Can Toddlers Drink Plant Milk?

The use of non-dairy milk in toddlers and children is increasing. But are there nutritional implications?

Unless your toddler has an allergy, avoid using non dairy milk.

Cow’s milk is an excellent source of calcium and many micronutrients. It is fortified with vitamin D, children who don’t drink it are at a higher risk of developing rickets.

No plant milk has a similar balance of fat, protein, carbohydrates, or calories per serving.

With smaller stomachs than us, toddlers rely on nutrient and calorie-dense foods. Children who drink alternative milks do not grow as tall as those who drink cow’s milk.

In the Case of Allergies

If you need to use non dairy milk for any reason keep in mind:

Goat’s milk is the most similar widely available alternative to cow’s milk

For plant milks, soy has the closest number of calories, and protein per serving when compared to milk

If your child cannot have animal milk there are plant based toddler formulas which are formulated to overcome the nutrient deficiencies of plant milks

Check to see whether or not your milk of choice is fortified with Vitamin D, if not, it can be supplemented, ask your doctor before giving it to your child.


A Comparison of the Nutritional Value of Cow’s Milk and Nondairy Beverages