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I just don't like the idea of soy formula for my DD... but equally don't want to play with her calcium intake... please advise

(22 Posts)
eskimomama Tue 16-Nov-10 21:40:48


MY DD is now 13 months old, very allergic to dairy, and I've been BFing her until now.

I will now need to wean her, because even though I love BFing, it has taken its toll on me (I'm very underweight after 7 months of following an egg free and dairy free diet).

Both our allergist and nutritionist have advised using soy formula, but I just cannot make up my mind with all the controversy around soy/babies, and quite frankly I just don't like the idea of formula full stop, let alone made from soy! such a post modern artificial thing to feed my baby my opinion.

Now the alternatives I've been reading about everywhere don't seem unbiased at all or well-informed.
So far I found that:

Rice milk is a big no-no before 4, has not enough fat or calcium and might have traces of arsenic - ie no thanks.

Oat milk hasn't got enough fat or calcium - even the oatmilk company I contacted advised me not to use it as main drink for a young toddler.

Almond milk - cannot use it as DD slightly allergic to almonds.

I would REALLY appreciate some advice on what to offer as a main drink to my DD from now on. She drinks water/juice well from a sippy cup btw.

I'm concerned that relying on green veg only for calcium simply isn't enough at all at her age.

Sorry for long post - many thanks in advance!

QueenOfFlamingEverything Tue 16-Nov-10 21:54:53

I am not an allergy expert by any means so will leave that side of it.

But I am a long-term vegetarian and ex-vegan so know a bit about egg/dairy free diets. There are other calcium sources besides green vegetables - blackstrap molasses, tofu, dried fruit, sesame seeds/tahini.

Children over 1 can actually do fine with no milk whatsoever in their diet, if you are careful about what they eat, though I know this is hard with toddlers especially if combined with other diet restrictions.

Don't take this the wrong way, but you should be able to eat an egg/milk free diet without becoming underweight. If you want to give up BF, then obviously thats what you should do. But if its because of concerns over your health due to the diet you are having to follow then that could be helped iyswim?

eskimomama Tue 16-Nov-10 22:03:34

Thanks Queen, you are probably 100% right when you say I shouldn't be underweight following an egg/dairy free diet (I still have to see a plump vegan though wink ).

I think I probably lost most of that weight because I was also on a gluten free diet for a few months when the doctors suspected my DD to have a gluten allergy - which wasn't the case in the end. At that stage I had already lost all my pregnancy weight and was (admittedly) clueless at cooking healthy egg/dairy/gluten free for myself!!

Anyway, I would like ideally to limit my DD's soy intake. But I am really not sure what to give her to drink instead of breastmilk as she is still Bfing 3/4 times during the day...

epic Tue 16-Nov-10 23:00:36

Eskimomama, how do you feel about continuing to breastfeed? Some mums posting on this board have breastfed their DCs until at least 3-ish. My own DS is just over 2 years old and I feel very reassured by his constant bf-ing as I think he is getting at least some balanced food.

I take your point about never seeing 'plump' vegans, but there are some great egg/dairy-free cake cake recipes on here... perhaps the vegans we meet are just really sensible about their diets!

nottirednow Wed 17-Nov-10 09:36:39

Message withdrawn

eskimomama Wed 17-Nov-10 09:42:41

We had blood and skin tests which confirmed the allergies, she can't have anything that contains traces of milk or eggs.
DD isn't taking Neocate at all (I don't blame her, it tastes pretty bad). Soy is fine though, she isn't allergic to it.

Bilbomum Wed 17-Nov-10 10:05:07

You're in a bit of a catch 22 I think Eskimomama. Children with dairy/nut allergies often end up having problems with soya as well so I wouldn't personally go down that route. I was in a similar situation with ds (now 4) and ended up breastfeeding until he was 2, he never took to the hypoallergenic formula either. Even though ds was a good eater and had a calcium supplement I still felt he needed something extra for that 12-24 month stage. He self weaned in the end when I went into hospital to have dd so my visions of him feeding until he started school were unfounded!

I too ended up a little too skinny after restricting my diet in line with his allergies but it didn't last long (unfortunately grin). You could persevere with mixing the hypo formula with ebm a little at a time and see if she takes to it eventually. I didn't have the patience though so breastfeeding was the only solution for us.

QueenOfFlamingEverything Wed 17-Nov-10 11:09:20

Kara coconut milk is the best tasting non-dairy milk we have found - is she ok with coconut?

It has added calcium and good fats, though not a high % of fat.

rockinhippy Wed 17-Nov-10 11:32:43 .0

there's a good list of non dairy calcium rich foods in the link above, some soy based, but LOTS more to choose from, totally agree with queenofeverything its really not so hard to get plenty of calcium from other food sources,

I also agree with the coconut milk above DD LOVES it, especially with added cocoa & agave syrup made into a chocolate "shake"

my own DD can now have lactofree milk etc, (unless in a stomach flare) but even before we knew that, she has had no deficiencies & we've mostly relied on other calcium sources, so don't worry, theres LOTS you can do

eskimomama Wed 17-Nov-10 11:42:38

thanks so much everyone - It looks like none of you used soy formula either!
my gut feeling tells me it's wrong.

Bilbomum - what did you give your DS to drink after he weaned himself?

Bilbomum Wed 17-Nov-10 11:53:09

He has water and/or juice, his weight has stayed absolutely fine (he's monitored closely by hospital). He's just started school and now takes rice milk in for his morning break, I don't think he really likes it - it just makes him feel like the rest of the kids when they have their milk! I can't get oat or kara in small boxes or he would have that instead, as the others say it's the better alternative.

I would say you definitely need a calcium supplement, your dietician should work it out and get it prescribed for you.

Interestingly dd (now 2.5) hasn't got the allergy problems ds has but she also doesn't have milk as a drink and her weight hasn't suffered either. You can get the calories they need from food without too many problems ime.

Good luck with everything whatever you choose to do smile

babybarrister Wed 17-Nov-10 12:36:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

eskimomama Wed 17-Nov-10 13:04:27

thanks so much - dreading the preschool dairy temptations everywhere for her already!

VivaLeBeaver Wed 17-Nov-10 13:06:52

Goats milk?

DD was allergic to cows milk but not goats milk.

eskimomama Wed 17-Nov-10 13:12:49

our allergist said she can't have goat milk either, she's very allergic to the protein and it would be the same with goat milk...

Bilbomum Wed 17-Nov-10 13:24:27

I know babybarrister - tried to sneak it in past the teacher but got sussed! Apparently dairy allergy not an excuse for being allowed chocolate milk in school unfortunately for ds....

Don't worry about the dairy temptations eskimo - you've just got to have eyes in the back of your head during the toddler years but it is manageable.

NKinDXB Wed 17-Nov-10 13:50:03

I used soya formula - can I ask what's everyone's problem with it?

The only negative I'd heard associated with it was high oestrogen content which I was slightly concerned about.

If your DS has had the testing and soy didn't provoke any reaction she's probably fine - mine had no problem with it at all. Only some people with dairy allergy also have soy allergy, not all.

Little ones do need calcium. Sadly mine not a green veg fan!

QueenOfFlamingEverything suggests sesame but be wary of that as is also a common allergen. Makes my DS flare up in hives. (And I'm not a big tofu eater but isn't that made of soya beans?)

DS not fat that's for sure, but he's perfectly healthy, smart and full of energy so wouldn't worry about weight.

tabouleh Wed 17-Nov-10 14:00:44

If you look at this UNICEF's guide to formula for HCPs you'll see that it says:

Soya formula

Soya formula is made from soya beans not cow’s milk. Soya–based infant formulas have a high phytoestrogen content and it has been known for some time that this may pose a long–term reproductive health risk (Committee on Toxicity 2003). The Chief Medical Officer has advised (since 2004) that soya–based infant formulas should not be used as the first choice for the
management of infants with proven cow’s milk sensitivity, lactose intolerance, galactokinase deficiency and galactosaemia (BNF 2009).

As well as the risks to reproductive health, there have also been concerns that exposure to soya proteins can adversely affect babies with hypothyroidism and provoke allergy. (Sampson, 1988; Businco et al, 1992). In addition, up to 60 per cent of infants with cow milk protein–induced enterocolitis will be equally sensitive to soy protein (Eastham, 1989; Burks et al., 1994; Whitington and Gibson, 1997).

Much of this information is reflected in the advice available to the general public on the Food Standards Agency website (, yet soya–based artificial baby milks are still available in supermarkets and pharmacies and are promoted to health professionals. Parents can
feed their babies soya–based artificial milk without ever having consulted a health professional, even though this is recommended in the small print on the tin/packet. The only health advice that
is given (on the tin) relates to dental hygiene as soya–based formula contains more sugars from non–milk sources than cow’s milk–based formulas and are considered more cariogenic (likely to cause tooth decay), so most parents will be unaware of other possible adverse health effects.
Parents at particular risk in this category include vegans and those who drink (adult) soya milk and may assume that their baby will also gain health benefits from drinking soya–based artificial baby milk (Martyn 2003).

So you should talk to a doctor and also enquire about other hypoallergenic formulas (other than the neocate).

WRT to you being underweight etc - can you see a nutritionalist yourself to make sure you can get more protein into your diet?

Have you considered pumping your breastmilk?
There are various websites and blogs dedicated to "exclusively pumping". You could increase your supply and then pump and store some?

trixymalixy Wed 17-Nov-10 21:47:04

Soya allergy is really common in dairy allergic children, my DS developed soya allergy, so i would stay away from soya formula.

I BF Ds until he was 2, I went back to work when he was 13 months and cut down to feeds before bed and in the morning.

If you do give up BFing then you will have to give a hypoallergenic formula. Neocate is the worst tasting, you could try nutramigen, or pepti junior. There is also flavoured neocate which is suitable for over 1s which might be more palatable.

I was advised to try mixing nesquick or crusha with neocate to get DS to take it, but i didn't persevere with it as I decided just to keep BFing.

TankFlyBossWalk Wed 17-Nov-10 21:53:30

eskimomama, I'm a plump vegan!

I would continue to breastfeed and check your diet. There's no reason why you should be underweight on a egg and dairy-free diet. Are you eating enough?

tutu100 Wed 17-Nov-10 22:01:42

My ds is dairy intolerant (not allergic), he is ok with soya though. We were prescribed soya formula, but he wouldn't drink it (that stuff is vile as well). From 11 months when he stopped bf apart from the initial cow's based formula we gave him which made him sick, he has had no formula of any kind (his consultant was fine with that). My ds2 is a picky eater, he is quite fussy over what he eats and doesn't eat as much calcium rich foods as I would like him to, so he does have 4-5 soya milkshakes a week and probably the same amount of soya yoghurt.

I am concerned about the effects of the soya, but weighed up with him getting some of the nutrients he needs I felt it was worth doing. All his blood tests though to check iron, calcium levels etc have come back fine.

There are lots of dairy free formulas other than soya that you can try. dr's are often reluctant to prescribe them as they are very expensive, but it is worth asking them and trying a couple more different types.

But remember this there are lots of children who although they can drink dairy, don't like milk and most of them manage fine without it.

shaz298 Sun 21-Nov-10 14:13:39

Re the hypo allergenic formulas, be careful, My little boy is completely dairy allergic and is tube fed too.

He used to have Neocate which he tolerated fairly well. Taste not an issue as everything goes via tube.

Early 2009 decision was made to change his feed to something with easier to digest fats. Over a period of 3 hours he had a total of 45ml of Peti junior mixed in with his neocate. His face swelled up, red blotch and he was on I.V. fluids for a week because his gut shut down!! So beware of any hypoallergenic forulas which still contain ( all be it pre digested) dairy proteins.


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