Can I Give My Baby Almond Milk?

Can I give my baby almond milk?Does almond milk have the proper nutritional make-up for your baby? In order for your baby to grow and develop properly, they need to consume the right amount of fats, vitamins and minerals. Before your child’s first birthday, the nutrients they receive from formula or breast milk is the exact kind and amount to remain healthy.

  • Wait until they are 2 years old
  • Nuts are among the most common allergy causing foods
  • Almond milk is not sufficient nourishment for a growing child

Many nutritionists advise to wait until after your child’s first birthday to introduce regular milk into their diet, not even almond milk. Before your child hits the one-year mark, their digestive system cannot properly digest the milk proteins.

Can I Give My Baby Almond Milk? Answer: After Year Two

Why Choose Almond Milk?

There are a number of reasons people consider giving their child almond milk. Some people want a total substitute for milk and others want to offer an alternative drink for their child. The most common reason people consider almond milk is allergy related.

How Is Almond Milk Made?

This popular milk substitute is made by mixing finely ground almonds with water. The ground almonds are mixed with water then strained to remove the almond skins and sediment. Almond milk is easy to store and can be stored on the shelf until its opened, then it should be stored in the refrigerator.

Almond Milk As A Regular Milk Substitute

If your child does not like the taste of milk, if they have a dairy allergy, or if your family is vegan, almond milk can be substituted for milk. You will need to be sure to have a diet plan which includes enough good fats, vitamins and nutrients which would otherwise come from traditional full fat milk.

Is Almond Milk The Right Fat?

Not all fats are created equal. It is entirely correct to point out that almond milk would not be sufficient nourishment for a growing child. Fat is essential for all humans, especially infants. As babies, healthy bone and brain development is crucial and fat plays a role. It’s important to choose the right fats for your growing baby.

Almonds have good fat though, right?

Almond milk is mostly water and doesn’t have the nutritional benefits whole almonds do. Almond milk has almost no vitamin E, although raw almonds have plenty of vitamin E. Almond milk is lactose, gluten, casein and cholesterol free; it’s also free of saturated fats. Almond milk is low in fat, and developing babies and toddlers need good fats in their diet.

Lactose intolerance versus a milk allergy

Many Mom’s are looking at almond milk as a substitute for regular milk because they have a child with an allergy or an intolerance. A milk allergy is where a person has problems with the protein in the milk. A lactose intolerance is where a person has a problem digesting lactose which is the sugar in milk.

  • An allergy to the protein in milk will have a child developing symptoms from even a small amount of milk.
  • An intolerance to the sugar in milk may mean a child can still comfortably consume small amounts.

A lactose intolerance is much more common and is responsible for symptoms such as gas, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea and bloating. Many parents find it surprising that their child can tolerate some milk products but not all. For example, your child may be fine with one cup of milk but develop symptoms if they also eat a tub of yogurt and a slice of cheese.

Almond Milk and Allergies

While almond milk is healthy, it should be avoided until after your child’s second birthday due to the high risk of nut allergies. Nuts are among the most common allergy-causing foods. An allergic reaction to nuts can create itchy rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stuffy nose, watery eyes, coughing or wheezing, and they may even make a person feel lightheaded. In severe cases, nut allergies can cause a condition known as anaphylaxis, a sudden and potentially life threatening reaction that can make someone’s airways swell and blood pressure drop.

While most nut allergies are hereditary, they do not necessarily have to be. If there is a family history of food allergies in your family, you should consult your child’s pediatrician before starting your child on foods that are known to cause allergic reactions including almond milk. All other parents should take care when introducing new foods as they normally would.

Those with tree nut allergies should avoid almond milk because it could elicit a dangerous allergic reaction. Speak to your Doctor first.

Regular Milk as a Healthy Food

Once your baby is ready for milk, it becomes an important form of nutrients. Milk is a great source of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin A, which will help build your child’s bones and teeth. Most milk is fortified with vitamin D, which helps the body absorb the calcium it needs. Milk provides protein for growth and carbohydrates that give your child the energy they need to play all day long.

Consumption Requirements

Children between the ages of one and two should consume between 16 and 24 ounces of milk per day. Note that it is possible for your child to consume too much milk. More than two to three glasses of milk during the day can fill your child up, making them less likely to be hungry at dinner for other foods they need in their diet.

While other members of your household may drink lower-fat versions of milk, it is a good idea to start your child with full fat milk. Full fat milk has more fat, and your child needs the higher fat and caloric content for their growth and development. In fact, children under the age of two should consume half of their total caloric intake from fats. Once your child celebrates their third birthday, you can switch them to lower fat milks.

Transitioning A Baby To Regular Milk

When transitioning from breast milk or formula to milk, some children have no problem. Because of the different texture, taste and temperature milk has compared to breast milk or formula, other children have trouble making the transition. If your child is having trouble making the switch, try mixing milk with some breast milk or formula. Gradually shift the ratio until your baby is drinking 100% milk.

You don’t just need to look to cow’s milk when you transition your baby. There are different milk’s available such as goat and sheep milk which your toddler may prefer. Many nutritionists believe that milk proteins from a smaller animal such as a goat or sheep are easier for a child to digest. Other Mom’s prefer to give their child soy milk and soy products. Cow’s milk is the most readily available source of milk, but with a little investigation you can find other substitutes you are happy giving to your child.

If you are worried about transitioning your baby to milk of any kind speak to a nutritionist. They will advise you about a balanced diet which is high in good fat and sources of protein and calcium. In some of our other articles you will see that avocado’s have high quantities of good fats for growing bodies and leafy green vegetables are a good source of nutrients and calcium.

 The Nutritional Value of Almond Milk

Almond milk  contains a number of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, iron, fiber, zinc and calcium. These are not present in large quantities however, and almond milk should not be consumed with the intent to provide complete nutritional value to your diet, especially calcium.

Almond milk is also low in calories, at only 40 calories per eight ounce serving, and low in fat.  Almond milk is lactose, gluten, casein and cholesterol free; it’s also free of saturated fats.

Add Your Own Answer to Can I Give My Baby Almond Milk? Below

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Corey Presley August 15, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Almond Milk …. I guess I will be using soy moving forward.

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Mom September 4, 2012 at 6:43 am

I think this article is correct in playing it safe with almond milk, but is a bit irresponsible on the soy milk. There are still a few important yet unanswered questions on the different soy proteins and their affect on the body, cell growth, etc. Plus, soy isn’t fully digestible and can bring a whole new set of allergy concerns.

On that note, this article is also fully presumptuous about the benevolence of cow’s milk for children and adults. I readily devour bowls of cereal, but I also admit that milk is unnatural enough in its raw state, discounting the pasteurizing and manufacturing processes, and discounting further still the bovine growth hormones and antibiotics that the lobbyists try so hard to convince us make “no significant difference.” Cow’s milk is easy because it’s readily available and produced in excess by Montsanto, but that doesn’t mean it is recommended.

Anyway, just learning of our 1-year-old’s milk allergy, we are looking into adding much more avocado, cucumber, and leafy greens to the diet, which will more than make up for the fats, proteins, and calcium that we previously relied on milk for.

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Rosefrosty March 5, 2014 at 8:52 am

I was unable to produce enough breast milk for my daughter, so the doctor put her on formula for sensitive tummies. She would have bouts of horrible gas and fussiness as well as spit ups. I’ve heard enough about soy to know that it’s not good for you in large quantities. So I researched almond milk. You can find almond milk with higher calories, we went with the 90 calorie carton usually. My daughter never had trouble gaining heathy weight or being vitamin deficient. She still ate cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese but her tummy couldn’t handle regular milk. When grandma would try to slip in the regular milk she would immediatly get diarrhea and eczema all over her little body. I’m so glad that we put her on almond milk even though her conventional doctor questioned it.

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canigivemybaby March 5, 2014 at 10:40 pm

I’m so glad you found a solution Rosefrosty, it must give you peace of mind.

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Sara Hatfield April 30, 2014 at 1:44 pm

My baby loves goat milk (when breast milk is not an option – usually we do breast). I buy the full fat goat milk, not the reduced fat. If i had a reliable source of sheep’s milk, I would switch to that. they are both much closer to the nutritional profile of breast milk than cow milk, of which i already know we are both intolerant.

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canigivemybaby May 1, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Thanks for sharing that Sara, I have also heard that sheep and goat milk are better for a little one

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Dani May 5, 2014 at 10:29 pm

I have struggled since day one to produce enough milk for my little boy. Part of the problem is that one of my breasts doesn’t produce but about an ounce per day total! Relying just one beast has been difficult for so many reasons, but the hardest part is that my LO always seems to still be hungry.

When I returned to work about 4 months ago it was and has been a struggle just to pump enough milk to leave with the sitter, and I have never been able to put more than 2 or 3 bags in the freezer. We ended up starting solids at the 4 month mark to try and make up for my inability to store milk. Whenever he’d eat (2x per day) I’d pump…oh, I forgot to mention that he has a bad reaction to milk, I can’t even drink it, and soy. We have tried every formula out there and all result in upset tummy, Gas, screaming and not sleeping.

Lately, it seems as if my milk is drying up. Where I used to pump between 4 and 5 ounces, now I am barely getting 3. I’ve been taking fenugreek for the past three weeks under reccomendation from my lactation consultant but with no omproveny. Baby is 7 months old now, I’m exhausted and I don’t know what to do. Can I supplement with almond or coconut milk, throw in a multivitamin and make avacados a part of his daily routine?

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canigivemybaby May 6, 2014 at 11:03 pm

You must feel absolutely exhausted – and what a good job you have done persevering when it is so difficult for you. Firstly, I am not a nutritionist, and a professional medical consultation would be able to tell you best what was appropriate.
However, we get quite a few comments on here from other moms and some have recommended sheep or goats milk as a substitute instead of cow, almond, coconut milk etc. Another mom felt that milk was not needed at all and the necessary nutrients could be made up with diet. The world health organization recommends nothing but breast milk or formula until they are 12 months. It is very hard to know what to do when you’re trying your hardest to do whats right.
If you’re looking for a formula, I found this site for allergy prone children, http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=140&. There are a few formulas listed on there that may help you, if you haven’t tried them already.
Stress can also sometimes cause breast milk supplies to dry up, so make sure that you are taking care of yourself. Easier said than done for a working mom with a little one. Another tip I had was for you (the mom) to take a good quality probiotic, my naturopath told me you have to make sure that its a human strain (just ask the pharmacist), and that will actually help your digestion. Everything winds up going through breast milk to your little one so if your digestion is running better, so too will your little one be feeling better. You may even be able to get a probiotic for your little one – they promote good bacteria in the digestive system that eases the stomach cramps, bloating and gas.
Now that your little one is eating solids keep him away from the leafy and dark green vegetables – broccoli and Brussels sprouts are notorious for giving sensitive children gas. Just wait a few more months and then reintroduce them. (I am not sure if you have, just trying to brainstorm ideas here)
Are you keeping him on the formula for long enough? Sometimes if you dont give them a few weeks to get used to it they and change quickly they can have more gas and digestive problems.
You sound like you’re on the right track regarding diet, making sure that he has plenty of good and healthy solids now that he is seven months. I hope that I have been able to give you some help, and that I haven’t repeated what you already know or have tried. I hope that you find a solution to your problems, it is so hard when you see your baby upset or with an upset tummy.
Good luck, Amber

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Katie June 1, 2014 at 3:38 am

Now I am not a nutritionist but I do have extensive experience with allergies- both in myself and my children. I spoke to my drs about substituting Goat milk for a baby before (I was a foster mom and for various reasons, couldn’t give the foster daughter my milk even though I was still lactating from my baby). After discussions with many drs, we came to the conclusion that goat milk is actually very harmful. Goat and sheep milk contain far too much vitamin K, and since your body can’t get rid of excess (ie too much vitamin C and it comes out in your urine), it can be very VERY harmful. If your baby cannot have formula b/c of allergies, then start them on a more solid food diet (but do it fairly slowly, the presence of one allergy usually means others are there too!). IF you are very concerned, please just contact a local breast milk bank. You can often get it for free if you cannot produce. This milk has been screened and homogenized so it is safe. Hospitals use it for premies and other infants who do not have mother’s milk available. The other option is if you have a friend or relative you are close to that is nursing, you can ask for some of their excess.
You have probably already tried this but there are a few foods that can increase your milk supply. Oatmeal, mother’s herbal tea, etc. And for different people, there are different foods that can increase your supply. For my mom, it was brewer’s yeast. For me, caffeine. If I drink green tea or even a little bit of dr pepper, I produce more milk. Food for thought. :) Good luck!

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Katie June 1, 2014 at 3:45 am

CORRECTION- Goat’s milk contains too much Vitamin A not K. It’s still a problem as your body can’t get rid of the excess.

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