Milk has long been seen as a necessity for children to promote healthy growth and development. However, in recent years, there has been a growing trend towards non-dairy alternatives such as soy, almond, and oat milk. While some parents may opt for these due to dietary restrictions or personal preferences, others may wonder if non-dairy milk is right for their children. Here are some of the benefits and disadvantages of alternative milk to help you make an informed decision for your child. 


Non-dairy milk is a great option for children who are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy. Lactose intolerance is a common condition where individuals cannot digest lactose, a sugar found in milk. It can cause discomfort and digestive issues, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Milk allergies, on the other hand, are caused by an immune reaction to proteins found in milk and can result in severe symptoms such as hives, vomiting, and anaphylaxis. Non-dairy milk is a safe option for children with these conditions.

Alternative milk can also provide children with a variety of nutrients. Soy milk is one of the most common non-dairy milk options. It is a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamin D, making it a suitable substitute for dairy milk. Almond milk is another popular non-dairy milk. It is low in calories and contains some protein and fiber. However, it is not a good source of calcium or vitamin D, which are crucial for children’s bone health. Oat milk is an excellent source of fiber and iron, and it is low in fat. It also contains some calcium and vitamin D, making it a suitable alternative to dairy milk. 

Another advantage of non-dairy milk is that it is often lower in calories and fat than cow’s milk. This can be beneficial for children who are overweight. However, it is important to note that some non-dairy milk may contain added sugars, which can contribute to weight gain and other health issues. Therefore, parents should choose non-dairy milk options that are unsweetened or contain minimal added sugars.


Despite the benefits of non-dairy milk, there are also some potential drawbacks that parents should be aware of. One concern is that non-dairy milk may not provide children with enough of certain nutrients, such as vitamin D and B12, which are typically found in cow’s milk. Vitamin D is essential for bone health, and B12 is necessary for the formation of red blood cells and neurological function. Some non-dairy milk is fortified with these nutrients, but it is essential to check the label to ensure that your child is getting enough.

Another issue with alternative milk is that it may not be as filling as cow’s milk. Children who drink non-dairy milk may be more likely to feel hungry between meals, which could lead to overeating and weight gain. To combat this, parents should ensure their child is getting enough protein and fiber from other sources, such as beans, nuts, and whole grains.

Finally, some children may simply not enjoy the taste. This can be a challenge for parents trying to switch their child from cow’s milk to a non-dairy alternative. However, there are many ways to make alternative milk more appealing to children, such as adding it to smoothies or mixing it with fruit.

Final Thoughts

Non-dairy milk may be suitable for children who are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy. However, if your child can tolerate cow milk, it’s generally a better option. Dairy milk is naturally an excellent source of protein, calcium, and vitamin D, which are essential nutrients for growing children. 

If you decide non-dairy milk is the right decision for your children, make sure to check the milk label to choose the right option that provides enough protein, calcium, and vitamin D. It’s also important to ensure that your child’s diet is well-balanced and includes other sources of protein and nutrients. If you have any concerns about your child’s nutrition or diet, consult with your child’s pediatrician.