Hormone Free Milk for Girls

Updated on October 26, 2011
S.F. asks from Dayton, OH
17 answers

I have started to consider switching my 19 month old daughter to a milk without growth hormones becuase of the increased rate of early onset puberty in girls. The connection makes sense but there is no empirical data that suggests a connection. I spoke to my peditrician about this and she said that a connection has not been made but if I were to want to switch I didn't necessarily need "organic" milk just milk without growth hormones. I thought I would post this question to see if anyone else has done any research as to which hormones I need to look for and if you know of any stores that sell non-organic milk without hormones. Thanks for any input.

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answers from Jacksonville on

It's rbST. I don't buy milk at Walmart because their labeling doesn't mention it. Publix (and I think Target) milk is from cows not treated with it, however, and every jug of their milk says so. Look for the fine print on the label.

I read something recently about there possibly being a correlation (not with hormone treated cow's milk) but with the plastic everything is packaged in these days. I found that interesting, but haven't read anything else about that possible link since.

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answers from Cincinnati on

Hi S.,

Good for you for looking at the topic. I had researched the milk topic some time ago myself and what I discovered was shocking to me.

Instead of the organic vs non, you might want to consider whether milk is something you want to offer your daughter at all. I feel like I'm attacking a bit of Americana by suggesting kids don't drink milk, but you might want to consider some of the items in this article: http://bit.ly/9N034K

Also look at the research done by the Physicians Committee for Responsible medicine.

Issues that were big for me - antibiotics, hormones, puss, the fact that milk is actually an acidic food that causes your body to leech calcium stores from the body to buffer the load, what studies say about milk and bone health, etc. etc. It's actually quite disturbing when you start to dig in.

If it sounds crazy to you, I totally understand - it did to me too. But now, there's no chance you'll find milk in my home.

Keep up the proactive stance on your daughter's health! Best to you.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I wondered the same thing for a long time. My two oldest girls were early teenagers when the "hormone free" milk was being introduced wide scale. So, I switched them when it became available in our area and they did get their periods "late" (14 and 16 yrs old). I always wondered if that had something to do with it. However, my now 12 yr old is lactose intolerant so wasn't exposed to these hormones in milk, yet had her period early and we even brought her in a 8 yrs old because we thought she had "precocious puberty." So now I think it simply the difference between kids and the evolution of our society more than the hormones themselves. One thing I think we tend to forget is 20 years ago NO ONE talked about their periods as openly as we do today. There were not commericals openly discussing women's issues (or men's for that matter) and access to open communication about these things (like this forum) were not widely available. I wonder if it seems like because we hear so many different stories about girls developing earlier/later it feels like it is more prevelant in our society. Not to say the scientists are wrong - they do say that our girls are hitting puberty younger. But, they also have alot more access to that information to put together the studies than they did 20 years ago - also people are more willing to talk about these things honestly.

Just my two cents.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

rBst is the growth hormone.

There's no empirical data because in order to have such, there would have to be studies done, and to do so means experimenting on children... which (thankfully) these days just doesn't happen. There IS correlational data, both in the US and other countries.... but no causal/empirical. The correlational data includes things such as my 3rd grade class where all the 9 year olds had their periods or were shaving/wet dreams etc... and most of the 8 year olds. Which meant that 2nd grade 6 & 7 year olds were prepubescents.

We buy storebrand non-organic milk from both trader joes and whole foods... which has the added benefit that it costs about 1/2 of what other "regular" milks cost, and 1/4 of organic milks.

We've tried organic milks in the past but they go bad so FAST, that I have serious concerns about their pasteurization process.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Not that you asked, but I've never given my kids cow's milk for a myriad of reasons, much to the dismay of the financial benefitting of the Dairy Council. Raw milk is the best option, which retains all of it's nutrients. Anything natural that has a shelf life of a week or more, you need to be suspicious of. My kids have never had any ear infections and all of my friends who feed their kids dairy all of the time, are sick constantly. My kids get cheese once in a while, but no milk, no ice cream, and rarely a healthy yogurt - no Yoplait, etc.

This book is an easy read with it all referencing research:


Maybe find a local dairy that you can buy raw, hormone-free milk from, if you are interested in giving her cow's milk.

I just find it interesting that we are the ONLY species that drinks another species' milk.

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answers from Indianapolis on

I can find no scientific information linking the two either. The accepted medical term appears to be "Precocious Puberty".

Previously, the reason for girls entering puberty earlier was attributed to improved access to nutrition compared to other generations.

According to this information from the University of Michigan Health Systems, there are no known reasons for this occurring:

If you're really concerned, before going through too many drastic measures, I'd make a call to a pediatric endocrinologist to see if they believe there is a correlation. They treat hormonal disorders, and a good one would be up on the latest research showing a link.

Personally, as a mom and a Biologist, I do not go to those measures. Until I see more evidence, I'm going to trust that the USDA and FDA have our best interests in mind. I hope I'm not proven wrong.

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answers from Greensboro on

Hi S.,

We drink organic milk but we look at the overall picture of what we are getting in everything and how the chemicals in everything contraindicate. All synthetic chemicals whether pesticides, preservatives, hormones, etc will cause damage long term, you just have to pick your poison. Publix brand milk is the safest on the market that is not organic. They do not use cow's that have been given hormones or antibiotics and they don't add anything to the milk.

Hope this helps.




answers from St. Louis on

Cow's milk is definitely not necessary for a child's growth and development. My son only drinks milk from other sources, (i.e. rice, almond, and soy). If that is not something in your consideration I think you should go with 'organic.' Another harmful agent in cow's milk is pesticides. The non-organic brands will still have these in them. Just something to think about.



answers from Daytona Beach on

isn't the milk they sell at walmart hormone free? i'm pretty sure it is. also i think that when a person starts their period can run in families like when a person can go thru menopause. my grandmother started early, my mom did and also my older sister and i started early (summer going into 4th grade and middle of 4th grade) but my younger sister started in 6th grade.



answers from Orlando on

Milk that is organic comes from cows that never have been fed any food containing hormones. In Regular milk there is a chance that hormones have been placed in the food. The most important part is that if a cow gets infected organic and non organic farms both treat the cows with antibiotics, the difference is on the organic farm, the cow never is returned to produce milk for humans again, where non organic farms just have a waiting period.



answers from San Antonio on

I took my 7 yr old daughter to the dermatologist because she had these little bumps on her forehead, and I was told she had early acne. I was totally shocked and started buying the $$$ organic milk. Luckily the lotion and maybe the milk together helped her face clear up completely. I figure it can't hurt. I want her childhood to last as long as nature will allow.



answers from Colorado Springs on

We have a milk man that delivers healthy organic hormone free milk to our home every thursday. maybe youhave something like that available in yoru area?



answers from Honolulu on

Just buy milk without the growth hormones. The carton will say so.
Organic or not, there are milks that have no growth hormones. My local dairy, non organic, has milk like that on the store shelves and I believe there is also one from Costco without growth hormones.

The endocrine system is very complicated in kids... and even BPA's in plastics affect the endocrine system etc. and who knows what else in our environment. And even soy milk, affects the endocrine system in boys/girls and adults.

But yes, kids nowadays are reaching "puberty" early onset puberty sooner... than when I was a kid for example.

Also something interesting, is that a Pediatric Endocrinologist we know, said that the kids nowadays are also watching/viewing, regularly, "teenager" shows, that are not age appropriate for them. ie: even Kinder girls are watching Hannah Montana for example and may have the clothing and posters at home. He said, that these things all can possibly affect, the child/girl. Of course there is no proof or empirical data to say that conclusively and it is a whole issue of what kids are exposed to, from babyhood... and how it affects their development or physical development. But that yes, kids are definitely having early onset puberty nowadays. And, even the things parents use can affect a kids endocrine system. For example: there was a case of two siblings, who started having symptoms of early onset puberty... hair growth in genital areas and armpits etc. After doing an evaluation of the habits at home... it was found that the hair cream their Dad was using for hair-growth (because he was balding), was affecting his kids and being absorbed into their skin as well... affecting testosterone levels etc.

So, milk without growth hormones, is one piece of the whole pie.

Just go to your store, and check out the milk shelves... there are milks, non-organic which also are hormone free.

Anyway, just some rambling about the subject,
All the best,



answers from Mobile on

I think Brown's Dairy is a "conventional" brand that's free of added hormones. I think it says rbht-free? It might be a regional brand, though--I'm not sure if they have it in Ohio. I'm a big fan of giving kids milk despite that anti-dairy trend. Though possible, it's hard to get enough vitamin D and calcium without it.



answers from Dallas on

Just to add to the confusion, I have read that the extra amount of fat in a child's diet from burgers and fries and the like have been responsible for the early onset of puberty. We didn't have that until we were in senior high and it was a kind of date night meal once a week then. I started at 12 and was earlier than many other girls in my class. Course, they weren't putting hormones in milk then.

My daughter did have more fast food as I was a working single mom for years. She didn't drink a lot of milk. She was 9 when she showed signs of PMS though she didn't start her periods until she was about 11.



answers from Augusta on

many store brands are now hormone free.
Walmart I know is and I believe kroger brand is. It will say on the carton.
And your ped is right there is no connection to early puberty and hormone milk. Countries that don't have cows that are fed hormones ( ie 3rd world countries) are also seeing a early age for puberty. I believe it's an evolutionary adaptation.

In the mid-1800s, the average age of menarche (first menstrual period) was 17. By the late 1960's it had dropped to 12, with anywhere from 9 to about 16 being considered "normal." This change can be considered positive overall; it was mostly a result of improved nutrition, which also resulted in taller stature, longer lifespans, and better overall health. I'm not sure when horimones were introduced into cows but I'm not sure it was before the early 1900's

And for those of you yelling about soy, Soy based baby formula gives a baby 5 birth control pills worth of estragin a day when factoring in body size.




answers from Chicago on

I think you pretty much want to avoid the Bovine Growth Hormone BGH. You can look for milk that comes from cows that are pastured (grass fed) and not given antibiotics routinely. I think this may be the case with Oberweiss if you have that in your area and also I have purchased a brand from Whole Foods that was hormone free but not organic. You may also want to consider giving her other types of milk. We give our daughter (who can't tolerate cow's milk well) almond milk, rice milk, and soy milk. She likes them all! It is not necessary for kids to have any milk at all--they can get their vitamins and calcium from food and/or vitamins, so you can give it sparingly in any case as the alternatives can be expensive. (about $3/half gallon of soy,rice,almond). Best of luck!

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