6 Healthy Alternatives to Cow’s Milk

There are many varieties of milk available and choosing the healthiest type of milk to suit your child can be confusing. Whether you’re looking beyond cows milk for health reasons or you would like to experiment with plant based alternatives available, you may well wonder which is the best type of milk to feed your child.

Most kids when past weaning should avoid milk altogether because all their nutritional requirements is provided by the food they eat. In the initial stages of changing from one type of milk to another, slowing start dilating the regular milk with the alternative milk and this can help with the differing tastes and helpful for even the fussiest of eaters.

Is your child reacting to milk?

There are two common types of reactions to dairy products.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose is the natural sugar found in dairy products. Lactose intolerance occurs when the body doesn’t make enough of an enzyme called lactase, which breaks down the lactose. When this happens, the undigested lactose moves through the gut quickly and may result in symptoms that can appear about 30 minutes to two hours after ingesting the dairy products.

Casein Allergy

Casein is the largest group of proteins found in milk and other dairy products and makes up approximately 80% of the total protein content. A casein allergy occurs when the body mistakenly identifies casein as a threat and in response the body triggers a reaction in an attempt to fight it off. For most children with a true casein allergy, milk and all forms of dairy must be avoided because even trace amounts could trigger a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis which can be life threatening. Signs of anaphylaxis includes redness, hives, swelling and difficulty breathing and should be treated immediately.

Symptoms your child could be reacting to dairy include: 

❎ Diarrhoea
❎ Breathing problems
❎ Tummy pains or bloating
❎ Constipation
❎ Eczema or rash
❎ Hives

Dairy Foods

Here a list of foods that contain dairy

❎ All forms of milk (whole, low-fat, skim, buttermilk)

❎ Butter, margarine, ghee, butter flavourings

❎ Yoghurt, milk kefir

❎ Cheese

❎ Ice-cream, gelato

❎ Cream (whipped, heavy, sour)

❎ Custard

Non- Dairy Milk alternatives

Here is a list of non-dairy milk alternatives you can try.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk is squeezed from the flesh of a coconut. It has a pleasant flavour that most kids will enjoy making it popular alternative to dairy milk. Coconut milk has a light tropical flavour and is a safe dairy-free alternative for those who have a tree nut allergy.

Almond milk

Almond milk is made by soaking almonds in water and then blending and straining to remove any nut residue. It’s a popular and tasty nondairy alternative for kids that can’t tolerate traditional milk from cows. It’s easy enough to make at home and this helps to avoid the additives such as carrageenan to thicken and separate the milk.

Hemp milk

Hemp milk is made from ground, soaked hemp seeds. They are high in protein and provides more healthy omega-3 fats than other plant based milks. While this milk if virtually carb-free, some brands add sweeteners so check the ingredient list for added sugars.

Oat Milk

Oat milk is made from soaking whole oats and is very nutritious. It’s high in soluble fibre, which absorbs water and turns into a gel in the stomach. This helps to slow down the digestion process and will keep your child fuller for longer. It’s naturally sweet from the oats and higher in carbohydrates than most other plant based milks

Soy Milk

Nutritionally speaking, soy milk comes closest to cow’s milk with regard to the protein portion because soy beans are an excellent source of complete protein. However, there is a lot of controversy around the health benefits of soy milk and if your child reacts to dairy milk, soy milk may also be problematic.



To make a natural therapies appointment with Fiona Stock, paediatric naturopath in Melbourne, Email hello@thechildrensnaturopath.com to book a consultation at her health and wellness clinic to assist you and your child on the journey to better children’s health.

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