Introducing Non-Animal Milk with Solids (8+ Months)

Theo is drinking Trader Joe's unsweetened almond milk out of one of his honey bear straw cups. We have this one and this one. I prefer the latter because it's easier to assemble, disassemble and clean; I also like that one can push the straw down and close the lid of the cup with the straw still in. 

Theo is drinking Trader Joe's unsweetened almond milk out of one of his honey bear straw cups. We have this one and this one. I prefer the latter because it's easier to assemble, disassemble and clean; I also like that one can push the straw down and close the lid of the cup with the straw still in. 

Around 8 months, you may want to start introducing non-animal milk (almond, cashew, soy, coconut, etc.) in a straw cup at meals. This is a great way to get your baby used to drinking another liquid/milk (besides breast milk, formula or water), which will aid in the transition to cow’s milk around one year. It will also help with the transition from bottle to cup, which should occur (fully) between 12-15 months. Children tend to get very attached to material things around 15 months, so it is ideal to ditch the bottle before that happens. ;)

For straw cup recommendations, please refer to my Gear Guide for Feeding Babies and my post about introducing water with solids.

Theo enjoys Trader Joe’s original unsweetened almond milk, which comes in a pink and white carton. I love TJ’s almond milks because they taste good and last a long time. Whole Foods' 365 Organic Almond Milk is a similar product that we really like. A higher-end option is New Barn unsweetened almond milk, sold at Whole Foods. It is on the pricier side (for a relatively small quantity) and only lasts 7-10 days in the fridge after being opened. It is gluten- and soy-free, produced in a peanut-free facility, and has only four ingredients; it's mainly made of organic spring water and almonds.

Aside from drinking almond milk, I prefer to use it as a milk substitute in many recipes. It's always good to have on hand in the fridge!

For more information about the nutritional value of non-animal milks, check out this New York Times article. It discusses how nut milks pale in comparison to cow’s milk in terms of nutrition. Note: Cow’s milk should not be given until after one year of age.