Is soy milk a good alternative to cow's milk? I really need some advice ladies!!!

[deleted account] ( 35 moms have responded )

My 18 month old is allergic to the proteins in cow's milk and my doctor has recommended using a full fat soy milk as a daily alternative but from all the research I've done I don't necessarily think it's wise?? I was initially giving her soy milk but someone told me that it wasn't the best choice because it's extremely high in estrogen and during my research I've learned that might not be the only negative! What are ur thoughts and feelings? I'm kind of irritated! I've noticed in other COM communities that I'm in, that some mums have suggested soy milk and clearly they've never researched it and they're offering advice to other women based on assumptions!


Karen - posted on 01/27/2011




So far I've seen options listed ... soy, almond, rice, goat. There's also hemp and oat milks. Maybe you could rotate through all of the options. Usually a varied diet is best anyways. As far as concern about fat content etc. I'd make sure she got her fat from other healthy sources (avocado, coconut milk, flax oil, fish oils).

[deleted account]

The estrogen connection

The main concern about soy formula is that it contains high levels of phytoestrogens -- estrogen-like substances found in some plants. People who are worried about soy formula fear that these substances could interfere with a child's development and even cause early puberty, thyroid problems, breast development in male children, or other difficulties. Because of these concerns, a consumer group in New Zealand tried to have soy formula removed from the market in the mid-1990s. That didn't happen, but the New Zealand Ministry of Health did issue an advisory opinion to parents in 1998 recommending cow's milk formula over soy.

The next year, the concern crossed the globe when the Canadian Health Coalition, a group of consumers and health care professionals, called on the Canadian government to restrict the use of soy formulas there. So far the restriction hasn't come to pass, but the debate continues. Today, about one in five Canadian infants uses soy formula, according to estimates from the Infant Feeding Action Coalition in Canada.

there is always rice milk too....Rice milk can also be an acceptable alternative to cow milk. Similar to soy milk, it doesn't supply the same nutrients as cow milk, but fortified rice milk can be a fine substitute for kids as long as they're receiving necessary protein and fat in other areas of their diet. While it may not be same as a glass of good, old-fashioned whole milk, it's a healthy and refreshing option.

[deleted account]

She did REALLY well with the goat's milk and that's actually what she still drinks when and if she drinks milk. I also buy goat's milk yogurt and cheese! It's a lil' bit more expensive but she loves it and she has her own lil' drawer with HER stuff....she feels important!

I gave a few different milks a try but that's what she seemed to enjoy the most. She doesn't drink a lot of milk and never really has. Thankfully she's not a picky eater so I've always been able to give her the fats, calcium, protein etc. she needs from other foods.

[deleted account]

too much soy can make you sterile..I love soy milk though...:( i would go for almond milk(its super tasty). Goats milk the closest to breastmilk,

and what karen said.

[deleted account]

Sorry I meant to put that we drink only soy at our house

Cow milk is often given to children because some parents mistakenly believe it is healthy, natural and beneficial for a child to drink milk every day. There is really very little that is natural about swallowing breast milk from a different species. Milk from a cow may initially be useful to feed to young babies, especially those unable to take their own mother's natural milk, but when an infant is weaned there is no need to continue. The lactase enzyme, necessary for digesting milk, which is naturally present in new born infants, reduces in the human digestive system after the age of five. People who lack this enzyme suffer from bloating, cramps, excess wind and diarrhoea when they drink milk.

- Why Dairy Produce Is Not Good For Health -

Full fat milk, cheese and cream contain saturated fats, which can lead to heart disease later on in life. Dairy cows will have been injected with a mixture of chemicals, to prevent them from contracting certain diseases. Some of those chemicals will be present in milk produced by those animals. Most commercially produced milk is pasteurized, a process which destroys any beneficial bacteria the milk naturally contains. Treated milk does not ferment, and soon becomes putrid when it's not consumed within a day or two.

- Why It Is Better To Give Children Soy Milk -

Soy milk is made from beans and is completely natural. It is also lower in calories and fat than cow milk. Getting children used to soy at an early age will help them to maintain a healthy diet, which can prevent obesity. An overweight child will benefit from replacing cow milk with soy milk.

Soy is high in calcium and soy based drinks are often fortified with extra calcium. Soy bean milk tastes good too. It can be bought plain and unsweetened, so it can be sweetened to suit individual tastes, with a little honey or fruit juice. Ready made sweet flavored varieties may contain sugar and artificial additives, so those will be less beneficial for health. Most children will enjoy trying out different healthy drinks made from soy milk and fruits or berries. They will enjoy the great variety of colors and tastes. Soy milk can be poured onto healthy breakfast cereal, and can also be used in hot milky drinks.


View replies by

Charmaine - posted on 06/19/2012




Personally I would recommend goat's milk. If you can get it unpasteurised it would be even better as some of the nutrients are taken out by that process. I was raised as an infant on goat's milk - freshly milked from the goat. I also had a nephew who had severe eczema as a baby which cleared up after he was put onto the fresh goat's milk. I think you can get goat's milk in a formula if you are having trouble getting it. Another person I know put their baby who had reflux onto formula goat's milk and the child was doing much better. Another plus for goat's milk is that you can use it in cooking and for all the family and the taste is not much different to cow's milk. (do not get long life goats milk - heat treatment makes it taste horrible). I don't know why the medical profession is so negative about goat's milk as many children are raised on it all over the world with no ill effect. They seem to be very pro soy milk which seems strange to me when you read up on possible ill effects from soy.

ANISHA - posted on 06/12/2012




sometimes with young children you can introduce small portions of what their allergic to into their diets so that their bodies become accustomed to it. some parents have done it with nuts, bananas and stuff like that under doctor supervison.

Teresa - posted on 06/08/2012




my now 8 year old only drank soy milk if any at all. We don;t beleive that a child needs milk after a certain age and before that it was breast milk or a substitute for. We, as a family, don;t drink milk, not even soy. We get calcium other ways, and not in supplements.

Deborah - posted on 06/08/2012




There are other milk alternatives besides soy. You can find hemp milk, almond milk, rice milk, or even coconut milk in most grocery stores. Soy is one of the 8 major allergies so I wouldn't go that route (but I'm the mother of a child who is allergic to soy...). Soy is a very mixed bag and the more research you do on it, the less it looks like a good choice for lots of reasons.

Another thought though is to ask a second doctor their opinion. Or a nutritionist.

Kim - posted on 01/29/2011




My son is lactose intolerent and has been for 2years now, he's been on soya milk since. Now they have a 1yr+ soya milk by alpro soya. and chocolate soy milk, or the full fat soya milk sweetned by apple extract (which is the one i get) there is nothing wrong with my boy infact he's been having a lot less colds and chest infections too.

Lacye - posted on 01/28/2011




I'm curious Dana, which one did you choose before she grew out of her allergy? Did you try the goat's milk or one of the other choices? What was your reason for choosing that one? I'm being kinda nosey but if I ever have another child, it would be good to know some of the info you found.

[deleted account]

Haha, this question is 9 months old. She's actually outgrown her allergy to the protein in cow's milk.

Eleisha - posted on 01/26/2011




I would try goat's milk. It is the closest milk to breast milk (what I've heard and read) and much better for you. I have heard more negative than positive about soy milk as well.

[deleted account]

Thanks ladies! I think I've made a decision! I really do appreciate all of ur thoughtful responses!

Cassie - posted on 03/07/2010




My daughter also doesn't drink any kind of milk. It is not necessary for humans as it was designed for baby calves. We just make sure she is getting the recommended nutrients she would get from milk by eating other foods that are rich in those nutrients. She is a happy, healthy, thriving 16 month old! :)

Carly - posted on 03/07/2010




I've raised my daughter by the belief the cows milk is for baby cows, so on occassion I do give her a glass of chocolate soy, and use soy milk in cooking. I find the chemicals and processing of cows milk terrifying, soy not so much, but I have read conflicting articles.
However since we went off formula she's drank mostly water, I don't consider any kind of milk an everyday beverage, it's not really neccessary.

Sue - posted on 03/07/2010




There are so many conflicting tests done these days and you not only have to research the product but who is actually performing the tests and who they are performing them for. I read a lot of these "cows milk is very bad for you" papers only to find right at the bottom an advertisement for soy milk and visa versa.

My daughter had problems as soon as my milk came in. Gassy, absolutely hysterical crying in pain, diarrhea ... it was just awful to get her home and cry for so long until exhausted even with simethacone in her. So after a few days and constant contact with her pediatrician we decided formula was the best route as there was something in my milk she could not tolerate. Nothing changed while we were using the standard formula. After 6 weeks of trying different formula as suggested to us we took her for a check up and had had enough. Lots of problems and only just in the percentile range for weight. We swapped to soy formula and the change in her was just phenomenal. I had a happy baby who was now eating and putting on weight. She was lactose intolerant.

As you have already seen another mother here said her baby had the same trouble on soy formula so its very much what works for your baby and to be honest I am very cynical about the majority of these research papers especially since working in the pharmaceutical industry. Everything in one form or another seems to cause cancer, I even read a report once that potatoes are carcinogenic ....... yeah great. When I read the paper the rats had been force fed up to 10 times their own body weight in potatoes in some cases. So to end on a note as I started .... dont only research the product but research the people who are testing and who they are testing for as well as really look deep into the research data. If there is no detailed info about how the tests were carried out then you are not getting the full picture.

Rosie - posted on 03/07/2010




i looked up some articles and they all seemed clear on one thing, that if you have soy products all the time is where the problem is, occasionally there is no problem. however that doesn't really clarify how much is "all the time" or how much is "occasionally" , especially for a child.

Chelle - posted on 03/06/2010




My son is allergic to milk and soy protein. He gets blood in his stool from having them and they make him very sick. He is on an amino acid based formula. But I have had many parents suggest rice milk. His doctor has never suggested it and I haven't asked b/c we suspect a rice allergy as well. But I have put olive oil and flaxseed oil in his drinks to help him gain weight before. Also he eats avacodos.

Adri - posted on 03/05/2010




There are so many articles online dealing with the hidden danger of soy. I eat soy products once in a while but never give them to my children. Just google Dangers of Soy and read.

Rosie - posted on 03/05/2010




i can't give you real medical advice, but only my personal experiences, and info from both a pediatric chiroptactor, and a pediatrician.
lucas get's really constipated on regular milk, and he wasn't eating as much-and with my children that's a BIG no no, they're so little that they just can't afford to not be eating. on the advice of pediatric chiroptactor (i ran out of medical options, and chose an alternative on to see if it would work) and she suggested rice milk. he did great on it, but his regular ped. didn't like it because it doesn't have as much protein as soy milk does. if your daughter eats well and is a healthy weight, i would try rice milk. in my experience it was really hard to find full fat soy or rice milk, so if you can't find it, i added a little olive oil, or fish oil into the cup, and he didn't know any better.

[deleted account]

Well, if it's just on occasion for cooking I don't think soy milk would be a bad choice. Yogurt is perfect for smoothies. I've never made one w/ milk......

[deleted account]

No, she's not a big milk drinker at all......she doesn't have bottles anymore (18 months).....she's never really had cow's milk! She had a really bad reaction to it when I started to introduce it just before her first bday and we discovered that she's allergic to the proteins in cow's milk.......I've tried it a couple times since because her doctor said it's typical and she'll more likely than not grow out of it by her second bday!?? She does get her required calcium and protein from many other healthy sources but at some point, whether it be in cooking or smoothie's etc. she's gonna have to have some milk so I'm just tryin to get some answers about what is the best alternative!

Thanks Teresa! Psssst......I hate soy milk too! I hate all milk as a matter of fact!

[deleted account]

IMO soy milk is nasty. ;) I admittedly don't do much, if any, research, but the little I've heard about the estrogen deal is enough to make me glad I don't like soy milk. ;)

What if you just make sure she has enough dairy from cheese and yogurt and skip the milk altogether? Or is it cuz she's a big milk drinker that you're having a problem?

Sorry I can't be of more help....

Amy - posted on 03/04/2010




my baby screamed with anything soy. gassy and angry. i know it's not normally suggested, but we did almond milk with our son since we have no known nut allergies. he LOVES it.

i dont know how it compares nutritionally. my son eats full on meals now at almost a year old and still nurses at nite and before nap. i never had any kind of milk - cow or other be a bulk of nutrition. nor did we have goat milk access when daughter was born. our chiropractor recommended it and i must say i even use almond milk in coffee and on cereal because we just don't do much dairy anymore.

[deleted account]

Thank you EVERYONE! I'm still confused and will continue to do some research! For the time being we're gonna finish up the formula I have already and then by then hopefully I'll have made my decision?!! We do have soy milk in the fridge and that's what I use to make her smoothie as well as any recipes that call for milk! Hopefully I can find a happy balance.......I just want to make sure she's getting a proper nutrition without potentionally harming her! Thanks again ladies!

P.S. I just wanted to add that even if she wasn't allergic to milk I would probably still be on the same quest because I don't think cow's milk is the best for them! Soy would have been my choice but because of all this stuff that's been brought to my attention I've second guessed myself!

[deleted account]

I have 3 kids that were cow milk protein intolerant and I still am struggling to find the right solution. lol My oldest is almost 12 and he has for the most part "grown out of it" . He still can't eat too much dairy because it makes him constipated and gets a stomach ache though. I've tried soy and goat and i found that the goat milk was better and that they were more willing to drink it. When my son was little I remember watching a thing on tv talking about trace amounts of pesticides in soy formula so thats when i switched to goat (but it was a bitch to find where i live!) That was awhile ago so i don't know if they still have that problem but you never know i guess. With my older daughter she was cow milk and soy intolerant UGG There are arguments for both sides and i swear every doctor or health nurse, or dietitian believes something different so when it comes down to it you just have to read up and try out different things until you find the solution that works for you. My youngest is 22 months now and me and my doctor have worked out a system where I am gradually introducing and increasing her cow milk intake so that her body becomes tolerant to it. We didn't start this until she was 18 months and i breast fed her until 20 months so i didn't have to deal with the cow milk dilemma lol I'd talk to your doctor for sure though before doing it because different kids have a different level of intolerance. For mine it was generally just really uncomfortable for them to go bathroom and they get horrible eczema.

[deleted account]

Children need full-fat milk whereas for adults it's better to stick to semi or skimmed. Goat's milk contains more fat than cows milk so it that way is better for children. I'm glad you found the info useful. I've actually just found a link which explains why goat's milk isn't a good alternative for babies who are allergic to cow's milk so soy milk will be the best option afterall:

There's so many different recommendations these days!

[deleted account]

Some evidence suggests that soy milk is actually more nutritious than cows milk these days because of the way it's processed. Cows milk looses much of it's good stuff in the pasturisation/sterilization process. The only downside it that it has less fat than cows milk. It's important to give children natural fats, but these are found other foods.

I'm not sure about the estrogen levels, but I give my boy a mixture of cows milk and soy and he's a boys boy, so there is definately no hormonal imbalance there. There might be other health consequences realted to too much estrogen, but everything is bad in some ways these days.

[deleted account]

P.S. My daughter was never on a soy FORMULA.......she did fine with a regular Enfamil formula........the problem didn't arise until I offered her whole cow's milk right after her first bday! She's apparently allergic to the proteins in cow's doesn't affect her eating cheese or other dairy yogurt because they've been put thru a process to break down the proteins! Apparently she should grow out of this??

[deleted account]

Thanks Meghan but that doesn't make my decision any easier! LOL! All I know for sure is that she can't have cow's milk! I've been doin sooo much research and I bounce back and forth all the time......need something to help me make a decision! After reading some articles about soy milk I'm frightened of it but at the moment that's what she's been drinking! Ugh. Please someone enlighten me! Where are all those strong personalities and opinions.......I need to know what everyone thinks? What would you do?

[deleted account]

Once a baby turns one-year-old, and has progressed to table foods, the choice between soy milk and dairy milk is an individual matter. If a child is allergic to milk, is lactose intolerant or for some reason cannot tolerate or dislikes milk, or is being raised in a vegan vegetarian family, a soy milk is a better choice. However, it should not be low fat, and it should be vitamin and mineral fortified. For most toddlers, cow's milk is generally a better choice because it is more nutrient dense and naturally contains more vitamins, protein and minerals than does soy milk. A one-year-old still needs a diet relatively high in fat. Milk is a big source of fat in an infant's diet, offsetting an expanded food repertoire that includes lower fat foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains.

Milk naturally contains a readily absorbable form of calcium, and has higher quality protein than soy milk. The ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrates are also a good balance for baby. By one year, an infant's digestive track has matured enough to be able to handle the protein content of cow milk, which prohibits its use prior to that.

Ultimately, the answer to your question is individual and is dependent on the nutritional needs and restrictions, as well as the taste preferences of the child. Children have been raised successfully on both types of milk.

[deleted account]

P.S. Now after readin the link you forwarded I'm definitely considering it again because it's cheaper than the follow up formula I've been using! I'm gonna run it by my doctor because I'm a little embarrassed that I didn't ask her why it wasn't a good alternative......I'm sick of taking people's word for it! Doc or not!

[deleted account]

Thanks for the link Jennifer! I did originally consider goats milk but when I discussed it with my doctor she said it wasn't a good alternative.....that's when she suggested soy milk or the extended enfant formulas! I have to say, I'm very confused......there's arguments for all sides eh?

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