Milk is a grocery list staple for many families. But, many infants and children are allergic to milk protein or unable to digest the sugar in cow’s milk. Some avoid it for other health concerns—or simply because they don’t like the taste. The nutritional content in the various dairy alternative products is important for parents to be aware of when shopping.
Choices range from other animal-based beverages (e.g., goat’s milk) to products made from nuts (e.g., almond milk), beans (e.g., soy milk), grains, and other plants.
- The AAP recommends breast milk as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about the first 6 months.
- The AAP recommends that whole cow’s milk and low-iron formulas not be used during the first year of life, because babies’ digestive systems under age 1 may not tolerate the cow’s milk protein in large quantities.
While soy milk has traditionally been the most commonly used cow’s milk alternative, there are many options available. Use of tree nut milk, including almond and cashew milks, have become increasingly popular. Rice and oat milk, as well as hemp milk, are also possible alternatives. Some of these alternatives are flavored, for example with chocolate and vanilla, however these contain added sugar and calories.