Soy Formula Milk Versus Regular Formula Milk
Breast milk is the best food source for infants, but for various reasons, some mothers choose to feed their babies formula instead. There are several types of formula on the market, such as soy, low iron, and hypoallergenic. It can be a confusing choice for parents. Pediatricians overwhelmingly agree that standard formula, made with cow’s milk proteins supplemented with iron is the second best choice after breast milk.
Most babies can tolerate standard formula well. Causes that may have parents choose a different formula, like milk allergies or colic, are not as common as you would think. For example milk allergies only occur in about two percent of babies.
Many pediatricians believe that parents switch formula for no really good reason. Parents should always discuss switching formulas with their doctor. They probably will find that there is no need.
Many parents are under the misconception that soy formula is better than milk formula because babies tolerate it better. The truth is that most children who have allergies to milk also have a sensitivity to soy and really should be using hypoallergenic formulas. Another mistaken belief is that iron supplemented formula causes stomach irritation, colic, stomach pain and constipation. Iron in formula does not cause any of those things. The soy formulas with low iron do not provide enough iron for an infant and can increase baby’s risk of iron deficiency anemia. Babies do not have enough natural reserves to provide their iron needs, and it is very important those needs are met to keep baby healthy.
Hypoallergenic formula is becoming a popular choice for baby. It is easier to digest because the cow’s milk protein has been predigested, so it is in smaller pieces for baby. If you have a family history of milk allergies, eczema, and even hay fever, it is a good idea to give your baby hypoallergenic formula. Many pediatricians will advise using the hypoallergenic formula if both parents have a history of allergies because the formula is very expensive, about twice as expensive as standard formula. Some signs of milk protein intolerance or allergy are blood in the stool, eczema and respiratory problems.
The best reason to try soy formula is when the parents want the child to be raised vegan. There are no animal based products in soy formula and it is nutritionally complete. Soy formula can also be a good alternative for babies that are lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance is when someone has a problem digesting the sugars in milk. Lactose intolerance is very rare in infants but not unheard of.
Overall, most parents should heed their pediatrician’s advice and use standard formula if they cannot breastfeed, which is the optimum choice for baby, When you use the standard formula, stick with it, and do not change at the slightest suggestion that something is wrong. Generally, it usually makes matters even worse. If you feel there is a serious issue with the standard formula, make an appointment with your pediatrician to discuss the issue.