When can your baby try chocolate milk?

What is chocolate milk made of?

Chocolate milk is a dairy product that looks like regular milk but has cocoa powder or chocolate syrup added to it. The chocolate syrup contains sugar and cocoa powder, which is made from the roasted seeds of a tropical plant called cacao. Sometimes vanilla can also be added for flavor.

Cows' milk provides babies with protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins A and D, calcium, and iron. In addition to this, chocolate milk has extra sugar - often in the form of high-fructose corn syrup - which can lead to tooth decay if not taken care of properly through frequent brushing and visits to a dentist. It also lacks significant proteins that are present in cows' milk. This makes it harder for the baby's body to absorb the nutrients in chocolate milk.

Is chocolate milk healthy?

No, chocolate milk usually contains added sugar to make it taste better. Other than that, the milk itself is as healthy as regular milk. However, having too much of either type of milk (regular or chocolate) can fill a baby up and prevent her from eating other foods that provide her body with the nutrients she needs to develop properly.

At what age can babies have chocolate milk?

Doctors recommend that babies do not drink chocolate milk until they are at least 1 year old, because the formula is not as healthy for them. Usually, when a baby turns 1 and their digestive system matures enough to handle it, parents start introducing whole cows' milk into their diet. However, if a parent feels that their child needs the extra nutrients from the added sugars found in chocolate milk, then they should consult a doctor about how much to give their child and how often.

However, like regular cows' milk, it's best to make sure your baby only drinks organic cows' milk (either plain or chocolate) under supervision from their pediatrician. This way you will avoid exposure to any unwanted chemicals that could potentially damage your child's growing body.

Organic cows' milk can be purchased at any health food store or supermarket that has a dairy products section. If you are still unsure about when to introduce your baby to chocolate milk, make an appointment with their pediatrician and discuss the matter. They will help you make the right decision for your child.

Chocolate milk is not recommended for babies under one year old because they are still developing their digestive system, which cannot process it properly yet. Therefore, feeding them chocolate milk could cause malnutrition in the long run. However, if a parent feels that their child needs the extra nutrients from added sugars found in chocolate milk, then they should consult a doctor about how much to give them occasionally.  

The pediatricians` recommendations for children are as follows:

  • babies younger than 6 months of age should never have any type of solid food, including chocolate milk
  • between the ages of 6 and 12 months, doctors recommend only feeding your baby formula
  • once a baby turns 1 year old, they can start drinking whole cows' milk under the doctor supervision

How to introduce chocolate to your baby?

This is a pretty important aspect of giving chocolate milk to your baby. Chocolate in itself is considered a choking hazard, so when introducing it into the diet of an infant it is important that you do not give them whole milk chocolate bars or cooking chocolate, which is very hard and difficult for young children to chew. 

Instead, the best way to introduce chocolate into your child's diet is by adding powdered cocoa powder (unsweetened) to their formula or fruit smoothies. Once they get older,  you can start adding teaspoons of unsweetened baking chocolate or cacao nibs. These are much easier for babies to chew than solid pieces of dark chocolate. Another alternative is sweetening your baby's formula with maple syrup instead of sugar - but this method may take some experimentation to get right.

Maple syrup is an alternative that parents can use, however it shouldn't be used before a baby reaches the age of one year since there are health risks involved.  In the long run, chocolate milk consumption is a personal decision that should be made in consultation with a doctor.

What chocolate milk to choose from?

When choosing a chocolate milk for your baby, you should look for an organic option that contains no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Here are some examples of the ingredients you should look to avoid when choosing a brand of chocolate milk:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
  • Sugar
  • Artificial Sweeteners

Choosing organic is recommended whenever possible because it will ensure that no harmful chemicals are in your child's food.

When choosing chocolate milk for your baby pay attention also to the serving size.  When reading the label it should tell you how many servings of formula equal one container. This way you can make sure you are not feeding your child too much of chocolate milk every day. Lastly, always remember to check the expiration date, and try to buy a smaller amount that is consumed within a few days so as to avoid spoilage or contamination.

Some parents prefer giving their children cow's milk over formula since they believe it provides more nutrition. However, most pediatricians recommend using whole cows' milk only after a baby turns one year old because up until then they do not have the necessary enzymes to properly digest dairy products such as milk or cheese.

Types of chocolate milk: syrup, powder, and ready-made

Once you decided on its content, you also have to choose the exact type of chocolate milk for your baby.  The first option is to buy syrup which you mix with formula or water before serving it.  The second choice is chocolate milk powder, which you can also prepare by adding cold formula or water. Finally, there is ready-made chocolate milk for babies that comes in a pouch and only has to be heated up before consuming it.

You need to keep in mind that nutritional value is important when choosing a type of chocolate milk to give your baby.  The best choice is always the one that is closest to whole cow's milk in nutrition and has no added sugar or artificial sweeteners such as High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

It seems that powder chocolate milk has fewer 'bad' ingredients than syrup and is ready-made. However, these should be fine if you make sure you read labels before buying any type of chocolate milk. The choice is ultimately yours as the parent, but remember that children should not begin consuming solid foods, or semi-solid food until they are at least four to five months old.

 This is because their digestive system needs to mature to properly digest different types of food and resist potential allergies your child may develop in the future. For this reason, it's usually best for parents to wait on giving their baby chocolate milk until after this period has passed rather than run the risk of them having an upset stomach or diarrhea because of it.

Types of chocolate milk: pure straightness or additives?

This question isn't as black and white since the answer depends on the opinions of each pediatrician. But, according to most medical practitioners, parents should avoid giving their children chocolate milk made with artificial sweeteners like aspartame (Equal).

They are not considered safe for children under years old because they contain phenylalanine which might interfere with the mental and physical development of young children.  Other chocolate kinds of milk made with HFCS are also discouraged, even though they are usually considered safe for children older than two.

That is the reason why giving your baby chocolate milk made with pure cane sugar is the best option. It will be healthier for their body and won't have any of the aforementioned ingredients that are not recommended by medical experts.  Still, some pediatricians discourage giving children too much chocolate milk because it contains high amounts of sugar, but this depends on each individual's metabolism.

Perfect timing

As mentioned before, many pediatricians recommend parents to wait until their child turns 4-5 months old to feed them solid foods like chocolate milk. Despite this advice, you can start introducing cow's milk (chocolate or not) in case your baby tolerates dairy well since most babies begin consuming breastmilk or formula during these months anyway. However, if your doctor recommends against it, you'll have to wait a little more.

3 recipes of homemade chocolate milk

If you want to make your baby's first chocolate milk yourself, here are three options.


1/2 cup of cocoa powder + 1 tbsp cane sugar or sweetener (low-carb is best for babies at least until they turn 2 years old) + 1 cup of whole cow's milk + a pinch of salt.

Mix the cocoa powder with the sugar or sweetener in a cup.  Take another bowl to mix the milk with the rest of the ingredients until they are well combined. This step is important if you want your chocolate milk to have a smooth texture instead of being grainy. To serve, pour the cocoa mix into the milk and stir it well before giving it to your child.


1/4 tsp vanilla extract + 1 tbsp cane sugar or sweetener + 3 cups whole cow's milk.

Mix all ingredients well in a blender for 2 min on high speed, then chill in the refrigerator for half an hour so it can get cold before serving it to your baby. If this recipe doesn't work out too thick for your infant, add more milk.


1/4 tsp vanilla extract + 1 tbsp cane sugar or sweetener + 2 cups whole cow's milk (or 1 cup of water)+vanilla.

Mix all ingredients well in a blender for 2 min on high speed, then chill in the refrigerator for half an hour so it can get cold before serving it to your baby. If this recipe doesn't work out too thick for your infant, add more milk.

Alternatively, you can also follow the instructions from The Game Plan Cookbook for alternative homemade recipes that are just as healthy and tasty as the store-bought versions. 

What brands to select?

So, if you are eager to know what brand is the best to buy for your child, you'll be happy to hear that the recipes presented above are considered healthy options. However, some parents might not be able to find some of these ingredients so below is a list of chocolate milk brands that contain no HFCS and pure cane sugar.

Healthy Choices

  1. Horizon Organic Chocolate Milk
  2. Nesquik Chocolate Milk
  3. Yoo-hoo Chocolate Drink (non-dairy)
  4. CVS Health (store brand - made with pure cane sugar)
  5. Rite Aid Health (store brand - many flavors contain pure cane sugar; other flavored varieties are sweetened with HFCS)

Unhealthy Choices

  1. Carnation Breakfast Essentials - 1 cup contains 7 grams of added sugars (HFCS).
  2. Dannon Activia Chocolat Milk 1 container contains 25 grams of added sugars, while the others contain 20 or 22 grams.
  3. Hershey's Chocolate Milk 1 cup contains 19 grams of added sugars.
  4. Yoplait Strawberry Milk - 1 container contains 15 grams of added sugars while the others contain 10 or 12 grams.


Babies can take chocolate milk at age 4-5 months but prefer the homemade recipe over the commercial ones. Commercial brands are healthier if they contain pure cane sugar. They are less healthy if they contain HFCS.

If you plan to make your baby's first chocolate milk yourself, here are three options for you to try out.

Always check the labels before buying a chocolate milk product, and make sure it doesn't contain HFCS. Be aware of the added sugars in commercial brands. They should also not contain HFCS.