Introducing whole cow’s milk into your baby’s diet is not always as easy as it seems it should be. It is not uncommon for babies to suffer from lactose intolerances and even dairy allergies or sensitivities. For adults, several milk substitutes can replace regular cow’s milk in their diet. Some examples are almond milk, rice milk, and soy milk. However, you may be wondering if babies can have soy milk and other milk substitutes. Are these milk alternates adequate for your baby’s delicate growing body?
Can Babies Have Soy Milk?
Babies under a year old should only be drinking breast milk or infant formula. Breastmilk and infant formula include sufficient amounts of the vitamins and minerals, especially iron and calcium, that your baby needs within the first year to grow and develop healthily. These vitamins and minerals are crucial to the quick brain and bone development your baby goes through in their first year of life.
What is the Difference Between Cow’s Milk and Soy Milk?
The AAP recommends introducing whole cow’s milk into your baby’s diet after 12 months and up to 2 years of age. If your baby suffers from lactose intolerance, soy milk can replace whole cow’s milk, but it’s best to get the advice of your pediatrician. If your baby suffers from a milk allergy, there is a good chance he or she will also suffer from an allergy to soy milk. Your pediatrician may suggest another milk alternative or recommend that you skip milks altogether for awhile since children can often receive adequate nutrition from healthy foods.
Introducing Milk Substitutes Into Your Child’s Diet
There are several reasons parents choose to use soy milk over cow’s milk. Some babies suffer from lactose intolerance, while other parents want their babies to avoid dairy. Whatever your reason, be sure you are offering your child whole soy milk with higher fat counts that will help your child grow. You should only introduce reduced-fat soy milk to your child after two years of age, and if your pediatrician recommends it.
Keep in mind that if your baby suffers from a milk allergy, you should be aware of the possibility for a soy allergy. Just like introducing solids to your child for the first time, keep an eye on diaper output and your child’s reactions to be sure they have no issues.
Soy milk can be a sufficient substitution for whole cow’s milk after your baby’s first year. Although, you should fortify their diet with the proper nutrients for healthy growth and development. Remember to always talk with your pediatrician before making any changes to your child’s diet. This is especially true within the first two years of their life.