If your baby cannot tolerate milk for any reason or you want your baby to start a more vegan lifestyle, then soy-based formulas is an option for your little one. However, as posted in a previous blog article Why Choose Soy Free Organic Baby Formula, there are reasons to reconsider the plant-based formula or formulas that contain soy.
In an article published in Human Reproduction in November 2018, the research team looked at women who consumed soy-based infant formula as babies and how it affected their menstrual pain in their young adult years. According to the data of almost 1700 African-American women between the ages of 23 and 35, the study found that soy formula is associated with indicators of severe menstrual pain for women at their reproductive age.
The exposure to the phytoestrogens, particularly isoflavones genistein and daidzein, are much higher in soy-based formula compared to milk-based formula. The concentration of genistein in the urine of an infant who was fed soy formula was 500 times greater than the concentration in a milk formula baby.
This study was a follow up to a study published in JAMA in 2001 about the exposure to soy-based formula in infancy. The 2001 study used data mostly from young, white adults.
For a balanced diet, baby formula needs carbohydrates. In milk-based formulas, the source of carbohydrates generally comes from lactose, or milk sugar. Without lactose in soy formula, companies resort to sugars ranging from sucrose (better known as table sugar) or corn syrup. Both of these ingredients are very high on the glycemic index and just too sweet. These forms of processed sugars are linked to childhood obesity and diseases including diabetes later in life for these infants.
Even if you choose a formula that is milk-based, some products do contain soy. For this reason, it is important to look at the ingredients list and allergen alert on the label. The health and well-being of your baby reaches beyond their first year, so the type of formula they consume can impact their future.
When you look at the organic baby formulas from Europe, you will find that the top products that are focused on the growth and development of your baby are generally soy free. Hipp, Holle, and Lebenswert do not contain soy, do not have soy-based formulas, and nourish your baby with biodynamic milk and organically-grown ingredients.
Soy lecithin is an organic emulsifier found in some organic baby formulas. While it does not contain the levels of phytoestrogens as soy-based formulas, the proteins may trigger reactions if your baby is allergic. If you know that your baby is allergic to soy or you are concerned, then you will know to avoid that product. Hipp Stage 3 for babies 10 months and on is the only product that contains soy lecithin.