through breast milk is now a well established fact, confirmed in the experience of many mums and recognised by the Nursing Mothers Association. If only I had known then what I know now!

Written by Margaret Beck in 1977.

Other Resources:
"Goats Milk - The Natural Alternative" Tinsley Beck BA MEd
Available from: Tinsley & Margaret Beck
7 Willaring Drive, Beckenham
Western Australia 6107
Phone:0061 8 9358 2383

On this Site:
Goat's Milk for Infants by JB Tracey MB
Why Goat Milk by G F W Haenlein PhD
Differences Between Cow and Goat Milk by G F W Haenlein PhD and R Caccese
The Chemistry of Cream by R Goodwin
Soya - The Two-Edged Sword

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