While you start the process of transitioning your child from formula or breast milk to other forms of milk and food substitutes, you might get overwhelmed by the available options. Whole cow milk is most definitely a desired choice, mostly due to its nutritious values but some children have problem digesting the same. Soy milk becomes the ultimate substitute of cow milk for children who are suffering from lactose intolerance, or are allergic to cow’s milk, as it is full of useful nutrients and also easy to digest. Also at the same time, soy milk comes in different flavors, which makes it more attractive for children and it is less likely that your child will grow resistant to the taste of the same-like what happens with cow’s milk.
Children who are allergic to cow’s milk are mostly allergic to the protein contained in the milk and it leads to colic, failure to thrive and even bloody diarrhea in children. In such cases it is definitely an alternative. Also there is a small percentage of children who are born with a condition called galactosemia, which prevents the digestion of any type of animal milk including their mothers’ breast milk. In such cases soy milk becomes an alternative from a very tender age.
However, there are certain things that you must keep in mind if you are planning to feed your child with soy milk.
Soy Milk for Your Child
Give Whole-Soy Milk
You must make it sure that you give your child whole soy milk and not the low-fat version of the same. This is mostly due to the fact that fat is important for the brain development of children below 2 years. Unless there is a critical condition that your child is facing, basically pertaining to obesity, cardiovascular disease or hypertension, it is not advised to feed a child with low-fat diets.
Choose the Soy Milk Carefully
While choosing the soy milk for your child, make sure that it is fortified with Vitamin A, Vitamin D and also Calcium. If your child cannot consume cow milk on a regular basis, it is important that he/she gets the calcium content from the milk substitutes that you are offering. As it is rich in phytates, the naturally occurring substances in whole-grain foods, legumes, and nuts, that tend to reduce the absorption of calcium, it is advised that you choose a soy milk product which is fortified with calcium.
It is said that 8-ounce glass of fortified soy milk contains around 200 to 300 mg of calcium but your child can absorb only 75 percent of that. That is why when you are feeding your child with soy milk it is important that you feed your little one with other calcium rich foods like broccoli, kale, lime-process tortillas, yogurt, and cheese, juices which are calcium fortified, cereals and waffles.
You should keep in mind that since soy milk is extracted from plant sources it does not contain Vitamin B12, which is found in most animal foods including cow milk. That is why it is important that you give your child additional vitamin fortified cereals in w proper way to ensure that your child gets all the nutrients which are lacking in soy milk.
Is it Safe?
The underlying question is whether or not soy milk has any sort of probable side effects on your child’s health. Since soy milk is a milk alternative extracted from plants it contains isoflavones. Isoflavons are phytoestrogen a kind of estrogen hormone found in plants like whole grains, potatoes, dried beans and apples. However, there are no such evidences gathered by the scientists to prove that the isoflavons found in soy proteins, found in the infant formula drinks, are harmful in any way for the children. There had been massive discussions surrounding the subject but research have found out that soy milk as a baby food is absolutely safe for your child and there is absolutely no way that your child might get harmed by consuming it.
Final Words of Advice
Do remember that if your child is allergic to cow’s milk there is a 10 to 14% chance that he/she will also be allergic to soy milk. So you always can’t simply assume that since your child is allergic to cow’s milk he/she will be naturally tolerant to soy milk. That is why it is important that your check with your paediatrician before deciding to feed your child regularly with it. If your child can digest soy milk, it is nothing like it, but if he/she can’t , there are always other alternatives.