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What kind of milk do I give my one-year-old?
I had this same pressing question when Miles turned one. Our pediatrician told us that milk is not as important as our culture makes it out to be and that dairy milk is really fattening. He suggested we get our calcium from leafy vegetables and our fats from oils, avocados, and beans. And shockingly, this was a mainstream pediatrician, not a holistic doctor.
However, seven years in hindsight, I do think that Miles probably needed more calcium because he now has somewhat weak teeth.
The good news is that there are calcium fortified “milks” out there like soy, almond, and coconut. If I had it to do again, I WOULD make sure that Miles got 2-3 glasses of these alternative milks each day for the calcium. I am now trying to implement those habits. Better late than never, I hope.
Options for Dairy-Free Milk
As for the “milk” of our choice, we did rice at first. It was a little thin for cooking and people often mention arsenic issues.
Then we moved to soy but didn’t really love the taste. I also started hearing about how boys shouldn’t have a lot of soy because of hormonal affects. ???
Eventually we moved onto almond milk after testing showed we had no tree nut allergy. However, later Miles reacted to cashew at age 7 even though he drinks almond milk everyday. So our allergist told us to continue with almond milk as long as he doesn’t have a problem with it. Of course we stay away from cashew milk.
Another option is coconut milk. We are not big fans of the taste. But some people love it.
There are also now other alternatives on the market like hemp milk, flax milk and pea protein milk.
While there are upsides and downsides to all these options, some would recommend mixing it up regularly between various milks that are safe for you.
Still others have recommended supplementing things like protein powders and vitamin drops into the milks if there’s something you think is lacking. Our doctor told us that vitamin D was required for the absorption of calcium. So I now use one drop of Vitamin D in a glass of calcium-fortified almond milk each day for my kids.
Pay Attention to Sugar Content
No matter what “milk” you use, I do not recommend getting your child used to “sweetened” milk. I made this mistake. Once I realized this, I moved to unsweetened almond original and unsweetened almond vanilla. I’m fortunate that my boys made the transition off of the sugary stuff. I suggest leaving out the sugar from the start.
Milk Allergy Moms Weigh In
See the comments in this post. There’s a wealth of information below that’s much more than I could personally share on this topic. And feel free to leave your own experience and suggestions, too! We’re in this together.
Original Post 7-23-13