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Posted by on Jan 23, 2012 in Children's Nutrition, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 40 comments

The Alterna-milks: Cow’s Milk Alternatives for Toddlers

A huge part of fully transitioning from an infant diet to a toddler diet is changing to a new source of milk. Most families easily transition their toddler to cow’s milk by the first birthday. However, with many new products in the dairy aisle, more parents are asking questions about cow’s milk options. And, some of these alternative non-dairy products are raising more questions than answers.

I call them the “alterna-milks”.

Before we discuss the merits of the alterna-milks, let’s review my rules about milk for healthy toddlers.

Dr. Natasha’s Milk Rules for Toddlers:

  1. Toddlers don’t need milk. (gasp!) And, most toddlers don’t need whole milk. (double gasp!) Unlike the dietary needs of an infant, milk is no longer a source of complete nutrition after a child’s first birthday. Milk provides a convenient source of fat, protein, calcium, and vitamin D for growing bodies. But, in today’s average food lifestyle, these building blocks can be more than adequately supplied in other areas of a balanced diet. Therefore, this discussion is not promoting nor validating the need for milk in a toddler’s diet. The goal of this post is to simply discuss options for parents.
  2. Offer milk with meals, and water everyplace else. Regardless of the type of milk consumed (animal, plant, or human), the amount of milk should be limited to a maximum of 24 ounces per day (3, 8 ounce servings). Too much milk puts children at risk of vitamin deficiencies, anemia, and poor weight gain due to the changing growth needs of a toddler.
  3. Get rid of the bottles as soon as possible. A bottle is simply a receptacle to deliver a beverage, not a necessity of life. Using a bottle for any beverages after a year of age increases the child’s risk of cavities, teeth mal-alignment, and overconsumption. So after the age of 1-year, offer milk to toddlers in a sippy/straw cup.
  4. Breast milk is not an alterna-milk. Breast milk is still a wonderful option for those who continue to nurse after the age of 1 year. The medical benefits of breast milk after the first year of life, however, are less firmly established. It can be generally agreed upon that if breast milk is continued to be offered to toddlers, providing whole food sources of vitamin D and iron are important. Alternatively, offering a multivitamin to provide these nutrients may need to be considered.
  5. These rules are not universal. For any child who is not growing normally, has issues with weight gain, has significant food allergies, or has other dietary restrictions; these rules may not apply. As always, your child’s pediatrician should partner with you in making nutrition recommendations, so ask what she thinks best for your toddler as the first birthday approaches.

So, why would a family choose an alterna-milk?

Most families choose an alterna-milk for personal reasons. Some families have chosen a vegan diet, or have allergies or intolerances to various dairy items. Some families simply don’t like the taste of cow’s milk.

Whatever the reason, alterna-milks are just that – alternatives. They are not nutritional replacements for a typical glass of cow’s milk.

All alterna-milks need to be supplemented with vitamins and minerals to come close to the nutrition provided by cow’s milk. Since all companies supplement differently, label reading is very important. Look for the key ingredients of fat, calcium, vitamin D, iron, and vitamin B12 in all of these products. Of note, none of these milks provide complete nutrition for infants, and should never replace breast milk or infant formula for children 0-12 months.

The alterna-milks are divided into 2 groups: Plant-based and animal-based.

Plant-based: Soy, nut, and grain milks

Plant-based “milks” are technically not milk at all because milk comes from mammals. So, plant-based “milks” are simply beverage alternatives made from the seeds of various plants. Plant-based beverages have very distinct tastes, textures, and colors. They are all cholesterol-free and contain little saturated fat.

Plant-based beverages can be loaded with sugar (cane juice or brown rice syrup as ingredients) to mask some of the naturally bitter taste. They are fortified with a less-potent vitamin D than animal-based milks, because the more potent vitamin D comes from an animal source and cannot be used in vegan beverages.

Overall, they vary in their nutritional content based upon how the beverage is fortified.

  • Soy milks

Soy milk is the most commonly available and popular of the alterna-milks. Soy milk has about the same amount of protein as cow’s milk and some iron, but little calcium unless fortified. Soybean crops are often heavily treated with pesticides, so an organic product may be preferred.

A debate among researchers is the presence of isoflavones in soy products. These components in soy products have been shown to modestly decrease LDL-cholesterol or“bad cholesterol” levels. However, some isoflavones (called phytoestrogens) have been associated with problematic stimulation of the reproductive systems of animals and humans. Therefore, it is under very rare and specific circumstances that soy milk and soy infant formulas are recommended for children.

  • Nut milks

Nut beverages are created by grounding nuts, straining, then liquifying the final product. The products are deficient in Vitamin B12 and have very little protein compared to soy.

Of all the nut milks, almond milk is the most nutritious based on the health benefits and contents in almonds themselves. Almonds have natural vitamin E which is thought to decrease the development of certain cancers. However, the actual amount of almonds used by companies to make the beverage is varied due to the nut’s expensive cost. It is impossible to know, therefore, how much of the final product will contain the almond nut benefits. In other words, you are likely better off just eating a handful of almonds.

Coconut milk is a source of fat and a pleasantly sweet taste. However, it offers little else.

  • Grain milks

Grain milks are created from fermented grain or flour. These products offer the natural benefit of fiber from the grain, however have very little protein.

Rice milk is processed from brown rice. It is a low fat, low protein, and lactose-free option. It is known as the the least allergenic alterna-milks for allergy-senstive families. The nutritional value of rice milk is very small, however, except for the fortified additives. For a vegan child or adult, soy milk remains a better alternative.

Hemp milk is newer to the alterna-milk family. It is created from the seeds of the same plant used to make marijuana. It is a good source of natural protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamin E. Hemp milk is high in omega fats, and lactose-gluten-free. It is also well tolerated for people with soy, dairy, or tree-nut allergies. Of note, these milks contain no THC (the active psychogenic agent in marijuana). Although increasingly popular, hemp milks are more difficult to find in neighborhood grocery stores. And due to the recent commercially availability, the nutritional benefits are largely unstudied.

Animal-based: Fermented, goat, and canned

Kefir is a cultured dairy product (from cow, sheep, or goat milk) that creates a yogurt-like drink. The milk is made by the addition of “kefir grains” to a dairy product, which are combinations of various bacteria and yeast. The health benefits of kefir have been claimed since ancient times; including anti-cancer effects, gut health, and even good face cream. Kefir may be a wonderful addition to a diet that includes cow’s milk products, but is practically cost-prohibitive for most families to use as an exclusive milk source.

Goat milk is more easily available in our region. Some claim that goat milk is more similar in composition to human breast milk. It also shares many proteins with cow’s milk, and includes lactose. In other words, for kids with cow’s milk allergy most will also have similar problems with goat milk. However, goat milk contains no iron, folate, or vitamin B12. If goat milk is going to be the primary choice in the home, a multivitamin including iron and B-vitamins is needed.

Toddler formula is a canned milk option, but rarely needed for healthy toddlers. Consult with your pediatrician about this milk choice before purchasing.

The alterna-milk bottom line:

For healthy toddlers, milk is just a drink. It is no longer a exclusive source of daily nutrition. In a society that typically drinks too many unnecessary calories; it is preferred that children develop a preference for low-fat, low-calorie, unsweetened beverages. So, regardless of the type you choose for your family, feel confident that milk is a great choice to partner with a plate of healthy food at every meal.

Good luck!

Sources:
Gall, Stephanie. An updated guide to soy, rice, nut, and other non-dairy milks. The Vegetarian Journal. Issue 1, 2008.
pediatrics.about.com
active.com
aappublications.org
wikipedia.org




40 Comments

  1. So the bottom line is milk is good with meals. My healthy no allergy almost 16-month old girl enjoys water. She is a great water drinker!! I give her juices in a cup with meals and she drinks them. She has not been one to enjoy milk like she does the non-nutrien- water. She will take a few sips of my milk or a few sips from a sippy cup. I was hoping to read more from this article about other good food sources that could be used to get those same nutrients as cow-milk. My daughter likes cottage-cheese, cheese, and yogurts. What are your thoughts on these food products? My little girl enjoys all of those and eats them daily. From your article my plan will to now offer cow-milk with all meals instead of water. We drink 2%, I can’t see purchasing whole milk when she does not drink that much. She could use the extra fat as she is only 19.6# and at 8% on wt. But she is healthy and there are no concerns from my pediatrician who works with your group out of the Lee’s Summit office. Thank you so much for your information!! I have shared this with others! I appreciate this blog!

    • Cottage cheese, hard cheeses, and yogurts are wonderful sources of calcium, fat, and protein. She will get some additional nutrition from the 2% milk you offer. Sounds like a plan! NB

  2. I just read your Dr. Oz/Juce blog THANK YOU! I will also keep this in mind when offering juice, which is not a daily occurrence. I agree whole foods are best! Thanks again for your wonderful information and the time spent getting this information out!!!

  3. Great post. I love your milk rules for toddlers and emphasis on decreasing importance of milk in the diet in general. Will definitely be sharing with patients. Great to have all of this information in one place. Thank you!

    • Thank you for reading, and taking the time to comment Dr. Roman! I’m glad it this can be helpful to you. NB

  4. Wow. My autistic son had so many feeding aversions, I offered him almond and hemp milk (intolerant to soy) just for variety. I never knew much about alterna milk until he needed it. Stores will sell by the case if you ask. It’s cheaper. Love the long shelf life of most alterna milks.

  5. Would you say that if a child gets the calcium, fat, protein & Vitamin D from other sources, that a child even needs to have a glass of milk with their meals? Neither my husband or I drink milk and we have milk/lactose allergies up and down our entire family tree, plus we just aren’t big fans of that & prefer water with meals. Is there anything dictating our little one would even need it at meals?

    • Great question. If you child is meeting nutrition requirements with other forms of dairy, then milk would not be needed. Confirm with your pediatrician that your child’s other sources are adequate. NB

  6. This is really helpful, but I feel like with my 16-month old twins we’re stuck in milk-limbo!! They drink A LOT and since we get low-pasturized, non-homogenized super natural mikl, it’s very very pricey. I think I’m giving them too much milk, but they seem to need it and are fussy without it. It might also be why they are not eating a lot, assuming they fill up on milk and aren’t hungry? How do we get out of this. DO you suggest measuring 8 oz. for every meal and going cold turkey on bedtime milk, etc.??? I feel like a hamster on a wheel and going nowhere. I think I need to suck it up and buckle down for a really hard week getting rid of extra milk and bottles…eek. Support or encouragement? We’re going broke with how much milk two toddlers are consuming! Gah!

    • Nicole – great questions. Thanks for your comment. Assuming your twins are thriving with normal growth and development… Here are some quick tips: 1. Bottles? Time to go! If they can use a sippy cup, the bottle is only worsening this problem. Your kids may be over-drinking due to reflexive sucking. And, I don’t want their teeth to be harmed. 2. As long as they are able to eat, they don’t “need” milk, they “want” milk. That is a very significant distinction. 3. They don’t need “bedtime milk.” They are not infants. 5. If you eliminate all the calories they must be drinking, children will compensate with more healthy food consumption. 16 ounces a day – TOPS – if you want better eaters. 6.. If you truly feel the need to offer such pricy milk, *you* have to make the choice to limit their consumption. Just keep in mind – every time you are offering milk, you are positively reinforcing their need to ask. Be patient. It will take about 2-3 weeks for their bodies to accomodate for decreased calories from milk.

      I know you can do it – you already told me the answer to your problems!! Make the decision you feel comfortable with – and stick to it – you need to get off that wheel! Have a great summer! NB

  7. So I can continue to nurse and not offer any other kind of milk, right? My 10.5 month of eats solids well, and I’m curious if anything really changes after the 1 year mark. I’m not giving any dairy because we are vegans.

    • Absolutely! Think of balanced nutrition sources with proteins and iron… and breast milk!

  8. I honestly appreciate all the tough work that you’ve devoted to keeping this blog available for everyone. I hope this remains for a really long time.

  9. Hi,

    Thank you for your article, it is great to know the alternatives out there. I’ve exclusively breastfed my boy and now he’s 16 months and we are introducing new sources of milk because I’m pregnant and milk production is now low. I’ve been supplementing wit Almond, coconut, sunflower & occasionally soy milks. On average, my boy takes 250ml/day. With a balance diet (meat/fish, greens/fruits and complex carbs) & a multivitamin, some juice 200ml/day, water is this sufficient?

    • Sounds like a great choice for your family. Congrats on the new addition! NB

  10. My grandson, whom I am raising, was on soy formula due to intolerance of regular formulas on the market. His father was diagnosed with severe IBS as an infant and was placed on donatol elixir before feedings and enrich with fiber for formula, so these problems with his son were not unexpected. My son’s symptoms before diagnosis were so severe he had shut down his vision and hearing to combat the pain all the types of formula tried had done to him and had been diagnosed deaf and blind. Once being placed on the enrich with fiber as formula and the donatol his hearing and sight returned in time.

    My question is regarding the best milk choice for my grandson now that he is over a year old. The pediatrician recommended soy milk for him after 1 yr of age. Now we are combating diarreah that is very acidic smelling and quickly rashing his bottom. We have tried giving him whole milk, which he promptly vomits back up within 15 minutes of consuming. I am at a loss of what is ok to give him. His pediatrician stands by the choice for soy milk, but the little guy is miserable. Please let me know what you would advise in this situation.

    • Janice, it is known that children with severe milk difficulties are also intolerant of soy. I would talk with your grandson’s pediatrician about another plant-based alternative. Most importantly, however, consider your grandchild’s global nutrition. With other healthy fat and proteins in his diet – and with a calcium/vitamin D supplement – simple water may be all you need as a beverage. If you are not getting much help from your pediatrician, consider a local pediatric nutritionist. They may be able to help. Good luck. NB

  11. We recently decided to become Vegan and focus on a plant based diet. I have a 7.5 month old son. He breastfed until 6 months but my supply disappeared and so he is now on cow’s milk formula. While we are now avoiding animal products I hesitate to transition him to soy formula because he’s doing well on the cow’s milk formula.

    I’ve been unsure as to what to give him once he turns a year. Everything I read says to give 3 cups of soy milk but I’m really not keen on giving him that much soy. I’d like to include soy in our diet but in moderation and in the form of tofu, endame or tempeh. Anyways, since we don’t consume dairy what other sources what would you suggest I give him to ensure he gets all the nutrients he needs?

    I was thinking of giving him a cup a day of alternative milks, likely almond and whatever we include in oatmeal and cereal. And I recently found some Greek style coconut yogurt. It is a little high in sugar but I find most yogurts are. The rest of his diet would be whole food plant based and would include healthy fat sources like nuts and butters, avocado, flax/chia seeds as well as whole grains, fruits, veggies, leafy greens, beans and legumes. I guess I’m just so conditioned to thinking that dairy is the only way to meet calcium and fat needs and that’s what I did with my daughter that I’m unsure what to do with my son. So is a serving of coconut yogurt and almond milk good sufficient along with a plant based whole foods diet?

    • Natalie, your family will grow and thrive on a vegan diet. Just be mindful of a few certain nutrients when meal planning. I like this article for some general guidelines: http://www.eatright.org/public/content.aspx?id=8060#.UQIMCUo6XOY. In addition, most of my vegan families offer a supplement to their children (liquid multivitamin with iron) based on their observed eating habits. You may want to discuss this option with your son’s pediatrician at his next visit. Good luck, and thanks for your comment. NB

  12. Thanks for your quick response and the link. I guess the thing I find the most frustrating about trying to plan a Vegan diet for my son is that every source advocates soy milk and doesn’t provide alternatives if parents are not comfortable with serving 3 cups of it a day. What if the toddler was allergic to dairy and soy?

    • With an otherwise balanced diet… likely almond milk or simply water. Talk to your doc to see what they think, too. NB

  13. I would caution alterna-milks in cartons which contain carrageenan, a known carcinogen. Canned coconut milk can also contain BPA’s from the cans themselves, and guar gum which can be difficult for some kiddos to digest.

    http://www.cornucopia.org/shopping-guide-to-avoiding-organic-foods-with-carrageenan/

    We just started making our own raw coconut milk and yogurt – so much easier than I ever thought! And my toddler, who has been tested for dairy sensitivity, LOVES IT!

    I would also challenge that coconut milk as more than “fat and not much else”:

    From http://www.happystomach.com/coconut.htm
    “Unlike other oils and fats, coconut oil contains a large amount of the fatty acid known as lauric acid, which is the predominant fatty acid found in mother’s milk. The lauric acid makes breast milk easily digestible, it strengthens the immune system and protects against viral, bacterial and fungal infections.

  14. Hello- My 14 month old daughter has a milk intolerance and we were told by pedetrician that it was ok to still be giving her 16 ounces of frumla per day to help with nutritional consumption. When i did the research on almond milk i found it did not meet the nutritional value.- but because I have drank it for quite some time due to my intolerance also. I offer this during meals and still give a cup of milk before naps and a 9 oz cup- half before bed half in bed (i know bad habit that i must break immediately). Do you encourage formula to be continued after the first year or should i be seeking alta- milks??

    • Sorry i should have read before sendin. Long story short. We are still giving our 14 month old formula- for naps and bed time. We offer water and milk during the day. Do you see any harm in her continuing on formula or do you recommend the use of alternative milks? We have intolerances in both sides of the family- and found that when we made the switch to milk just after her first birthday she became very congested and phlemy along with diarrhea. My pediatrician seemed to think that i was jumping the gun a little bit on removing milk.. what are your opinions?

      • Jamie – Great questions. Sounds like your little one has some unique needs due to her intolerances. Since I don’t know her entire history, I don’t think it is fair for me to comment. Most 14-month-olds don’t need milk before nap and bedtime. Are you sure she still needs these calories? You and your pediatrician know her best. I would ask them their opinion! Thanks for your comment.

  15. Hi! My 10.5 month old son has just gone through about 3 weeks or diarrhea 6-10 times a day.. After breastfeeding for the first 4 months we then went on enfamil premium with no issues until now. Took him to his dr they did stool samples and diarrhea formula which helps then when returning to his regular formula the diarrhea came back. His dr now thinks its a lactose intolerance and has put him on soy formula which has worked. Whith him approaching his first birthday I am concerned as what to do. I don’t think I am comfortable with keeping him on soy milk with some of the reasearch I have done dr also mentioned keeping him on formula Longer and again trying to indtroduce cows milk again later…. He is still only eatin purees as he Gags on table food that I give him or spits it out! Any ideas would be great.. Almond milk or hemp milk maybe?

    • Amanda, Thanks for your comment. Seems like you have a few issues here, and your doctor should be able to give you direction. Personally, I would not continue the expense of formula after his birthday. In turn, spending more for almond or hemp milk is more personal preference than need. I would be trying cheeses and yogurts in his diet as he is able to consume them (purees, then thicker) then slowly transition to cows milk and water as you are able after his birthday passes. Remember milk is simply a beverage after the birthday. With normal growth and development milk not necessary for his diet, as long as he is getting dairy in other ways. Ask your pedi what he thinks at his 1-year-check up. Good luck, NB

  16. I really appreciated this article and would love to read more along these lines. I understand that fats are very important for a growing child and would love to know what are good sources of fats for a child. I am trying to have a more plant-based diet, but I am concerned my toddler won’t get enough of the fat he needs with this lifestyle.

  17. My 14 month old daughter was ebf, started baby food and ‘tasting’ from my plate around 6-7 months, would never take a bottle or sippy cup, which is starting to become problematic. Her doctor wanted me to start offering her whole cows milk at a year, and when I expressed concerns about hormones and antibiotics, she suggested I buy organic whole milk. It’s expensive, but worth a try. I offered it to we every day for a week, and she threw it up every time. I just continued Breastfeeding and offering water in different cups trying to find one she’d drink from, just so we could get through the holidays. I had heard that the plant based ‘milks’ didn’t have the fats and also the goats milk was similar to human milk and happened to see some in the organic section of the grocery store last week so I picked it up to try. She has drank maybe 2-3 oz every morning with breakfast, and not thrown up at all. So I had to take her for a check up and was excited to update the doctor. She goths at me for giving the baby goat milk and told me that of she had a problem with the cows milk I should’ve given her soy. I’ve read some pretty bad things about soy lately, and causing hormone imbalances and stuff like that and am NOT wanting to introduce it to my baby. Do I ignore the doctor? Do I ignore the research? Do I just Breastfeeding her till she heads off to college? (Kidding, not an option) Do I just dump milk altogether and give her water to drink and rely on food for all nutrition? Can you suggest what nutrients I’ll need to make sure I’m replacing? Thanks so much! Both of my older children had allergies and other health issues when they were little, and I’m starting to think it was because they were getting ‘sick care’ instead of ‘healthcare’. If kids are healthy, then doctors don’t get their money, so maybe they have a hidden agenda?

    • “If kids are healthy, then doctors don’t get their money, so maybe they have a hidden agenda?”

      As a practicing pediatrician, it saddens me that you would make that comment. However, in my opinion 2-3 ounces of *anything* in an otherwise healthy, normally growing toddler diet is a very insignificant amount. Please don’t stress or make this too big of an issue. You clearly care about your family’s nutrition, and will make the right choice. I would stick with water and healthy nutritious food that includes other calcium and vitamin D sources. More importantly, start looking for a new pediatrician that you can lean into for long-term health leadership. There are many of us out there. NB

      • I’m sorry. :/
        I didn’t mean you or even ‘all’ doctors. It’s just so frustrating. Where I live, there are no natural doctors, no local farmers to buy from. They push un-needed medicines, vaccines with horrible toxic ingredients, and cheap, manufactured food. I feel like I’m hitting a brick wall at every turn, just trying to point my family in a more natural, healthy direction. Thanks for the advice and for your very helpful blog!

  18. Great info! Thank you!
    I have a question about toddlers & constipation.
    My 2 year son has had issues with constipation for over a year now. He has a history of CDiff overgrowth due to having to take Erythromycin when he was just a few months old & exposed to Pertussis that his big sister came down with. She was current on all vaccinations, however, her immunity had wained (as apparently we now know happens quite often in many children her age.) Anyway, our son never got symptoms of Pertussis, but the antibiotic cleared the way in his system for (naturally occurring CDiff in infants) overgrowth to happen, thus producing dangerous toxins.
    After multiple rounds of Metronadizole, he has remained overgrowth free for a year now!!!
    His Infectious Disease Specialist & Pediatrican have had him on a daily dose of PEG to keep him from being constipated. It has worked ok for the most part, but I do not like using this on him & want to use more natural ways of dealing with this issue. He’s a picky eater, but I think he may be drinking too much milk as well. Can you recommend a good cow’s milk alternative? I think it is the main cause of his constipation. Desire a more natural alternative to PEG? Maybe dark corn syrup? Grasping at straws here! :)

  19. My son is 3 years old, and cow’s milk makes him severely constipated, the doctor said to give him Miralax everyday but don’t stop giving him cow’s milk. What is it there in cows milk that doctors would rather medicate a child everyday rather than find and alternative for it?

    • Lee – Milk offers protein, calcium and (some) Vit. D. If he is getting those things from other sources, he likely does not need milk. Would be a great question for your doc at his next well appointment! NB

  20. I found this while searching for information to assist breastfeeding mothers who are weaning after 1 and are looking for milk alternatives. I found this information useful but there is a portion that is questionable. I the article it states:

    “Breast milk is not an alterna-milk. Breast milk is still a wonderful option for those who continue to nurse after the age of 1 year. The medical benefits of breast milk after the first year of life, however, are less firmly established. It can be generally agreed upon that if breast milk is continued to be offered to toddlers, providing whole food sources of vitamin D and iron are important. Alternatively, offering a multivitamin to provide these nutrients may need to be considered.”

    It was brought to my attention by one of my colleges, Norma Ritter, that this statement is not completely true. There is evidence based research that show that children benefit from breastmilk after a year.

    See her comments below.

    - Why can’t they come straight out and say that it is biologically normal for children to continue to nurse past a year?
    http://www.iamnotthebabysitter.com/the-anthropological-breastfeeding-weaning/
    - Here is a comprehensive list of the ways in which breastfeeding continues to be important after 12 months:
    http://kellymom.com/ages/after12mo/ebf-refs/
    - Breastfeeding is so much more than the milk! It is time we started to acknowledge the relationship component of breastfeeding as an integral part of its value.

    • Thanks for your comment, Ms. Lowe. You have provided nice references for extended breastfeeding, including the cultural relevance, psychological benefits, and historical equivalents to other primates. I think you agree with my statement that extended nursing is a wonderful option, I stated that clearly in my post. Where I care for patients, my families have access to a modern, typical American diet. In this environment, the medical (bioequivalent nutritional) benefits are less clear. This is much different to the references of medical benefit cited from research in areas of the world that are food scarce. I am happy to see a growing body of research that shows associative data implying benefits (academic, psychological). I have many families who successfully nurse for many years, but the factors that determine this choice are more global than the medical benefits alone. NB

  21. For a soy & milk intolerant 1 year old whose sisters have nut allergies, would you recommend rice, coconut, or hemp? Currently we are on coconut.

    • Unsweetened coconut is fine. Alternatively, offer water with a dietary supplements (or whole natural foods) that offer calcium and vitamin D.

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