A guide to choosing the best dairy-free milks for your baby

Will G
June 11, 2024
5 min read

Dairy allergy in the UK

Did you know that in the UK, cows’ milk allergy (CMPA), is one of the most common infant food allergies and it is estimated that around 7% of babies under 12 months are affected by it, though most children tend to grow out of it.

For many parents, this can make it slightly more complicated when knowing what to feed their little one, especially if their normal diet at home contains plenty of cow’s milk.

In this blog, we’re going to look into the best alternative milks to give your child if they have a dairy allergy, and some to avoid!

Organic oat milks

Organic oat milks (like Plenish) are not recommended for children as they are not fortified with vitamins and minerals. Milk is an important source of these for babies and toddlers, so always keep a lookout for these on the ingredient list when browsing in the supermarket!

Soya milks

Soya milk has the best protein content of all the alternative milks but as some children with a dairy allergy also react to soya protein, it’s important to bear this in mind if they haven’t been successfully introduced to soya already.

See our guide to introducing allergens here

Coconut milks

Coconut milks are generally too low in protein and calories, rice milk is not advised under the age or 5 years (due to arsenic content) and nut milks are not advised either (too low in calories and protein). 

Nutritional advice for dairy-free milk alternatives

When looking for an alternative milk, the protein content should ideally be around 2-3g per 100ml.  Fortified with Iodine (20-30 micrograms), 120mg calcium, added Vitamin D, B2 and B12.  

It should also be unsweetened, so ideally there will be no added sugar or very low in sugar.

In terms of fat, you’d ideally be looking for at least 40 kcal per 100ml, Barista versions of milk brands tend to have more fat and calories.

Seed oils in milk-alternatives

Seed oils (e.g. sunflower and rapeseed oil) have received an awful lot of negative coverage on social media platforms recently but the bottom line is that seed oils are not inflammatory! Dr Idz is a doctor who regularly posts responses to misinformation and he has some excellent posts discussing seed oils.

Rapeseed oil is an unsaturated fat, and we know that these are preferable to saturated fats - which have adverse health outcomes (increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease).

Emulsifiers in milk-alternatives

Emulsifiers are a type of food additive.  All food additives are regulated for safety in the UK by the Food Standards Agency.  Most of the research (leading to negative press around emulsifiers) has been in animals, which makes it difficult to apply the data from these studies to humans and so more research in humans is needed.   It is a good idea to limit the following emulsifiers as much as possible (these tend to be found in ultra-processed foods):

  • polysorbate 80 or 60
  • CMC
  • Carrageenan

Reference Paula Hallam (Plant Powered Little People)

It comes down to looking at how much and how often you use products containing additives and you often have to weigh up the benefit (of the added vitamins and minerals) vs any potential risks.

V&Me’s dairy-free baby food deliveries

Here at V&Me, we offer a completely dairy-free version of our fresh baby food menu!

Unlike other baby food companies, we have taken a meticulous approach to ensure that we aren’t just taking out the dairy without a suitable replacement. 

Every dish has been specially designed by our paediatric experts and our team of professional chefs to ensure that there is no sacrifice made when preparing our dairy-free baby food.

How to sign up?

If you live in London and you want to join the growing number of parents getting fresh baby meal deliveries to their doorstep, click the link below and get your first delivery now!

We are now delivering to almost all central London postcodes, including popular areas like Westminster, Herne Hill, Parsons Green, Chiswick, Shoreditch, Fulham, Camden Town, Putney, Brixton, Kennington

Get our fresh (not frozen!) baby meals delivered to you

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About the author
Will G
June 11, 2024
Will is our very own in-house baby food expert! He is the go-to for anything baby, weaning, or product related. Working directly with experts, professors and paediatric dietitians, our content aims to keep you up to date on the latest tips, advice and opinions, giving you and your little one the best start for developing healthy eating habits.
Phoenix Baker
Product Manager
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