Feedback on Rice Milk or Almond Milk?

Updated on July 25, 2012
B.C. asks from Arvada, CO
16 answers

My DD will be transitioning off of formula soon and we are not fans of cow's milk. I'd like some feedback on those who have chosen either rice or almond milk as alternatives.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

I've been doing some research on this as I'm not such a huge fan of cow's milk either. We tried goat's milk, but DS wasn't a fan. And other posters are correct, both rice and almond milk do not have enough fat content. You can substitute vitamin D and calcium (say from salmon or broccoli and getting sunshine each day), but the fat content they do need.

One option I found is that if you make your own almond milk, it has plenty of fat in it. Also, hemp milk has more fat content in it and lots of Omega's so that might be something to try (we haven't tried it just yet).

Well, good luck and let me know if you find another alternative!



answers from Provo on

We used Almond Breeze almond milk for our two daughters and loved it. i found that almond breeze had the best taste and it doesn't produce a lot of mucus like cow milk and soy milk. They say that kids need the fat in cow milk.....I don't know my girls seem to have done fine without cow milk, they are 5 and 7. i do give them and omega 3 supplement though, lots of green leafy things for more calcium. We never tried rice milk but I really like the Almond breeze, we still drink it.



answers from Boise on

I'm not sure what has affected your decision on cow's milk, but have you looked into organic products? There may be some organic goat's milk out there too. As peds recommend whole milk till at least 2 years, I would talk to the doctor about almond or rice, because I dont' know if it has enough fats or protein in it, and has additional sweetners. Rice can also cause constipation.

Guess I didn't really answer your question though, sorry.



answers from Provo on

Hi B.:

My daughter can't have cow's milk. She didn't like almond milk, but did like rice. She also likes soy and goat's milk. We liked goat's milk because it was easier for her to digest than cow's milk, but still had a higher fat content. Her food allergies kept her from growing well in her first year of life and we were trying to incorporate a higher calorie diet to help her grow well.

PS We know there are debates, but we chose to use pasteurized goat's milk, not raw.



answers from Denver on

Hi B.,

I am vegan so I have tried ALL the milk alternatives out there!

almond milk - by far the best flavor and consistency.
Rice milk - Was not a fan, too thin and it's really gross heated up.
Hemp milk - I liked this quite a bit
Hazlenut milk- really good but kind of thick.
Oat milk - This is's like dessert. Unfortunately was too thick for me. I usually mix in another kind of almond or hemp.

I think all are fine for your little but I would make sure that you are following nutrients like the other posters suggested. I read a study once about vegan children v. omnivore children and nutrition. Vegan children were only deficient in 3 vitamins and nutrients while the omnivore children were deficient in 9. I'm sure this only is because parents of vegan children really really watched their diet, and omnivores sometimes assume their kids are getting everything they need.

Good luck finding the right substitute for your family. :)



answers from Provo on

We have never tried almond milk, but my family loves the rice milk, as well as soy. If you like to make chocolate milk it's not the greatest for that, but we like to put cinnamon in it sometimes for a little extra treat. Nor is it very good for cooking purposes, we use organic soy milk for that. My family uses it in all other places most people use cows milk. My baby even drinks it in a bottle, just make sure you're not using it for a nutritive replacement and are filling your baby's nutritional needs with fruits and veggies. I have a friend whose family loves the almond milk.

When looking for rice, almond, or soy milks you need to read labels, even if it says "organic." When you see more things listed than the original derivative then you need to be careful. We have found great non-dairy milks at Costco that are organic with only vitamin and/or calcium additives (which I don't like, but I can't seem to find any without).



answers from Denver on

Have you thought about goat milk? Its quite similar to human milk and is much easier to digest- especially if you get it locally and unpasteurized. Most people tolerate it well. If you have any allergies in your family I would caution against almond milk for a little tike. Nuts are so high on the allergy list. If not, if I had to choose almond milk or rice milk, I'd choose almond milk for the protein. Good luck!



answers from Denver on

We use a combo of rice milk and goat milk since my son has a cow milk allergy. At this age kids really need the fat that is in milk in order for their brains and nervous systems to develop properly. Even soy milk would be fine, but mix something with the rice milk if you use that. Almond milk has the potential to cause allergic problems if your dd happens to have a nut allergy. Honestly I would ask your pediatrician, but don't just give straight rice milk.



answers from Provo on

The most common problem with both rice and almond milk is that they usually contain a high level of sweeteners, and most commercial rice milk also containshigh oleic safflower oil, or some other type of unhealthy oil.
Also, recently there has been a lot of research into arsenic in rice milk. Arsenic is a naturally occurring metal (so it's not like someone's tampering and adding it or anything), and your body can typically process out any that you would be exposed to, but it's much harder for babies and toddlers bodies' to do the same. The occasional glass won't hurt them, but a constant stream of it on a daily basis may contain potential for problems.
There is also not much fat or protein in rice milk, which is one of the main reasons people are encouraged to give their babies milk. You need to make sure that baby is getting enough protein and good fat through their regular diet.

If you want to go rice, your best bet would be to make it yourself, or find one that is just brown rice and water with no additives.
Almond is the better alternative of the two (in my opinion), but you run into the same issue with additives, especially sweeteners. Again it can be made by you to help avoid those unwanted extras, but with the price of almonds, that can get a bit expensive.

I'm assuming that since you didn't mention soy milk, you've already done enough research there! : )

Another one for you to think about is also Goat's milk. It is actually surprisingly close to the make-up of human breast milk. Many kids who have issues with dairy find great success with goats milk. It tends to be a much healthier alternative than cows milk in general anyway.

Or you could just bump up to a toddler formula too.

Hope that helps some!



answers from Spokane on

I mentioned this same thing to my daughter's pediatician when she was turning one and he pointed out that formula is cow's milk based...I hadn't known that but also was at a loss because I would not have given her soy. We've alternated between Goat's milk, organic cow's milk (exept it's the protein in cow's milk that I don't like and has been linked to all sorts of health problems in humans), Rice and Hemp milks. Goat's milk protein is much smaller and easier to digest. It more closely resembles mother's milk and since Goat's milk in not widely consumed in this country it doesn't have the hormones and antibiotics that you find in cow's milk (although researching the company is the best way to find out for sure). Between Rice milk and Almond milk my vote would be for the Almond milk because it has more fat which is uber important in a 1-2 year old. However, if you are confident that you can get your child the nutrients she needs with diet then that doesn't really matter so much. I have used Hemp milk also and my daughter really likes it. For a special treat as she got older (she's 2 1/2 now) I would mix 1 part hemp milk with 1 part calcium fortified orange juice and a dash of vanilla (or use vanilla flavored hemp milk) she loves it, I even enjoy tastes just like a Julius. You can add a bit of Blackstrap Molasses for a much better source of bioavailable calcium than you can find in animal products (dairy) anyway.



answers from Denver on

Not sure if you are shying away from the animal products or not, but I gave my DD goat's milk as she transitioned away from mom. It is easier they say to digest than cow's milk and she didn't have any problems on it.
Good luck!



answers from Cheyenne on

My son was allergic to milk as an infant and then once he outgrew that, he was still somewhat lactose-intolerant with straight milk so we started him on rice milk. My son is very tiny (in the 3% for weight and 10% for height), so we buy the enriched rice milk for the vitamins and then make sure he gets cheese, butter, peanut butter, oils, yogurt, ice cream, avocado, ect for some added fats each day...he seems to do okay with a few milk products each day as long as it is not in excess or straight milk. He likes the rice milk and I have not had any problems with him not liking cow milk products or to go back and forth between cows and other types of milk...we have also tried soy which is REALLY sweet, but he liked that too!

S., mom of 18-month-old boy and another boy due in Aug.



answers from Denver on

I agree with the other poster, almond and rice milk is very sweet so very hard to substitute with meals with certain things. Kids love it typically because it is so sweet. We used soy for a while until I had my son tested for allergies, however it is too sweet. He isn't allergic thankfully.
I finally did a lot of homework, talked to several different Drs including allergists and went back to 1% regular cows milk. Kids need higher fat content until 2 so even try organic cow's milk or goat's milk. There is the new trend of "raw milk" too.

Milk provides Vitamin D, calcium and protein in a way that the others just don't do. I am more concerned that someone decided that after hundreds of years it is bad and there is absolutely no proof it is bad. There are dairy allergies that we are now aware of. Goats milk is the only close second in providing what growing children need. Cows milk has been used for a VERY long time and only have we come up with these other fabricated forms of milk, which is more concerning to me. You can call local farmers and see if you can get fresh milk if you are concerned about additives.

I also agree too that if when your child is off formula, that three well balanced meals, snacks should be providing the bulk of the nutrition. Growing bones/brains need lot's of calcium and protein so make sure cheeses, yogurt are incorporated too.



answers from Denver on

We love hemp milk actually- no sugar and higher in protein than rice or almond milk. As others have suggested keep in mind healthy fats to add into your DD's diet and to make sure that she is getting enough protein.

Best wishes,



answers from Phoenix on

I just wanted to let you know that there has been a lot of research done on milk, and maybe in its natural state it is fine but the process it goes thru to get to the jug you buy in the store is not. There's hormones, bacteria, cows feces and sometimes puss in the milk. We switched from cows milk to almond milk a couple of months ago and since then have been learning a lot more about the negative aspects of cows milk. I'm sure there are plenty of other foods where your baby can get the extra fats and proteins becuz you don't NEED to drink milk or have your baby drink it to get the nutrients needed. There has also been a study that shows that the milk protein casein increases cancerous clusters inside the body and reducing or getting rid of casein in the diet will actually reduce the amnt of clusters in the body. I can't tell you yes drink this or yes drink that, becuz I need to do more research as to what to give my own baby, but I can tell you there are definitely healthier alternatives to cows milk. When people tell you that a baby NEEDS cows milk, that's simply not true



answers from Salt Lake City on


My sister has replaced her daughter's formula with Almond milk. She informed herself with a naturopath and they suggested Almond.

However my neice did not like the regular one, but loved the Vanilla flavoured.

Good Luck

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