Cow’s milk vs alternatives

Mandy Sacher

Mandy Sacher

Child nutrition expert and mother of two, Mandy Sacher, is a Paediatric Nutritionist and SOS Feeding Consultant. Her private practice focuses on prenatal and childhood nutrition, helping parents and mums-to-be feed their children healthy, nourishing foods right from the start. Mandy’s philosophy is simple: train children’s taste buds to enjoy nourishing, nutritionally...
Updated on Jun 14, 2024 · 1 min read
Cow’s milk vs alternatives

With the rise in non-dairy alternatives to milk, it can be quite confusing navigating the aisles of the supermarket. Choosing the right option for your little one will depend on their individual needs.


Whilst your little one will be able to take cow’s milk in place of breast milk or formula from 12 months onwards, non-dairy alternatives such as rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, soy milk or hemp milk shouldn’t be used as a milk replacement for babies.

Non-dairy alternatives do not offer the same nutritional benefits as whole milk, as they are generally low in protein and fat. They can be used in cooking and baking, provided no nut or associated allergies exist. From the ages of 1–2, they can be used as part of a balanced diet.

Full-fat vs low-fat milk


It is advised to offer your little one full-fat cow’s milk over low fat, as full-fat milk products contain less lactose, more vitamins and will have less of an effect on blood glucose levels than low-fat milk products.


What are the best sources of calcium


Dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt contain calcium but there are many other non-dairy food sources such as:

  • Sardines
  • Tinned salmon
  • Almonds
  • Basil
  • Kale (perfect for hiding in smoothies)
  • Bok choy
  • Poppy, Sesame, Chia seeds

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