Does anyone have experience and/or advice about soy for babies under 1year, particularly yogurt? I've heard the usual conflicting things (e.g. that babies can't digest soy milk, that tofu is a great early finger food, that soy is dangerous due to phyto-estrogens, etc). At the same time, cow's milk comes with similar digestion issues, but yogurt is fine, easier to digest because it's fermented -- does this apply to soy products as well?
We've been feeding our baby girl yogurt from (unsweetened organic whole) goat's, cow's and sheep's milk since she was 8m, and have had no issues. It seems like a good (and easy no-cook) protein source with her solid meals, and she enjoys it (we were warned not to try legumes too early because it would cause gas or something, we found that true for hummus and tofu at 9m, no problem for lentils).
Now we're all sick for the first time since she started solids, and since we always go off dairy while sick to reduce mucus and the baby has a lot of it, she's off dairy now too. I've been replacing her yogurt with soy yogurt, which she loves, even plain, and is eating 150-200mg/day (and some tofu as well), much more than she usually has of yogurt, so I think it's replacing some of her milk. I'm wondering if it's ok or if it could cause diarrhea / loose stools. It's hard to isolate since the her whole diet is different for the last couple of days. However, she's drinking less since she got sick, probably because of the stuffy nose, and is maybe a little dehydrated too? I do offer her water, and mostly let her decide what and how much of everything to eat or drink.
I have not so far found a vegetarian-friendly pediatrician, so I haven't bothered asking ours much about nutrition, and I just bought The New Vegetarian Baby, but otherwise have followed my instincts. I would love any perspective on any of this, and please let me know if i'm posting in the wrong section -- thank you!
I don't know specifically about soy yogurt but we don't do soy since we learned it causes hormonal issues.
Wanted to add, we'd have fermented soy in small amts. if we could find it. That's what I meant: I was saying I don't know if soy yogurt is fermented.
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I think more importatnly it depends on the individual. DD is 10 mos and has a dairy intolerance, even to yogurt, and when I tried soy rice pudding for me (she's nursing) she reacted to that as well. BUT i've made tofu nuggets and she was ok with those. I definitely feel like if they are giong to react to soy it's going to be the processed forms. Not to mention most soy comes from genetically modified crops so I can't imagine that wouldn't have an effect. I stick to non-gmo, organic soy products. SO makes coconut yogurt, it's a bit pricey but tastes fabulous!
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If she eats soy when she's not sick and gets them, I'd wonder more. My daughter has been eating organic soy since she was 10 mo, she is now 7 1/2.
Organic soymilk, tofu and yogurt is readily available, and not significantly different in price from conventional types, so that is all we eat.
Update - Yes, I'm giving her only organic non-GMO soy, which is not so hard to find here (Europe is very strict on GMOs, so the soy is often local too). Unfortunately the yummy-sounding coconut stuff would not be available here, but yes I would love some alternative easy protein sources!
I'm also still really confused about babies' ability to digest soymilk (also processed, no?) vs other soy products -- I thought the fermentation was the difference for dairy, although I'm not sure if soy "yogurt" is actually fermented the way tofu is. I've been veggie nearly all my life and suddenly I'm feeling uninformed :(
I also took her to the doctor today, worse than useless since he had no idea about anything I asked, but kept telling me that my no-dairy-during-colds rule was pointless (he'd never heard of it, my family has always done it because it helps!) and just kept judging me for not doing things the standard way, as if she might starve without pureed pork. ugh.
Just an update for anyone else with similar questions. We stopped the soy yogurt for a few days and then tried it again with no issues. It's still not quite clear since she hasn't eaten as much of it in one sitting as she did while she was sick (probably replacing some calories to make up for the milk her nose was too stuffed to drink easily), so maybe if she ate a whole adult serving it would be a problem. I've given her more soy yogurt occasionally in the month since this question and still no issues, and we also started giving her a lot more tofu because she loves it and can easily eat it by herself, which she prefers. I think there was just a combination of things while she was sick, so I'm no longer concerned about giving her (organic non-gmo) soy, although I'm about to post a new question about what else I can feed her now that she refuses purees but still only has six teeth...
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