Soy yogurt is a soft and nutritious food that can be easily spoon fed to babies at an early age. But how young is too young to eat soy yogurt, let’s discuss that an more in this article.
Soy yogurt is a non-dairy alternative made from soybeans. Generally, soy yogurt has a higher level of proteins than other dairy-free alternatives, however many have relatively lower calories and nutrition making it hard for your baby to get the proper amount of nutrition.
Can you give babies soy yogurt? Yes, you can feed a baby soy yogurt, but experts don’t recommend feeding babies under 6 months of age too much. Soy yogurt is not as nutritious as breastmilk or infant formula, therefore it should not serve as a meal replacement, but merely as a dietary addition to enhance gut microflora.
It is ok to feed a baby small amounts of soy yogurt as long as they don’t have any allergies or intolerance to soy products.
Soy yogurts typically have added sugars in the form of honey, blended fruits, syrups, or vanilla flavoring. Make sure to read the labels to keep added sugar levels in any yogurts you give your children to a minimum.
This article discusses feeding soy yogurt to babies. Answered below are frequently asked questions about giving soy yogurt to babies and any causes for concern to think about.
Before considering to give your baby soy yogurt, discuss with a pediatrician or physician so that they can give you advice specific to your situation.
Is soy yogurt safe for babies?
Yes, it is safe to feed soy yogurt to babies that are not allergic to soy products. Yogurt can be an easier food for your baby to eat since it is not quite solid, but you should not overdo it and be careful while feeding a baby because they can still choke on yogurt.
There have been a number of studies about the health benefits of yogurt for babies age 6 to 24 months. Published evidence supports the health benefit of yogurt consumption in infants and children, but further studies should be conducted [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].
Soy yogurt can be a good alternative for many children who have dairy allergies or are lactose intolerant. Soy yogurt and soy milk have the closest nutritionally to cow’s milk, however soy products do not have the exact same nutritional profiles.
Soy products have less complete proteins than cow’s milk, and fewer levels of vitamins and minerals. Soy products do contain high levels of iron and fiber, which many babies are lacking during early stages of development.
Soy yogurt contains probiotics that are beneficial bacteria found in the body. Current thinking suggests there are many health benefits stemming from increased probiotics including an improved immune system.
Although there are health benefits to consuming soy in moderation, experts think there might be more potential harm for young children. Experts don’t recommend overconsumption of soy products since some recent studies suggest eating too much soy might be harmful for long term development.
Some studies found that soy contains compounds called isoflavones that act like estrogen in the body. Elevated levels of estrogen can be harmful for people of any age and especially harmful for children who are still developing.
Evidence indicates that young boys and girls consuming soy might have an increased risk of developing estrogen related issues in their future. This also manifests in the form of starting puberty at an earlier age.
Is soy yogurt okay for babies?
Soy yogurt is okay for a baby to consume in moderation, however experts don’t recommend feeding your baby too much soy products at any point during growth and development stages. Furthermore, soy yogurt should never be used as a complete meal replacement for breastmilk or infant formula because it does not contain equal amounts of nutrition.
Soy products contain a comparable amount of nutrition to cow’s milk, including complete proteins and high levels of iron and fiber. Additionally, soy products, like soy yogurt, are usually fortified with vitamin D and calcium that can be helpful for young children.
Soy yogurt is plant-based, and for most people is relatively easy to digest compared to animal products or animal proteins. If your child gets most of their protein from animal products, then soy yogurt might be an excellent way of balancing the impact on their digestive system.
However, experts don’t recommend eating too much soy yogurt for babies as soybeans naturally contain phytoestrogens known as isoflavones. Current research suggests that high levels of phytoestrogens may have a harmful long term impact on people.
Babies are in a crucial stage of development and imbalances in natural hormone levels can be harmful.
A small amount of soy yogurt at a time should be fine for babies above the age of 6 months, after all, soy formula is prevalent in many manufactured brands. Therefore, if you decide to feed your child soy yogurt, or need to feed your child a dairy free alternative, soy yogurt in itself is safe for babies to consume.
Consult a pediatrician or nutritional specialist before introducing dairy-free yogurt to your baby. They will be able to address specific questions in regards to your concerns.
When can babies eat soy yogurt?
Experts recommend slowly introducing yogurt to a baby between the age of 6 to 12 months, or whenever your child starts to eat pureed foods. Planning to add soy yogurt when transitioning your child to solid foods as it can be a helpful part of a balanced diet.
Some pediatricians may suggest an earlier time to start introducing soy yogurt, therefore we recommend you speak to them to make a sound and smart decision that is specific for your child.
The most appropriate time to introduce soy yogurt to your baby is when they are already doing well with pureed foods.
Start with a couple of spoonfuls and observe how your child responds. If all goes well, stick small servings of soy yogurt per day and increasing the amount after they reach the age of three years old.
Make sure soy yogurt is part of a well balanced diet and that you are updating the diet with new foods as your child continues to grow.
As you transition your baby from breastmilk to solid foods, introduce non-dairy yogurt such as soy yogurt which has a macro nutritional profile similar to cow’s milk.
Side Effects of Soy Yogurt for Babies
A baby might have an allergic reaction to soy products including soy yogurt. Children with allergies, such as an allergy to dairy, might have multiple types that don’t initially seem related.
If they are sensitive to cow’s milk, be careful to test soy products like soy yogurt and proceed with caution. The symptoms of a soy allergy include diarrhea, running nose, vomiting, rash, and wheezing.
If your child shows any of these signs, eliminate all soy products from their diet and check whether the symptoms disappear. In the case of a severe allergic reaction, get help from a trained professional immediately.
In the case of a mild reaction, if the symptoms stop after eliminating soy from the diet, you will have to consult your dietician about other dairy-free alternatives. Sometimes your baby might grow out of allergies, and if they do you may consider reintroducing soy yogurt later in life.
Research suggests that soy products contain phytoestrogen, which might trigger estrogen-like effects in babies that can result in long term health problems. More research needs to be done, but experts think it is compelling enough to minimize soy products and soy baby formula as a baby is developing.
If you decide to feed your child soy yogurt, make sure they get adequate nutrients from a variety of food sources that are different from soy products.
Soy Yogurt for Babies: Conclusion
Soy yogurt is mostly safe for babies to consume directly. However, experts recommend feeding a child older than the age of 6 months or when they start eating pureed foods.
After the age of 6 to 12 months, a balanced diet is important to ensure your child receives all the proper nutrients they need grow strong and healthy. Therefore, soy yogurt should be an addition and not a meal replacement for breastmilk or formula.
Most plant-based yogurts don’t have the necessary amounts of calcium, protein, vitamin B12, and healthy fats compared to animal-based yogurts. These macro and micronutrients are vital in the development of babies.
Soy yogurts generally also have added sugar, which would not be great for a baby nor regularly for any developing child. If you are shopping for non-dairy or plant based yogurts, choose brands with no added sugars that are fortified with vitamin D and calcium.
The better brands of soy yogurt are those that have very little or no added sugars and are fortified with vitamin D and vitamin B12. You should also check the total protein content of any soy yogurt before given them to your children to make sure they are getting enough protein in their diet.
Consult a pediatrician or nutritional specialist to see if there are any concerns over feeding soy yogurt to your baby. Each child responds differently to soy products, and you will want guidance from a professional when determining your child’s diet.