Q&A: My one-year-old is allergic to dairy. How can I get enough calcium in her diet?
I just stopped nursing my one-year-old daughter. She is allergic to dairy and refuses any other form of milk. I have tried fortified soy, rice, almond, and oat milk; she will only drink water.
I am very concerned about her calcium intake. My doctor suggested giving her a bottle of fortified rice milk and letting her cry until she drinks it. My daughter is very happy and I don't feel that upsetting her is a logical solution. How can I get enough calcium in her diet?
I am wondering how you know that your daughter is allergic to dairy. This label is often misapplied to infants. Blood or skin tests are used to confirm the diagnosis. Even so, milk/dairy allergies are usually outgrown in the toddler years.
One simple strategy that is worth a try is getting rid of her bottle. Toddlers can be pretty stubborn about taking from a bottle only what they are used to, but may be more open to new liquids in a sippy cup.
If not, you need to find another way to get 800 mg a day of calcium (and enough Vitamin D as well) into your daughter. The following foods have between 150 mg and 250 mg per serving:
- 1 cup almonds (or almond butter)
- 1 cup dandelion greens (I know, not your typical toddler fare)
- 1 cup beet greens or collard greens or spinach
- 3 ounces canned salmon or sardines with the bones FINELY chopped and mixed in
Given that these foods aren’t easy to get toddlers to eat, you may want to confirm your daughter’s dairy allergy.