How to Choose the Best Dairy Free Milk for You

How to Choose the Best Dairy Free Milk for Your Child

Dr Harriet Holme
4 min readAug 27, 2020


I’m often asked by clients about dairy free or plant based milks. Four years ago I gave up dairy and soya products while breastfeeding my son who had cows milk protein allergy (CMPA). Now there are far more milks to choose from, and they are much more easily available. Most high street coffee shops and cafes will now have at least one dairy free version available. Lots of options though, means lots of choice. So how do you choose a plant based milk?

How to choose a plant based milk

  • There are lots of different types of ‘milk’, primarily made from nuts, coconut, oats, soya⁠.
  • They all taste pretty different, so shop around until you find a milk you like. ⁠
  • Try and avoid those with carrageenan as there is some evidence this is a stomach irritant.⁠
  • Rudehealth hazelnut milk is delicious for making hot chocolate, but isn’t fortified with calcium⁠.
  • Choose one that is unsweetened.
  • Oatly Whole and barista foam really well, and are great for making coffee. They also don’t split and curdle in tea.⁠
  • ⁠Infants that have CMPA can be changed onto a plant based milk such as @oatly whole (which is fortified and high in fat) from 12 months provided they are growing well.⁠
  • 50% of babies with CMPA are also allergic to soya, as the protein structure is very similar.
  • When you chose a milk for children over 12 months, look for an unsweetened milk, that is high in calories, fat and protein, and is fortified with calcium and iodine. Keep reading to see which I recommend and why.


Until recently iodine has been largely thought to be sufficient in our diets. However, research has raised concerns that pregnant and breastfeeding women are at risk of deficiency. Dairy products and fish are iodine rich foods, so people following a vegan diet are at risk of iodine deficiency.

Depending on your life stage, people need different amounts of iodine per day.

  • Children 1–8years need 90 µg
  • Children 9–13 years need 120 µg
  • Teenagers 14–18 years and adults need 150µg



Dr Harriet Holme

Registered Nutritionist (AfN), former experienced paediatrician with a PhD in genetics. Harriet lectures on Nutrition and authored ‘Eating During Pregnancy’.