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I am concerned about the side effects of soy products

Hi Glenda,
I have a 9 month old son who is breast fed and eating solids. As I am returning to work soon I tried him on an infant formula recently and we have discovered he has what is believed to be a cow``s milk protein allergy, due to a strong reaction. His weight has always been a concern to me and he has dropped off the bottom of the growth chart for weight only, with all other development progressing as expected. He is a very happy and energetic boy, but has always been a fussy eater. He is a "happy chucker". My doctor has put him on soy formula (with the hope of introducing other soy products e.g. yoghurts, cheese), a glucose powder and reflux medication. I am concerned about the side effects of this, particularly the soy. The information on the internet is very overwhelming. What can you tell me about soy and are there any other alternatives?

Answer: Hi Bec, Does your soon seem to be tolerating the soy formula? From what I have seen and read, approximately half the number of babies/children who are sensitive to cow’s milk are also sensitive to soy, so I would keep watching for that. I think it would be a good idea to discuss your concerns with your doctor or child health nurse. I don’t know much about any long term effects of using soy formula, though I do know it is equivalent nutritionally to cow’s milk formulas. There are other formulas available (these are available by prescription) – those that have their proteins partially broken down (e.g. Pepti Junior, Alfare) and those that are fully broken down (e.g. Neocate, EleCare). You may like to talk to your doctor about using one of those if you are not comfortable using soy formula. They are more bitter than the normal infant formulas but there are some tricks to introducing them, such as gradually adding the formula to your child’s usual milk, or adding golden syrup or sugar in the beginning to disguise the taste and encourage them to drink it. (Just as a side point, unless there have been some changes recently, soy cheese has cow’s milk in it.) I know it can be overwhelming – particularly when trying to find information on the internet, so please make sure any source are legitimate and reliable. That can help a lot, but also talk to your doctor about anything you find online. I hope that helps, Glenda
Answered: 29 Apr 2009