I never drink cows milk – I would prefer to use almond, cashew, oat or coconut. When can I give that to a child
So this will partly depend on what else they are eating. Children under 1 should be on breast or formula milk. It is recommended to give children under 2 years full-fat milk to help ensure they get enough calories. Nutritionally there are a lot of differences between cow’s milk and almond or coconut milk. For example, a single cup of cow’s milk contains about 8 grams of fat whilst in comparison unsweetened almond milk has about 2.5 grams of fat.
However, if a child is eating a varied diet with enough protein and fats from other sources then this is no reason why you cannot give them unsweetened almond or oat milk unless they have a nut allergy. You may want to ensure they have other milk products such as yogurts and cheese as this will help ensure they get enough protein and calories.
There is a great blog on this from nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed, which you might find helpful https://www.srnutrition.co.uk/2018/05/plant-based-milks-for-infants-and-toddlers As she notes, the NHS say that you can give your child unsweetened calcium-fortified milk alternatives, such as soya, almond and oat drinks, from the age of one as part of a healthy balanced diet. However, general consensus from professional bodies is that milk alternatives should not be offered as a main drink until at least 2 years of age, unless specified and discussed with a health care professional (such as a dietitian), directly.
We hope this helps,
Jill and Emma