Is It Safe To Switch To Soy Milk For Toddlers?

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Soy milk, as the name suggests, is derived from soybeans. If you are considering introducing your little one to this plant-based milk, the benefits of soy milk for toddlers should first be considered.

Soy milk is a nutritious and vegan alternative to cow’s milk. It is high in protein and can benefit your child’s health (1). However, if you are thinking of feeding your children soy milk instead of cow’s milk, you should consider its nutritional value and possible side effects.

Scroll through this article to learn about the nutritional value of soy milk and if it is beneficial for toddlers.

Soy Milk Vs Cow Milk:

There are many differences between soy milk and cow milk when it comes to nutritional content (1) (2).

It has been found that whole milk tends to contain around 61 calories, while soy milk contains just 38 calories per 100g serving. When it comes to fat content, cow milk has 3.2g of fat as opposed to 2.12g of fat in a serving of enriched soy milk.

In terms of protein content, whole milk and soy milk are nearly the same with 3.27g and 3.55g respectively.

Soy Milk And Calcium Content:

Compared to cow milk, soy milk is a bit low on its calcium content (1) (2). Which is why, if you do decide to give your toddler soy milk, you must consider choosing a fortified form of soy milk that is enriched with important nutrients like folate, calcium, vitamin A, D and B.

It has also been found that soy milk contains certain compounds known as phytates, which tend to decrease calcium absorption – so you’ll need to make sure your toddler consumes more calcium-rich foods if he’s been drinking soy milk (3). You can choose to introduce your toddler to foods like yogurt, cheese, canned salmon and orange juice fortified with calcium (4).

Is Soy Milk Good For Toddlers?

Consumption of non-fortified soy milk as opposed to cow milk could create a deficiency of calcium in the toddler. However, growing children need calcium for the proper development of bones, teeth, hormones, muscles and even the central nervous system. In such cases, you may choose to switch to soy milk that has been fortified with calcium and other important vitamins (5).

In general, soy milk can turn out to be an impressive alternative milk option for children who are intolerant to cow’s milk. However, if your toddler is affected by milk allergy, he may also be allergic to foods containing soy, including soy’s milk.

In such cases, it is best to seek a pediatrician’s advice before turning to soy milk for toddlers.

The Side Effects Of Soy Milk For Toddlers:

It is also important to note the various health concerns that arise as a result of consumption of soy milk.

  • Soy milk is often used as a substitute for cow’s milk, but many a time, soy milk may also trigger severe allergic reactions. Consumption of soy milk could cause itching, skin rashes, abdominal pain etc (6).
  • Soy milk has phytates which hinders the absorption of a few nutrients such as iron, zinc and phosphorus. This may cause a few nutritional deficiencies if the meals are not properly balanced (7).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much soy milk is too much for a toddler?

A toddler should not consume more than 16-24 ounces of milk, including soy milk, per day (8).

2. What is the healthiest milk for a toddler?

Since children under two years require extra fat for brain development, whole-fat cow milk is the healthiest and most nutritional option for a toddler (8).

Soy milk is plant-derived milk that could be an excellent nutritious and vegan alternative to cow’s milk, especially for toddlers with cow milk intolerance. There are several benefits of soy milk for toddlers as it is high in protein and other nutrients content, however, due to the low caloric and calcium content, a calcium-fortified form of soy milk is preferred to avoid calcium deficiency. It may be prudent to look for any allergic reactions and take your doctors’ approval before trying any new food option for your toddler.

References:

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Jessica Albert

Jessica Albert is a passionate writer who seeks to connect with her readers through wit and charm. Her work aims to invoke curiosity and keep the readers engaged through and through. She has prior experience working with magazines and e-commerce establishments as a content marketer and editor. Being a mother herself, she puts all her knowledge into creating content about... more

Dr. Neema Shrestha

(MD)
Dr. Neema Shrestha is a pediatrician with a special interest in the field of neonatology. Currently working in Kathmandu, Nepal, she completed her MBBS from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal in 2008, Diploma in Child Health from D.Y. Patil University in 2011, MD from Nepal Medical College in 2015 and Fellowship in Neonatology from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi in... more