eczema mama non-dairy milk alternatives for toddlers with food allergies header. Plant based milk ideas
Food Allergies

Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives for Toddlers

My youngest just turned one. I feel like I just told you all I was pregnant. Now one of the biggest questions for eczema and allergy babies is what kind of milk I can give him. Can I give my toddler soy milk instead of cow’s milk? 

You can give your toddler soy milk instead of cow’s milk.

I’ve been through this question with my oldest who is allergic to dairy and I came to a great solution. Of course with new doctors and a new town comes new advice. It’s so frustrating when you think you have something figured out and all the advice changes. 

Well here’s the truth you have to do what’s best for you no matter what advice you’re given. 

The best way to do that is to get all the information and make an informed decision. So here’s an article with all the best non-dairy milk you can use. This information includes which non-dairy milk is best for babies and toddlers. 

Keep reading to go over a full list of non-dairy milk alternatives and all the pros and cons. We’ll even discuss why babies with eczema often have food allergies to dairy. 

The Eczema Mama non-dairy milk alternatives for toddlers and babies. cups of plant based milk lined up in comparison.
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Milk Alternatives for Toddlers with Allergies 

There are several reasons why you might want to feed your toddler milk alternatives. 

For instance:

  • your toddler may be allergic to milk
  • dairy may cause eczema flare-ups
  • you may be vegan
  • your toddler won’t drink milk no matter what you do

We give our toddlers milk once they outgrow formula or the breast to keep providing them with the nutrients they need to grow. We want to make sure they get enough calcium, iron, and B12 vitamins. 

What Can I Feed My Toddler With a Milk Allergy?

You can feed your toddler with a milk allergy any kind of non-dairy milk, hypoallergenic toddler formula, or whole foods.

At this point, toddlers don’t need as much milk as babies. You may not need to search for a cow milk substitute for a one-year-old. Big kids will thrive off of foods that have all the nutrients they need. 

Try allowing them to wash down dinner with one milk at a time until they find one that they enjoy. 

What to Give a Toddler Who Won’t Drink Milk

Give a toddler who won’t drink milk a non-dairy milk alternative. Just because your toddler isn’t allergic to dairy doesn’t mean they have to drink it.

It’s ok if you don’t know what to give a toddler who won’t drink milk. You can use a milk allergy diet for toddlers as your guide.  Give them different milk options to try just as you would any toddler with a food allergy.

Choose the milk that works best for your nutritional needs, be sure it has the protein and fat your toddler needs.

How Can You Tell if Your Toddler has a Milk Allergy? 

If you are trying to figure out how you can tell if your toddler has a milk allergy, it’s time for research mode. Read up on food allergies and try keeping a food journal to give you clues. 

Of course, you will then need to talk to your doctor to figure out a milk allergy diet for toddlers.

If you’ve already spoken to your doctor you may not know what to do next. You’re left with a toddler who’s allergic to milk and asking what can I eat?

The answer is to eat dairy-free alternatives made with almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk. Today’s allergy alternatives have advanced. Looking into some of the wonderful allergy-free and vegan options will give you hope. 

Is Non-Dairy Milk Good for Toddlers?

Non-dairy milk is just as good as any other milk or drink for toddlers. With anything, you will need to be sure your toddler’s diet is balanced. Each choice will need to have the nutrients they need to grow. 

Non-dairy milk is a safe alternative for children to get the vitamins and minerals they need from milk when they can no longer breastfeed or use dairy or dairy formulas. 

Toddlers with food allergies how to choose a plant based milk. Almond milk, oat milk, spilled all over the table.

What Milk Substitute is Best for Toddlers?

The best milk substitute for toddlers is one that your child is not allergic to. It will also contain a good assortment of nutrients they need to grow like calcium. 

There’s a long list of plant-based milk alternatives. While soy milk may be good for some children, almond milk may be the best for others. To decide what milk substitute is best for your toddler make a quick list of pros and cons

Start with checking the allergen label and go from there. 

Here’s an example of almond milk for toddlers pros and cons: 

Pros

  • High in antioxidants (vitamin E)
  • Heart-healthy 
  • Contains iron, calcium, and potassium naturally
  • Low in fat

Cons 

  • Not great for people with nut allergies especially if you don’t get a brand made in a controlled environment. 
  • Not suitable for babies under one year of age

The biggest decision for suitable milk often comes down to calcium. It’s great that almond milk contains calcium naturally. Other milk alternatives like soy have calcium added in, that’s what fortified means. 

Other calcium alternatives to milk, for toddlers, include cereal, bread, leafy vegetables, and juice. So don’t feel limited to just one option for nutrition. 

You don’t have to choose one milk to be the best. Create an overall diet full of everything your toddler needs. This could mean drinking more than one kind of milk substitute. 

Which Non-Dairy Milk is Best for Toddlers?

The best non-dairy milk can be any alternative that is fortified with the nutrients your toddler needs. Fortified means that vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, and B12 have been added in. 

Depending on your toddler’s needs, you’ll want to pick an alternative that has the best combination of nutrients. Talk to your doctor about what your toddler may be lacking in their own diet.

For example, my vegan toddler needs B12. While my youngest son needs more iron in his diet.

Different milk alternatives will have a different set of benefits. No option is the best for everyone, but one option is the best milk for you. 

Eczema Mama best milk substitutes infographic with detail descriptions about plant based milk alternatives

Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives

Non-dairy milk alternatives come in a variety of plant-based options. Even animal-based options like goat milk are available. Each has a different amount of proteins, nutrients, and fat that will benefit your diet in different ways.

Choose the best alternative based on nutrition or by which makes the best foam in your latte (oat milk btw).

These alternatives have what you need and are the best milk substitutes to choose from:

  • Soy milk
  • Almond milk
  • Oat Milk 
  • Rice Milk
  • Coconut Milk
  • Hemp Milk 
  • Cashew Milk

From the list, the best alternative to cow’s milk is hard to choose. Soy milk has the most nutrients, almond milk has a great taste, while rice milk is free from all allergens.

The best alternative will be what works best for you and your toddler. But sometimes your options will depend on what’s available in a store near you. Remember that these days you can also find shelf-stable non-dairy milk options online.

How to Choose the Best Non Dairy Milk for Toddlers

The way to decide the best plant-based milk option is to consider:

  • What milk has the most nutritional value?
  • Is my toddler allergic to any of the milk alternatives?
  • What flavor does my toddler seem to like the most?
  • What did my doctor suggest?

I chose soy milk as the best alternative for my oldest son. It had all the nutrients he needed to supplement his vegan diet.

I had to consider his allergies to nuts as a cross-contamination issue, so it ruled out almond milk. I also had to consider what to give a vegan toddler as well. 

Of course today, our vegan diets look a lot different than it used to. 

What do Vegan Toddlers Drink Instead of Milk?

Vegan toddlers drink milk alternatives similar to children who have dairy allergies. A vegan diet includes fortified non-dairy milk like soy and almond milk. 

The quest for the right milk is always changing. My second child’s pediatrician doesn’t recommend soy milk because of estrogen. Hearing this made me worry all over again. 

Luckily the almond milk we picked up says it has been processed in a sterile allergy-free environment, so I don’t have to worry about cross-contamination with peanuts.

Whenever you are unsure double-check the label and don’t be afraid to change it up. There is no rule that says what’s best for your child won’t change from one child to the next. 

Soy Milk and Estrogen

If you’re like me you’re a little skeptical about everything, at least until you get more info. When my doctor was worried about my boys having soy milk because of estrogen I had to do more research. 

Apparently, there’s a risk in children consuming high amounts of soy. The fear is that the soy would affect the immune system

One other problem with soy is the fear that soy isoflavones could affect a baby’s sexual development. This information, however, refers to soy milk formula. Studies showed there were no differences in development between babies fed soy milk or cow’s milk formula.

As for choosing a milk alternative, this information is skewed. The information in this article is about one-year-olds who have passed the formula stage. So when you consider milk alternatives for babies there are different issues. 

Your child’s age, food allergies, and development all play a role in the decisions you make. 

My son has been on soy milk for two years now with no issues. The fact that my doctor cautioned us not to use soy milk is why my recommendations always come with a disclaimer. 

A plan based on someone else won’t work you should ask your doctor if you are concerned with soy milk and estrogen. 

If you’ve been using soy milk all this time don’t panic (like I did). All is well. You still have the option to choose different milk for your toddler. If your toddler doesn’t want to try different milk try giving them a little less soy milk every day. 

Dairy-Free Toddler Formula

Dairy-free toddler formula is also an option, but it’s not necessary to feed a baby formula after one year of age. Children at this age are able to take on more foods, so the goal is to ween them away from formula altogether and towards what you eat at dinner. 

The extra cost of dairy-free toddler formula may not be worth it when you can buy an alternative like oat milk for toddlers. 

Best milk for toddlers with eczema header. Eczema Mama best milk for eczema sufferers section

Best Milk for Eczema Sufferers

Everything on this website starts with eczema, so it’s important to discuss how milk affects eczema. The best milk for eczema sufferers is one that is also allergy-free. 

One of the biggest triggers for eczema is dairy. Many children who have eczema also have milk or egg allergies as well. So you may find yourself looking for a milk substitute for toddlers with eczema because of food allergies.

The milk substitutes for babies with eczema is the same as vegan or toddlers with eczema. The list is extensive, but each milk may affect eczema a little differently. For example, if your toddler is allergic to soy then choosing soy milk would only cause your child more problems.

Rice Milk for Eczema

Rice milk is a plant-based milk that isn’t considered as much as it should. However, rice milk is a great alternative. Rice milk doesn’t contain any of the top eight allergens and is infused with vitamins. This is milk to consider you can not use nut milk or soy milk.

Is Oat Milk Good for Eczema? 

Oat milk is good for eczema suffers as well. This also takes the top eight allergens out of the picture. The best part about oat milk is its creaminess. It’s a full-fat alternative that works well as a substitute for those who want milk that can froth up.

Is Almond Milk Good for Eczema? 

Almond milk is good for eczema if you don’t want to use dairy. Be sure the label reads that it was made in a safe environment if you are allergic to peanuts. Otherwise, almond milk is only an issue for those with an allergy to tree nuts.

Does Milk Help with Eczema?

Milk does not help with eczema. In fact, milk is actually known to be a problem for children with eczema. 

If you haven’t already you should consider getting your baby tested for allergies because omitting dairy may be something that helps with your child’s eczema. However, the only way to know for sure you should omit any food is by talking to your doctor.

Whole Milk and Eczema

Whole milk and eczema have a bad history together. Dairy is a problem because an allergy causes eczema flare-ups or hives. 

Studies show that children with eczema are also likely to have a food allergy to dairy. But it’s difficult to determine food allergies in children. It’s nearly impossible to find out in babies under six months. Our food allergy journey started just after our son turned six months. 

Between lactose intolerance and an allergy to dairy, eczema flares may get mixed up with hives or baby acne. Focusing on matters of the gut will help you determine if your problem is eczema or something else entirely. 

Does Milk Cause Eczema in Toddlers?

Milk can only cause eczema in toddlers if your child is allergic. Studies show that children with eczema are also likely to be allergic to milk, eggs, or peanuts. Nutrition plays a big role in eczema in babies and children.

So, Can drinking milk cause eczema?

No, drinking milk doesn’t cause eczema. Your reaction to milk may cause flare-ups. 

The cause of eczema is still unknown, but it does include a few different factors such as genetics and allergens. 

Consider changing your baby’s diet or journaling to find out what foods might be causing an allergic reaction. 

What Milk is Best for Toddlers with Eczema

Over time the plant-based milk options have flooded the market. That’s a great thing for all of us with food allergies. However, it makes it hard to make a decision.

The best milk for toddlers with eczema is a milk alternative that your child isn’t allergic to.

As you see making that choice will depend on your child’s age, food allergies, and tastes. You have a long list of options ranging from soy milk to rice milk. One thing that is for sure you can make the right choice.

Tell me more about your choices in the comments below. 

Have you tried every milk alternative on the list? How about cow’s milk formula alternatives? What are your favorites?

Lydia Knox is a mother of two boys with eczema. After facing severe eczema for the first time she dedicated herself to tackling the problem. She now uses her knowledge to help parents navigate raising children with severe eczema and food allergies. Lydia found a way to combine motherhood and her love of marketing into her business, Lydia Knox Creates. There she is able to work with parents and small businesses creating educational and entertaining content. You can read more about parenting here on Eczema Mama and see more of her work on lydiaknox.com.