Trying to Get My 5 Yr Old Son off of Dairy !

Updated on October 31, 2012
L.D. asks from Great Neck, NY
17 answers

My son has a dairy allergy but he loves drinking cow's milk, getting him off has been a challenge. Skim milk makes him cough. Goat's milk also makes him cough. We are weaning him though and so far the only type of milk we can get him to drink is Silk chocolate soy milk. I'm not crazy about giving him chocolate or soy but since we've switched over his chronic "throat clearing" cough has completely stopped! I worry about giving him soy because all that I've read regarding the estrogenic/ hormonal effects of soy. We've tried vanilla & regular soy & he doesn't like that. Also tried coconut, almond, rice, hemp, sunflower & just about every non-dairy milk available out there. I'd like to get him onto almond but he refuses to drink it, even the Silk chocolate almond. Any suggestions on trying to get your child to get used to non-dairy milk? Thank you!

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So What Happened?

While I appreciate many people's responses, I'm not looking for any hostility which I always seem to find here on Mamapedia. Moms, aren't we in this together?? Sometimes I don't feel supported on here, which is why we come here, right ladies? I always feel like I'm being judged on this website. If it were "easy" to get my child off dairy, well than I wouldn't be posting for advice. It's not as easy just to not have dairy in the house. My husband still enjoys his cow's milk in his cereal. I'm not "forcing" my child to drink non-dairy. I would like him to. By using the word "trying" I'm asking for suggestions on helping him get used to new forms of milk. So many judgmental responses that I could really do without. If you have a hostile response, I would appreciate if you kept it to yourself. To all the other moms who shared helpful tips ~ thank you, you rock!

Featured Answers



answers from Portland on

Choose a milk alternative and only keep that in the refrigerator. If that's the only "milk" he can drink he will learn to like it. I'm lactose intolerant and preferfortified rice milk. I haven't drank cow's milk for years and to me rice milk tastes the most like cow's milk. I bought cow's milk for my grandchildren and tasted it recently and still think rice milks flavor is close to it. The vanilla rice milk is a bit sweeter and he may prefer that.

Any of the milk substitutes come in fortified versions. I recommend the fortified version because it does have nutrients similar and often time better than those available in cow's milk.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

From my research, as long as it's in moderation and not GMO, soy milk is fine for most people. I would allow him a cup of chocolate soy milk and save the fights for something more meaningful.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

Take a break from all milk for awhile. Right now, he is still very used to the taste of cow's milk, so everything else is going to taste bad in comparison. Wait awhile until he doesn't remember that taste as vividly. Then, choose a new milk and, if it needs to be chocolate, that's fine.

Consult with a doctor though. Many of the alternative milks don't have as many nutrients as cow's milk and aren't really worth drinking. They are good alternatives for putting in cereal or using for other recipes, but don't really equal cow's milk with regard to calcium and vitamins.

As for soy milk, I don't think it's nearly as bad as many people say. My son is 5 and his been drinking it daily since shortly after his first birthday. We haven't seen any negative side effects. It was recommended by his allergist, the nutritionist in his allergist's office, and his pediatrician. He used to drink about 20-24 oz a day, but for the past year or so it's been more like 6-8 oz/day. We use it whenever we bake, in his cereal, etc. He cannot tolerate any cow's milk at all.

Do not switch to lactaid. He is not lactose intolerant nor is his allergy caused by the lactose in his milk. He is allergic to whey and/or casein, the proteins in cow's milk. Many people with cow's milk allergies cannot drink goat's milk either.

If he likes chocolate soy milk, let him have a cup a day. It will provide him with calcium and critical vitamins and will not be a sufficient amount of soy to cause negative side effects.

As another poster mentioned, you can try to slowly convert him from soy to almond by mixing the two together, but before you'd do that, I'd compare the labels and make sure he's getting enough nutrients from the almond milk.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New London on

I recently read an article that said Silk does NOT use GMO soy in their products.

When in doubt, I always call the 1-800 phone number on the food item and talk w/ a company rep.

What about serving almond milk in his cereal? There are a few really good organic almond milks out there. Just pour it in his cereal and do not say what it is. **I love Trader Joe's organic almond milk !

I just presented a parenting workshop about eating. It takes approx. 8 - 13 introductions of a food item until a child will usually eat it. Keep serving the drink/food. Do not tell him that he has to drink it. That usually backfires.

In a blender: I mix Trader Joe's almond mild, 1 frozen banana and a few T. of frozen wild blueberries. Add a 1/2 cup of non-dairy vanilla ice cream.
Blend well !

If soy is conventional---it's probably gentically modified and that is NOT GOOD. Over the next couple of years, this info. will become more public.

For your child's health, seek out non-GMO soy products. The Organic Consumer Association or has great up- to -date info.

Organic soy is not genetically modified.

I cannot have too much soy because of cancer in the family. The surgeon asked me to lessen my consumption of soy to a minimum. I went back to olive oil and vinegar on salads. Most salad dressings and mayo, etc...ALL contain soy !!!

I had to mix the almond milk w/ organic skim milk at first.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Marda is right. If you have it in the frig, he will find it and drink it. You shoot yourself in the foot by being "wishy washy". If he balks, you'll give him the milk.

I can't remember where the study I read was from, but it was about how sometimes milk and other things that we have an allergy or problem with can actually be what we crave. So you may be dealing with that. Just stop having it. Pick all these that he doesn't like and have them in the frig and tell him that he can take his pick. Meanwhile, give him calcium supplements.

You're just going to have to be tough about this. When he knows that you won't be manipulated anymore, he will finally drink one of these milks.

(Don't get the chocolate - if he gets used to it, he'll never drink "white milk".)


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Try cutting all dairy type products out completely for a little while. Then try almond again. We like the Trader Joes brand.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Victoria on

take the soy he will drink & slowly add some of the almond kind to it. Very little at first, then as his taste levels, tweak in a smidge more etc. just like they say to do with formula to milk or breast to formula etc. Help his taste buds to adjust to that flavor so to speak, but may take weeks. Eventually you will have more almond & less soy. may be a pain & expensive during the transition though, but in the end worth it. Best of Luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

How about calcium fortified OJ and lots of broccoli? That's what I mostly drank when I was a kid. Also, I'd like to to dispell the myths about soy and hormonal affects on men. Nothing is going to happen to your son if he drinks soy milk or eats tofu. I don't care what researchers have found in soy, it's junk science since they really don't know what the affects could be. Every food you put in your mouth has some kind of natural chemical/sugar/fat/etc. It's not a condensed chemical like vitamins and suppliments. My family is half Chinese and I have yet to see "boobs" on my hubby, not even "man boobs." He grew up drinking soy milk in China, because the cow's milk there is way too expensive and is watered down. He eats soy sauce every day, tofu is on the menu 2-3X/week, and we do occationally buy soy milk. Hubby and MIL prefer cow's milk. I usually buy the lactose free milk for MIL.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Would skim milk be a possibility? I have a friend who's son has a lactose issue (probably not the same thing, just throwing it out there) and his problems have cleared up just since switching to skim.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I have heard of blending fruit into the kind that he will drink and gradually cutting that down day by day.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

Chocolate almond milk is delicious. I would start mixing it with the soy milk...just a bit at a time, and increase it slowly until he's having all almond and no soy. Then, "Surprise! This is what you've been drinking, and you love it!"

Coconut milk is also delicious...not sure if there's a chocolate variety or not, but there probably is. There is some unknowledgeable hype about it causing high cholesterol...don't believe it. It's high in necessary and healthy fats and the last time I checked, cholesterol comes from animal products. :)

Really, the best way I think would to be the slow mixing. Decide what kind you want to ultimately end up with, and just go for it. It takes time to get used to any new thing (especially an alternative to milk, I've found...I have a TON of experience with this an other food allergies, with a child with CD), so just give it the time it needs.

Glad your son is feeling better!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Pour him mostly soy, then mix in a little bit of almond. Keep increasing by small amounts each day until he is drinking pure almond milk. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

What is your reason for not wanting him on soy? I don't know if this product has GMO soy, which is a problem, but GMO anything is an issue. There's nothing wrong with soy per se. Pure chocolate powder has only 10 calories per teaspoon and no sugar, so there are ways to use it responsibly.

You could use a non-GMO soy product - I know of two, one chocolate and one vanilla, that are proven useful for kids. And if his cough is better, you're obviously on the right track. Maybe you could upgrade to an even better soy product, which I can recommend, but there is no risk to putting him on "nature's protein."

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

try the vanilla soy milk, it is really good. first try it in his morning cereal. (if you have to put it in a generic container)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Can he drink "Lactaid?"
It is lactose free milk. My friend, drinks this and she typically cannot drink regular milk.

I would not do, soy milk at all.
I know a woman who has twin girls. At 6 years old, they were menstruating. They had to see a Pediatric Endocrinologist. After much interviewing of the family per their lifestyle and intake of foods etc. and environment influences... the Doc told the Mom to STOP giving them soy milk. It took a few months for their bodies to normalize. And then the menstruating stopped.
It can also affect boys and men.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I don't know about the non-dairy milk, but I know I was told by a nutritionist that chocolate milk is every bit as healthy as white milk. There is really very little sugar added.



answers from Shreveport on

Have you tried goat's milk? If you can get some see how he does with it.

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