Soy Milk for Babies
Q My 12.5 month old son has just recently transitioned from soy formula to soy milk. He seems to have huge, messy, diarrhea-like bowel movements after he has a bottle of soymilk. However, we did not have these same concerns with the soy formula or with the soy yogurt that he has been eating for several months. Is it possible that he could be more sensitive to one food containing soy than another? I understand that oat milk or hemp milk might be a good option for him if he can’t have the soymilk.
A After much research on the ingredients in soy milks, soy yogurts and soy formula, my basic conclusion is that your son may be benefiting from the cultures in the yogurt or have problems with the protein concentration in soy milk. I based the nutrition breakdowns from the website NutritionData.com.1,2,3
The milk contained the highest concentrated protein level of all products. However, the individual amino acid levels in the formula and yogurt were not listed. So, I could not compare amino acid levels and define if a specific protein could lead to sensitivity for an infant tummy. In addition, I did not know the specific brand names of the products you use which could also add to digestive issues by their individual proprietary make up.
I do have a number of caveats in stating that probiotics in yogurt actually do what they claim. There was an excellent article in Nutrition Action newsletter4 about probiotics. The Readers’ Digest version of this is that you need to know the specific strain of a probiotic to know whether it assists with digestion. Current scientific studies do not support efficacy of probiotics in products found the local grocery store.
FYI – the cultures in O’Soy are from dairy sources or so their website says.
That being said, for what do you need the milk? If you want to cook with it or moisten cereal, as you state there are other milks which give plenty of proteins and contain similar culinary properties. If you need convenience foods because of your lifestyle, it appears that the soy yogurt is doing the trick.
Your child’s intestinal track is still defining itself, so this may not be an issue in a year. However, since there are alternatives readily available, I would use those at this point in time and try the soy milk again further down the road. Since soy milk is the most ubiquitous in the local grocer, it may be more convenient for your lifestyle and for your son when he enters the school environment.
1. Data, Nutrition. “Nutrition Data”. Soy milk 8/31/10
2. NA. “Nutrition Data”. Tofu yogurt 8/31/10
3. N, A. “Nutrition Data”. Soy infant formula 8/31/10
4. Schadt, David. “Helpful Bacteria: Should you take probiotics”. Nutrition Action December, 2006: 7-10.