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.
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.