Can Babies Have Almond Milk? The Answer Isn't Exactly Clear
Almond milk is a big food trendy lately and for good reason. It's a great option for anyone with a lactose or milk allergy because it's not cow's milk. It's also a good choice for anyone following a vegan diet and eats non-animal products. Many find it tasty, readily available, and packed full of important nutrients. If you're worried about your baby consuming cow's milk because of possible allergies or you'd like to raise them on a vegan diet, you may be wondering, can babies have almond milk?
The answer is yes and no, because it really depends on the age of the baby. According to Healthline, you should wait to introduce milk to your baby of any kind (cow, almond, soy, or otherwise) until their first birthday. At this point, it's assumed that your baby's digestive system can handle it. As explained on the same website, choosing an almond milk fortified with calcium will make it equivalent to cow's milk in its calcium content. Almond milk is a good source of hydration for older babies and toddlers, and it can round out a well-balanced diet full of other proteins and calcium rich foods (of the non-dairy variety).
It's very important to note here that babies under 1 year old should not be consuming milk that is not breast milk or formula, according to Baby Center. Milk that is not breast milk or formula is not suitable for babies under 12 months of age. Doing a quick search, I saw various almond, goat, and rice based baby formulas advertised online, however, I did not find medical research to back up their safety or nutritional components.
If you can't breastfeed (or don't choose to for personal reasons) and are concerned about various allergies, there are several soy-based and hypoallergenic formulas to try. According to Very Well, there are three hypoallergenic baby formulas to choose from including: partially hydrolyzed, extensively hydrolyzed, and free amino-acid based, all of which are touted by experts in the US as being safe for babies. You could also look into breast milk banks and see if they offer breast milk that is donated from a mother who subscribes to a lactose-free diet.
There are many reasons parents will consider giving almond milk to a baby. It's fine, so long as you wait until after their first birthday, and you make sure that your baby is getting adequate calcium from various other nutrient-packed foods.