Rice Milk For Babies And Toddlers – Is It A Healthier Alternative?

6 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team


Many children are allergic to cow’s milk or struggle to digest cow’s milk. So, their mothers wonder what they should give their child as an alternative to cow’s milk. The mothers find it challenging to mix the cereal with a liquid that will add nutritional value for their children. Some parents use soy milk or almond milk, but some children also face allergic reactions because of soy or nuts. Here comes the importance of rice milk for babies and toddlers.

Therefore, the use of rice milk for babies has become a prominent option for the children of vegans, as it is free from lactose. But is it a safe option for your little ones? Does it provide the necessary nutrition? Is it healthy for your babies or toddlers? In this article, let’s discuss everything from the risks to the benefits of rice milk.

In This Article

Rice Milk: What is It

Rice milk is obtained by grinding rice grains in a grinder or a mill and then diffusing it to exclude the granules. The second option is to use rice flour along with the protein obtained from brown rice. Rice milk has a sweet texture because of the conversion of carbs into sugar. Also, the primary element of rice milk is carbohydrates, and so when your toddler consumes rice milk, they will gain a considerable amount of energy. Rice milk is a safe alternative to milk for children.

Nutritional Information On Rice Milk

If you compare rice milk with any other alternative (except cow’s milk), you will find that it contains the highest amount of calories, sugars, and carbohydrates. Here is the nutritional value of one cup of rice milk:

  • Calories: 120
  • Carbs: 22g
  • Sugars: 10g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Fat: 2g

Is Rice Milk Suitable for Infants and Toddlers?

baby drinking rice milk

Rice milk is a safe option for children who struggle with cow milk or animal milk allergies. But, it is not a safe option for infants who need a formula or breast milk. Rice milk will not cause allergy, but being plant-based milk, it will also not provide vitamin B12 or calcium to your kids or toddlers, which is necessary for their growth. Parents who are left with no other choice can opt for rice milk for their children, but they should also supplement it with a good source of nutritious foods and fats.

Benefits of Rice Milk For Babies and Toddlers

Here are the benefits of rice milk for your little one:

1. Lactose-Free Milk

Rice milk is one of the safest options for children who are allergic to cow’s milk because it is lactose-free and also does not have the risk of nuts. It will certainly help you to keep adding some source of milk to your baby’s diet.

2. Tastes Sweeter

Most of the milk alternatives do not have a sweet taste. Since rice milk is rich in carbohydrates which converts to sugar, it has a naturally sweet taste.

3. Vegan Milk

Because of the presence of lactose, generally, most milk alternatives do not get the recognition of being a vegan source of milk. However, as rice milk is lactose-free, vegans can use it as a milk alternative.

4. Non-Fatty Milk

Rice milk contains zero cholesterol. So, if you are in search of a non-fatty milk alternative, then you can opt for rice milk.

5. Great Option for Children with Diarrhea

When children suffer from diarrhea, they find it hard to digest food, especially dairy products. But, rice milk is one such food that your baby can digest quite easily even while suffering from diarrhea.

Potential Risks of Giving Rice Milk to Babies and Toddlers

Here are certain risks associated when you serve rice milk to your little one:

  • Due to its lack of protein, rice milk cannot be considered as a substitute for cow’s milk.
  • The inorganic arsenic content in rice may disrupt the brain development of your baby or toddler.
  • Rice milk does not contain nutrients such as calcium or iron.
  • Due to the high amount of carbohydrates and sugar, rice milk is not an ideal option for children suffering from juvenile diabetes.

Rice Milk: How to Make It?

rice milk preparation

Rice milk can be made and used for many purposes. Here is an easy process for making rice milk. You can store it for a long time by fortifying it with calcium powder or any other supplement.

All you need is 1 cup of cooked brown rice, 4 cups of water, one tablespoon of honey, half a tablespoon of vanilla or any other alternative for flavoring, and a pinch of salt. Mix all the ingredients and blend into a white liquid. Now, strain the liquid with the use of a fine sieve or muslin cloth to remove any solids. Finally, rice milk is ready, and you can store it in the fridge for future use.

Alternatives to Cow’s Milk That are Safe for Children

You can go ahead and opt for these if your baby is lactose intolerant or refuses to drink cow’s milk.

1. Soy Milk

Soy milk is collected from soybeans, and it is a good source of protein but lacks vitamin B12. However, soy milk in moderation (1 to 2 cups a day) is a good substitute for children over a year old who doesn’t like to drink milk, are lactose intolerant, or allergic to cow’s milk.

2. Coconut Milk

It is made from coconut water and cream. Coconut milk is a good source of carbohydrates, fats, and calories. Even though it is not considered as a total alternative to cow milk, incorporating it in cooking or as an occasional drink for toddlers is a good idea.

3. Almond Milk

Obtained from an almond and water mixture, it is a good source of vitamin A but lacks protein and calcium. We recommend you to pick the best brands that are fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Also, opt for an unsweetened version.

4. Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is a milky substance derived from hemp seeds, the same seeds that will grow marijuana if allowed to! It has recently gained popularity; hence, most mothers are unaware of this option. It is not commonly found in stores, as well. Being rich in omega-3s and omega-6s, it will positively influence the child’s development.

You can give it to babies with nut allergies and babies who develop an allergy towards dairy products. However, make sure you are getting good quality hemp milk. Remember, the quality varies from brand to brand.

As a parent, you should be aware of what is good for your baby. If the baby is unable to digest cow’s milk or has allergies because of it, then you can discuss that with the pediatrician before adding an alternative milk option such as rice milk.


1. When Can  My Baby Have Rice Milk?

Young babies need a lot of nutrition, which rice milk lacks. It can be given as an addition to regular breast milk or formula milk. It is not recommended as a replacement of milk for babies under 12 months of age.

2. Is Rice Milk  Safe to Give to My Lactose Intolerant Child?

Yes, it can be a good choice. Since it is the least likely type of milk to cause allergies, it may be a good choice for lactose intolerant babies. However, it is not as nutritious as breast milk or formula.

3. Should I Force My Baby to Drink Milk?

Recent studies show there are other food options to substitute the nutrition provided by milk. Many lactose intolerant children skip all types of milk completely. Ask your doctor for proper recommendations.

4. What Is the Arsenic Content of Rice Milk?

Rice tends to absorb more arsenic than other grains. It absorbs it from the soil. Increasing the rice content in your baby’s diet might increase arsenic content in their bodies.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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