Almond Milk for Babies: What Experts Say About It
Almond milk: they look so fancy and tastes so yummy. You can easily gulp down a carton yourself.
Is almond milk safe and healthy for babies?
This article will try to look into all the hype around almond milk. Are these companies nuts (pardon the pun) for advocating almond milk for babies?
What Is Almond Milk?
Almond milk is just basically water with fine ground almonds. The opaque color and taste are due to the add-on chemicals, sugar and other substances that you can barely pronounce embossed on the product carton.
Some parents typically give almond milk if the child has milk allergies or lactose intolerance and cannot tolerate cow’s milk.
Almond milk has mostly sugar and water and isn’t as nutritious as cow’s milk. That being said, almond milk for babies should be avoided as much as possible. Almond milk has less nutritional content as say, a handful of almonds.
There are times when you have no other choice but to switch to almond milk, especially when you don't have enough breastmilk supply and your little one is lactose intolerant.
In such cases, here are some considerations you should think about.
When Should I Give My Baby Almond Milk?
Almond milk isn’t for babies. It does not have the right stuff to support your baby’s growth. But, again, there may be exemptions.
As a general rule, wait until your child is over a year old before you give any milk other than breastmilk formula.
Since the almond milk contains the least amount of nutrients, you have to make sure you're giving calcium-fortified almond milk because according to Healthline, almond milk, by itself, does not contain enough calcium.
This nutrient is crucial for our little ones' bone development; hence, make sure it can meet your baby's calcium needs.
Also, give your baby solid foods that are rich in other vitamins and minerals. Since the almond milk cannot provide all of these, the solid food should compensate.
Almond Milk And Nut Allergies
Some babies are just allergic to nuts. Giving almond milk to babies may trigger that nut allergy.
Allergic reactions range from itchy skin, rashes, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, coughing, wheezing to the downright dangerous obstruction of breathing.
Nut allergies may even trigger anaphylaxis, which is a potentially life-threatening condition unless you act fast.
If giving almond milk to your baby, start with small amounts and observe his reaction to it. If everything turns out OK, then continue; otherwise, look for another alternative.
Lactose-free Vegan Milk Alternatives
Ranking baby food, breast milk is hands down the best for infants and even for toddlers. Breast milk is liquid gold; no fancy formula can compare to it ever.
Formula milk comes second just in case breast milk is not available. After these two liquid foods, nothing else comes in third or fourth. As you can see, “milk” alternatives derived from plant-based foods doesn’t count.
If you got no formula milk for your toddler, coconut milk leads the pack. Coconut milk contains too many fats and calories though, so I would think twice before I give a glass to my child.
Soy milk and almond milk comes in the tie. Both of these “milk” tastes good, but they are not meant for consumption by infants.
But then again:
If you have no other choice, choose almond milk that's calcium-fortified and sugar-free if possible. Or at least, it should contain the minimal amount of sweeteners.
The Nutty Conclusion
I won’t argue that almond milk is good stuff. It tastes delicious and is ideal for adults who want to lose a bit of weight, but it isn’t for babies. Our children need all the nutrients that they can get.
But I also acknowledge that there are babies with special needs. In such cases, consult your doctor about the best alternative to breast or formula milk.
If giving almond milk:
Check the sugar content and the vitamins and minerals incorporated into it. If they won't meet your baby's needs, make sure he gets it somewhere else.