As your baby transitions from breast milk or formula, you may be wondering if other milk alternatives are safe for your toddler.
Soy milk in moderation is fine for young children, and may be a good option depending on your toddler’s needs. But before you add soy milk to your toddler’s milk, it’s important to understand the pros and cons.
What are the pros of soy milk?
Nutritionally similar to dairy products
Soy milk is nutritionally similar to cow’s milk. So it can be a good option if you are looking for food sources of calcium and protein and want to give your toddler a variety of foods. Fortified soy milk also contains large amounts of calcium and vitamin D.
Good option for lactose intolerant children
Milk and other dairy products can cause problems (such as diarrhea or bloating) in children who are lactose intolerant or allergic to cow’s milk. Soy milk is a good alternative.
Reduced risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer
Soybeans are rich in isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens that may lower cholesterol levels in adults. Studies also suggest that women with breast cancer who consume soy products are more likely to live longer and also less likely to have the cancer come back. Some evidence also suggests an association of soy milk with lowered prostate cancer risk in men.
Although it was believed that phytoestrogens increase estrogen levels and increase breast cancer risk in women, recent evidence suggests that phytoestrogens actually reduce estrogen levels in the body.
What are the cons of soy milk?
Some children may develop an allergy to soy milk, which can cause:
If your child develops symptoms, see if eliminating soy milk from their diet helps. If the symptoms are severe and cause serious problems, such as swelling of the face or shortness of breath, call your doctor or visit the nearest emergency room right away. This is most likely a sign of anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction.
If your child develops mild symptoms of a soy allergy, they may grow out of it over time. You can try reintroducing soy products later on.
Soy milk dependency
Toddlers may drink too much soy milk and end up feeling full, leaving less space in their stomach for other nutritious foods. And it can be hard to break this habit.
As with anything, it’s important to let your toddler drink soy milk only in moderation. Make sure they are eating a variety of foods so that they’re not only getting nutrition from soy milk.
When to introduce soy milk in your child’s diet
You can introduce soy milk as soon as your child turns 6 months old, when you start to introduce other foods besides breast milk.
If your baby resists soy milk initially, you can try mixing in soy milk with breast milk so that they can slowly adjust to the taste.
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WebMD. Pros and Cons of Soy Milk for Toddlers. https://www.webmd.com/children/pros-and-cons-of-soy-milk-for-toddlers
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