Most doctors are of the opinion that children under the age of 1 year should drink breast milk, and if this is not possible, infant formula based on milk or soy.
Experts advise giving other types of milk – including almond milk – only to children over 1 year of age, as breast milk and formula contain a specific nutrient profile necessary for the successful development of a newborn baby.
Almond milk can be safely given to most babies over 1 year of age, but even at this age it should not be used as a substitute for breast milk or infant formula.
In general, almond milk can be a healthy substitute for cow’s milk, but there are some nutritional differences to consider.
Can children drink almond milk?
Children over 1 year old can be given almond milk once or twice a day between periods of breastfeeding or eating other foods.
Almond milk contains crushed almonds and water. Some manufacturers add other ingredients such as thickeners, sweeteners, and flavors, as well as nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin D, and calcium.
Almond milk may be a safe addition to a baby’s diet, but no milk compares to breast milk or infant formula in terms of nutrients.
Almond milk should not be used to replace breast milk or formula milk as developing babies need certain vitamins and nutrients that these types of milk provide.
If you are using almond milk to supplement your baby’s diet, make sure it is low-sugar or unsweetened milk, that it is fortified with calcium and vitamins A and D, and that the baby is also consuming other forms of fat and protein.
It is also important to find out if the child has a nut allergy. If the child’s next of kin has it, it is best to avoid nuts and consult a pediatrician before introducing any type of nut milk into the child’s diet.
What is the nutritional value of almond milk compared to cow’s milk?
Nutritionally, cow’s milk and almond milk differ markedly. Some doctors recommend using whole cow’s milk for weaned babies between the ages of 1 and 2, as it contains a high concentration of fat.
One cup of whole milk contains about 8 grams of fat, which is essential for brain development in a developing baby. In comparison, unsweetened almond milk contains only 2,5 grams of fat.
According to the same report, cow’s milk also contains more protein than almond milk, with 1 cup of whole milk containing nearly 8g of protein, while 1 cup of fortified almond milk has only 1g of protein.
However, if fats and proteins are present elsewhere in the child’s diet, almond milk may be a suitable whole milk replacement for young children.
Cow’s milk contains more natural sugars than unsweetened almond milk. Choose unsweetened almond milk, as sweetened and flavored options may contain more sugar than cow’s milk.
After a child is 1 year old, milk of any kind should only supplement their diet and should not replace other whole foods.
Neither almond milk nor regular cow’s milk are good substitutes for breast or dairy milk for babies under 1 year of age. At any age, if the baby is drinking breast milk, no other milk is required.
Adding one to two servings of fortified almond milk per day to a well-balanced diet is a safe alternative to cow’s milk for young children.
Babies under 1 year of age should not drink any type of milk other than breast milk or formula milk.