Soy versus milk formula?
Breastmilk is the healthy and green choice. However, if a baby does need formula, what next? The issue isn’t being talked about enough in the right circles because mom’s still have lots of questions, despite the fact that the research in this case gives us a clear answer to questions like soy vs. milk-based and other questions (like make my own or buy it) that no one even asks about anymore.
The research is clear. Do NOT feed a baby soy formula (unless it is truly medically necessary. For instance because the baby has a congenital lactose intolerance—which is VERY, VERY rare and diagnosed in the testing they do right after birth). There is mounting research that soy formula can cause harm to a child’s developing endocrine system, could be linked to ADHD and early onset of menses in girls and early formation of breast tissue, and that soy formula might have dangerous levels of aluminum and manganese.
In the U.K., Isreal, France, and New Zealand they have severely restricted or banned the use of soy formula for babies because of the mounting research on the adverse health effects. In the U.S. and Canada, the outcry has been much weaker and slower in response, but nevertheless, the American Academy of Pediatrics has updated their stance on the use of soy formula to be far more restrictive and cautionary than before. First, they remind readers that: “The AAP is committed to the use of human milk as the ideal source of nutrition for infant feeding.” Then, they go on to say that despite there being very few cases when using soy milk is really indicated medically it still makes up more than 20% of formula sales in the U.S. (REMEMBER: your baby isn’t lactose intolerant without you knowing, ‘cause breastmilk is very high in lactose so a truly lactose-intolerant baby would have never survived its first few weeks of life until very recently). The AAP goes on to acknowledge the: “potential harmful effects of soy protein-based formulas and the phytoestrogens they contain.”
They conclude by saying that you should NOT feed your baby soy formula unless it is truly necessary. Now, that you know this, it is just the beginning however.
Learn more about safer, organic formulas; how to avoid BPA in baby formula (it almost all has it); tips for finding safer baby bottles; and more in the next blog on formula. Don’t miss The Green Mama tips to better bottle-feeding (below), safer baby bottles, and why breastfeeding is the green choice.
By Manda Aufochs Gillespie, The Green Mama.