Milk Alternatives

Milk Alternatives
Posted on 03/17/2019
MilksArticle by  Dr. Sarah Wiersma

The transition from formula to regular milk usually occurs right after a baby’s first birthday. At that point, they should be getting much of their nutrition from the foods they eat and are no longer needing the extra vitamins and minerals added to formulas. Babies this age don’t actually need milk any longer, but milk is still a good source for calcium, vitamin D, protein, and fats. Babies who are nursing or drink pumped breast milk can continue taking breast milk as long as is mutually desired to both mom and baby. Breast milk contains the calcium, protein, and fats babies still need, but often is lacking in vitamin D. Since cow’s milk and many milk substitutes are fortified with vitamin D, it is recommended to supplement babies who are breast feeding with vitamin D as well.

Calcium and vitamin D

Many parents ask about alternative options to switching to cow’s milk at a year of age. Cow’s milk is fine for most babies, but some babies have allergies or intolerances or the family has a preference to avoid cow’s milk for other reasons. Soy and nut milks have been the typical go-to dairy alternatives for most families. However, there are many other options available all with different nutritional profiles. Some popular cow’s milk alternatives include soy, nut (almond and cashew), rice, oat, hemp, goat, and yellow pea milks, so with so many options the choice can be confusing! Protein in soy and yellow pea (ie, Ripple brand) milks tends to be similar to cow’s milk while there isn’t much protein in nut and rice milks. Most milks are fortified with a similar amount of calcium and vitamin D, but make sure that the milk you are giving your kids is indeed fortified. Also, try to choose options that don’t have added sugars, which are often found in flavored milks.

Milk alternatives

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