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Children's Health

Alternatives to Milk

09/20/2011

Question:

My son, who just turned one, is allergic to dairy. I want to make sure he is getting enough calcium and vitamin D, but am unsure how to include these in his diet without causing a severe allergic reaction. what are other sources of calcium and vitamin D? Also, I`ve heard good and bad things about soy milk, is it safe to give to my son? And finally, does calcium enriched drinks, like orange juice and rice milk, have dairy in them? thank you

Answer:

Thanks for your question.  I'm sorry about your son's milk allergy, but there are several ways for him to receive adequate calcium and vitamin D in his diet without dairy.

Soy milk is fortified with calcium and vitamin D and would be a good substitute.  Most soy milks contain 30% of the DRI (dietary reference intake) for calcium, which means it is an excellent source of calcium.  Toddlers ages 1-3 require 500 mg calcium/day, which can easily be met with 2-3 servings of a calcium-fortified food.

Vitamin D requirements are 600 IU/day for toddlers.  The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that all breastfed infants continue to receive 400 IU vitamin D/day until they are able to consume either vitamin D fortified formula or whole milk.  Check with your pediatrician about the potential need for vitamin D replacement given your son's milk allergy.

Good luck!

Related Resources:

Office of Dietary Supplements

For more information:

Go to the Children's Health health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
Adjunct Faculty
University of Cincinnati