Something Other than Cow's Milk for Baby?

Updated on January 19, 2012
A.S. asks from Broken Arrow, OK
15 answers

I've had my son on whole milk for about 3 or 4 months now. I am really wanting to take him off of it as I know that cow's milk isn't necessarily needed or the most healthy option. He has been getting eczema and the doctor suggested that it may be because of milk. Anyway, are there other options? We tried goat's milk but it just got way too expensive. Am I able to try rice milk, almond milk or anything else? He is 13 months by the way. And I give him a multivitamin, vitamin D, extra vitamin C (if he needs it), and a probiotic every day. Also, he is 95th percentile in height and 78th in weight... so he's definitely not lacking nutrients! Thoughts?

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So What Happened?

he started having cow's milk at 11 months because I got pregnant and lost my milk supply. He was already doing well on yogurt and cheese so my doctor said it was ok. He has been doing fine until just recently. It's not a bad eczema and could just be because of winter time weather... but he's been doing fine. No digestive issues or anything.

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answers from Chicago on

We went with Rice Dream, a brand of Rice Milk - my son LOVED it! Then at daycare they gave him cow's milk (not an issue) and he grew to prefer that over the Rice Milk. I changed from whole down to 2 down to 1 over the years; he is 5 and the house drinks 1 but if that is out or not sold at the store I happen to be at then I get 2.

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answers from Honolulu on

The general reason for WHOLE milk is: that the "milk fats" in it is a crucial nutrient... for brain development.
"Fats" is important also for the nerve development as well.
It is not just for the calcium.
And thus, it is recommended for Toddlers through 2 years old.
At which time, this is a building block period, for the body's development etc.

But, your child has to be diagnosed conclusively, that milk is causing his Eczema.
There are many triggers, for eczema.
For example: My Mom gets eczema. BUT not from milk. She gets it from anything with Oats/Oatmeal in it. So if she avoids this... she does not break out.
Everyone, is different.
Eczema, can be triggered by topical or ingested things.
And maybe even his vitamins are causing the eczema? Because, some vitamins have paraben in it, which can cause allergies in some people. Parabens are used to preserve some things. Or it can be a constituent of those gel caps.
For example.
And, vitamin C as well, can create rashes in some people.
My Mom as well, if she eats oranges or "C" things, she gets Eczema or rashes. For example.
Here is a resource/site you should check out:

No matter what "milks" you give your child, you also need to make sure he is getting enough of the healthy "fats" in his diet. Because, it impacts brain development and nerve development etc.

Again, your Doctor did not conclusively say it is milk. The Doc is just guessing.

Also, be careful of giving him too much vitamins/quantities. Because, it can overload the kidneys. Especially in a baby or very young child.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Tucson on

I found that Hemp milk has the highest amount of fat in it, which is really important until age 2. Plus it has higher levels of omega-3s than the other "milks" (almond, soy, rice). I think as long as he is eating also, he should be fine with hemp milk, as long as he likes it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Hi Audrey,

Rice milk doesn't have enough fat and is too sweet for him right now. Goat's milk is best but I know it's expensive. Almond milk has been used for centuries as an alternative. It's rich in protein and has the right kind of fat. Make sure you get the unsweetened kind as the sugar that is added to most will negate some of it's benefits.

God bless,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Yes, goat milk is expensive. I feel your pain. I researched the nutritional attributes of the alternatives and decided to bare the costs of the goat milk.

Soy protein imitates estrogen during metabolism by the human body. Estrogen influences many aspects (besides being a reproductive hormone): how & where your body stores fat; how muscles develop; how bones develop; how the thyroid functions. I decided to stick with goat milk because the unknown effects of soy protein was too much. Heck, we all get ample soy protein just by eating foods made with vegetable oil--my baby didn't need to be drinking 28 oz of it each day too!

I nixed the other alternatives because I didn't see them as viable options:

Almond milk: most daycares won't allow any tree nut products in their facility. Since my children go to daycare, that wasn't an option. Plus, I was concerned about the possible development of a nut allergy from introducing a tree nuts at such a young age.

Rice milk, hemp milk, coconut milk: Lacks essential fat for brain and cellular development.

I know, its not the answer you wanted. But I've been in your shoes. Do some research on your choices besides just looking at the cost. Keep in mind most kids outgrow cows milk allergies by age 3. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I've heard that kids should stay away from Soymilk due to the phytoestrogens that can cause feminization in boys. I'm not sure you really need milk in his diet if he's getting protein and calcium from other sources. That's what my pediatrician said to me when my daughter wouldn't drink it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

My son has eczema too. Before we try to eliminate milk, my doctor put him on an EHA supplement (like fish oil) and told me to put coconut oil on his skin every day. This has helped immensely. You can get coconut oil at Whole Foods -- it comes in a tub and you can set a little bit in a cup surrounded by hot water to soften it up. My son loves getting his daily "massage"!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

We have to drive to PA to buy raw cow's milk and my kids are thriving on it. Not for everyone, I know. Almond is my next choice, but my 6 yr. old loves Rice Dream (only the refridgerated kind - 1/2 gal.). It isn't cheap, but goes a long way. I heard a nursing mother once say that it is the closest tasting to breast milk???



answers from Washington DC on

I had problem with cow's milk now my daughter drinks soy milk, she loves it. My daughter couldn't tolerate cow's milk and you can cut the cost if you try to get soy milk through WIC my doctor wrote an order for my daughter to receive soymilk so now thats what she gets.



answers from Columbus on

You can use soy milk, almond milk or rice milk. Just be sure you read the label--some of them are highly sweetened with sugar or corn syrup.

You might also ask your pediatrician if it's worth it to do soy-based "toddler formula", but our ped. didn't think it was necessary.

Calcium is the big ingredient that is the focus of cow's milk, but if you google "non-dairy food sources of calcium" you'll come up with a few lists that show lots of other foods you can use instead.


answers from Rochester on

You can try any of the milks you suggested, along with hemp and coconut milk. Your doc might say no to the coconut because of this crazy false belief that it gives you high cholesterol...the jury is really out on that right now, but I've done a LOT of research and it's my educated belief that it does NOT cause high cholesterol. I's coconut. Good fat for babies, yay! I do not recommend soy.

Also, please be careful in giving him so many vitamins. If he has even a decent diet, he doesn't need all that extra and there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to vitamins.

Oh, forgot to 20 month old has never had any milk of any kind. I am still nursing her, but when I wean, it will be water only, and she's nice and healthy, with just the right amount of chub. I also don't drink milk of any kind. (Not that I'm against it, but I'm lactose intolerant, outgrew that allergy as a child, and she has just never taken to it. I've offered it plenty...she doesn't like any form.) I think it's okay not to give a child milk if they're getting what they need from it elsewhere. Plenty of other foods are calcium rich, and you can get healthy fats from a lot of sources.


answers from Houston on

He should not be drinking cows milk before a year old, but he has been drinking it since he was about 10 months? That alone could be a cause of the redness since his immune system wasn't full ready to be exposed to cow's milk.... so in a few months cow's milk may not bother him. Rice, soy, almond or hemp are possible options, check the iron and protein intake on them though, and some are sweetened with way too much sugar, so just check labels. I would call your pediatrician and ask his/her advice on what they recommend.

Some good suggestions here:

Reasons' here:



answers from Anchorage on

If he has dry skin and it is winter, I would not be so fast to jump to the conclusion that milk is to blame. IF you don't want him to have milk he does not need a substitute, rice and other milks are substandard compared to cows milk in protein and nutrients. My son can't have milk, so we do use almond milk for when he wants cereal. Soy is bad for you, and should not be given to growing boys due to estrogen present.


answers from Eugene on

Use goats milk is the consistancy of mother's milk and very much like it. Few allergies are caused by it.



answers from Redding on

Goats milk?
As a child I was so severely allergic to poison oak that it was recommended I drink milk from goats who ate poison oak.
The theory was that I would become immune to poison oak, but the taste to me was so bad that I rathered the poison oak outbreaks. I just couldn't stomach it.

Also, consider the extra vitiamin C you are giving. I work with someone who breaks out in a rash with vitamin C...even eating to many oranges. Just a suggestion.

Have you tried buttermilk? I know some people hate it, but I was raised on it and love it. It is better calcium wise for sure than even whole milk. It does taste a little sour, but I happen to like it. I drink it for my bone density.
I rarely drink regular cow's milk unless it has chocolate in it. Bad, I know. I eat yogurt, drink buttermilk. I have a couple of patches of eczema on my arm and my doctor never connected it with milk. It could be, I'm just saying that they never mentioned that. My bone density is more important than a patch or two on my arm that is managed well with prescription creme.

I agree that certain fats from dairy are good for growing children. You may be able to find that in different ways.
I have never heard of milk being tied to eczema, but maybe it's true. I'm just saying that in my case, milk was never discussed as a cause for it. And, like I said, I only have two little patches.

I hope you get some good responses.
I might even run this past a nutritionist.

Best wishes to you.

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