My 9-month-old son was recently diagnosed with dairy, egg and peanut allergies. I am currently breastfeeding and will start weaning in the upcoming months. What is the best non-dairy, nut-free substitute for whole cow’s milk? Coconut milk? Soy milk? Rice milk? Hemp milk? Others?
What are the nutritional advantages of each?
Since milk is not a necessary dietary item for humans past infancy (though important components of milk like protein, calcium and vitamin D are), zero ounces of milk will be required once you decide to wean your baby from the breast. I would offer water in a cup as the go-to beverage and focus on other sources of dietary protein like meats and beans (legumes). If your allergist eventually allows other nuts to be permitted, or if oral desensitization therapy for peanuts gains acceptance, then maybe one day they can be added to the diet for protein. Calcium and vitamin D can easily be supplemented as a vitamin if necessary.
If soy milk is tolerated, then I would keep some on hand in the fridge for cooking, for dry cereal or oatmeal, for the occasional egg-free chocolate chip oatmeal cookie (just because), and your morning coffee. Soy milk is the most practical and is readily available in any store, anywhere. I wouldn’t bother with coconut milk (unless you make a killer Tom Kha Gai soup), rice milk, or hemp milk.
***Do you have a non-urgent, clinical or otherwise (but nothing personal!) question for your Pediatric Alliance doctor or provider? Send an email with your questions to email@example.com and we’ll do our best to answer them and post them on The PediaBlog. You don’t have to include your child’s name, but an idea of their age is helpful. Also, please include the name of the division you go to and your doctor’s or provider’s name.
Ask us anything! (But, please, no urgent or semi-urgent questions — we may not get to your question right away. If your child is sick, or you have acute concerns, please call our offices and speak with our triage staff.)