Soy Milk for Babies: Is it Safe?

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A high protein plant-based drink made from soybeans is what we refer to as, soy milk. It consists of all the essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins D, E, and K, thiamine, riboflavin and folate. Also, it does not consist of any lactose, is low fat, cholesterol-free as well as low in sodium.

Soy milk is not really recommended by the doctors until the baby is one year old because breast milk is considered to be the best when it comes to fulfilling the nutritional needs of the baby. Though, soy milk can be accepted as a substitute when the baby starts to wean or is lactose intolerant.

In this article:

Health Benefits of Soy Milk for Infants
Harmful Effects of Soy Milk
Soy Milk vs Cow Milk
Selecting Soy Milk
Difference Between Soy Milk and Soy Formula
Points to Remember

Soy Milk for Babies: Everything You Need to Know

soy milk for babies

Health Benefits of Soy Milk for Infants

Rich in protein, iron and a variety of vitamins essential for the healthy development of the baby, it is also low in fat, which is good for maintaining healthy body weight. It also reduces the chances of heart issues and child obesity in infants.

In addition, the high fibre content reduces the incidence of bowel troubles and diarrhoea in babies. Thus, it can be considered a good choice for babies who are allergic to whole cow’s milk or are intolerant to lactose.

Fortified soy milk is also rich in vitamin D which boosts calcium absorption. And soy milk can be offered to a baby born with galactosemia as well.

Harmful Effects of Soy Milk

Breast milk is the best choice when it comes to the nutritional needs and the healthy growth and development of the baby. So, in that case, soy milk may not be a better option than breast milk. And if you are planning to give it to your baby who is below one year, absolutely avoid doing that.

Listed below are a few Effects of Soy Milk

  • Some babies can be allergic to a protein found in soy milk.
  • Consumption of soy milk can result in goitre (abnormal enlargement of thyroid gland) by causing an imbalance in thyroid levels.
  • As per the studies, soy milk consists of phytoestrogens that can trigger oestrogen-like effects in infants further causing an increased risk of certain health conditions like breast cancer or prostate cancer in later life.
  • Last but not least, you must ensure that you do not just feed soy milk to the baby as that can lead to serious nutritional deficiencies in the baby.

Try using it more as a supplement rather than completely replacing it for breast milk or whole cow’s milk.

Soy Milk vs Cow Milk

Although there are a few benefits of soy milk over cow’s milk as it consists of iron, fiber, is cholesterol-free and also consists of a negligible amount of fat and sugar, when compared to cow’s milk.

On the other hand, cow’s milk consists of nutrients like vitamins A and B12 that are not found in soy milk. Also, the calcium contained in cow’s milk is absorbed comparatively more easily as soy milk consists of phytates that significantly decrease calcium absorption by the body.

In addition to this, cow’s milk provides the little one with slightly more protein than soy milk and also contains all the good fats that are essential for the growth of the baby.

Selecting Soy Milk

Make sure you opt for the full fat variety of soy milk for the baby as that is necessary for his/her growth and development. However, in case, the baby is vulnerable to cardiovascular disease or obesity, look out for low-fat soymilk.

Make sure you check the nutrition facts label and the ingredients list on the product before purchasing the same.

Difference Between Soy Milk and Soy Formula

Considering soy milk, it does not consist of an adequate amount of natural calcium as well as the required level of fat and protein. Whereas, soy formula comes with the added benefits of fortified nutrients.

Points to Remember

  • Avoid giving soy milk to babies who are under the age of one or two years.
  • Do not ever give soy infant formula to premature or preterm babies because they will not be able to digest it. also, preterm babies who are fed with soy formula are at an increased risk of developing osteopenia, which eventually turns the bones of the baby bristle.

Conclusion

Make sure you consult your doctor before getting soy milk for your baby and also, select a formulated soy milk infant formula for the baby that is packed with all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals for the overall health of your baby.

Reference

https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/sya-soy-formula/index.cfm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2661347/

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