For families avoiding cow’s milk, finding the best milk alternative for toddlers, that is nutritionally suitable (and tasty!), can be difficult. Read on to learn about important nutrients in cow milk, why some toddlers may not consume cow’s milk, and what to consider when looking for the best cow’s milk alternative for your little one.
Ashley Weber, ND
Should I give my baby cow’s milk?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends incorporating whole cow’s milk into a child’s diet at the age of 1 year. Since cow’s milk is not nutritionally suitable for infants (it’s notably low in iron), it’s best to stick with breast milk or infant formula before 12 months. However, cow’s milk may be a nice complement to a toddler’s healthy diet. Cow’s milk delivers valuable nutrients, including protein, fat, B-vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin D, and zinc. Since fat is important for growing toddlers, full fat cow’s milk is recommended.
Is cow’s milk right for everyone?
While cow’s milk may provide important nutrients for toddlers, it may not be right for everyone. Some children may have symptoms associated with cow’s milk consumption such as tummy troubles, eczema, or chronic congestion. Other families avoid cow’s milk as a matter of personal preference. For toddlers not consuming cow’s milk, it’s important for parents to find a cow’s milk alternative that is nutritionally suitable to support their rapid growth and development.
Important nutrition for toddlers
The little bodies of toddlers are rapidly growing. So, it’s important that they consume whole foods that can deliver the nutrients critical to this development. While all nutrients play a role in optimal health, picky eating toddlers may miss out on adequate daily intakes of iron, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and protein.
Comparing the alternatives
Plant-based milks may be made from soy, coconut, or nuts like almonds or cashews. These milks may be a delicious option for some children but often lack important nutrients for young toddlers including protein, iron and omega 3 fatty acids.
Goat’s milk* contains naturally easy to digest protein, which forms a softer and smaller curd in the gut compared to cow milk. And, it’s degraded more quickly than cow’s milk protein. Goat’s milk may be a delicious cow’s milk alternative for older children and adults, however it too lacks some important nutrients for toddlers, such as folate, iron, and omega 3 fatty acid.
KABRITA goat milk toddler formula contains naturally easy to digest goat’s milk protein and is specifically designed for toddlers aged 12-24 months. It is fortified with 22 vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, iron, and omega 3 fatty acids. It has a naturally sweet, mild, and delicious taste. For toddlers avoiding cow’s milk, KABRITA goat milk formula* may be a delicious AND nutritious alternative.
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* Not suitable for children with cow milk protein allergy.