Why should all plant-based milks be avoided in infants?
The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended against the use of plant-based milks for the first year of life. Liquids, non-dairy “milks,” based on plant foods (e.g., soy, rice, almond, or hemp) should not be used as a human milk or infant formula substitute. The caloric density of these products is typically lower than that of human milk or infant formula; protein quality is low and the protein quantity is low for most such beverages; products may not be fortified with micronutrients to levels recommended for infants and young children; and some contain high levels of phytate, which bind iron, zinc, and calcium. Use of such alternative fluids as a major component of the diet has been associated with severe protein energy malnutrition and with growth faltering. Plant-based milks should not be confused with soy-based formula, which may be appropriate for use in infants (up to 12 months of age) with galactosemia and hereditary lactase deficiency.