Soy Milk formula is one of the most beneficial milk choices. Although it is more popularly used for children with cow’s milk allergy, soy formula can be consumed by all children and provides the same benefits as cow’s milk.
The protein content of soy milk is similar to that of cow’s milk. However, the type of protein is different from cow’s milk protein which can trigger an allergic reaction in children with cow’s milk allergy. Besides, soy milk also does not contain lactose which can cause problems for people with lactose intolerance.
Difference Between Soy Milk Formula and Regular Soy Milk
Giving homemade soy milk or soy milk sold in the market is not recommended for children. Even though it is high in protein, the nutritional content in milk is not following the nutritional needs of the child as a whole, so the risk of causing malnutrition and failure to thrive.
Well, soy milk that is recommended for children with cow’s milk allergy is soy milk formula that has been fortified with various important nutrients in the child’s growth phase.
Soy Milk Formula for Children with Cow’s Milk Allergy
Cow’s milk allergy is a common type of food allergy in children. About 2–3% of children under 3 years of age suffer from allergies to cow’s milk. This allergy occurs because the immune system overreacts to the protein content found in cow’s milk.
Symptoms of cow’s milk allergy in children are very diverse, including:
- Stomach ache
- Bloated stomach
- Itching and rash appear on the skin
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Fussy or crying a lot
- Swelling in certain body parts
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
If your little one suffers from cow’s milk allergy, you can give him soy formula, because the protein in soy formula is different from the protein in cow’s milk which can trigger an allergic reaction. Besides, soy formula is also good for children who suffer from lactose intolerance because it doesn’t contain lactose.
How to Choose Soy Milk that is Good for Children
In choosing soy formula for children, there are several things you need to pay attention to regarding the nutritional content in it. Some of the important ingredients that should be present in soy formula for children are:
Make sure that the soy formula given to your little one contains fiber. Children aged 1-3 years need 19 grams of fiber per day. The reason is, fiber has an important role in digestive health and can prevent constipation in children.
In the digestive tract, fiber also functions as food for good intestinal bacteria which is responsible for supporting the child’s immune system.
However, meeting children’s fiber needs through food alone is sometimes difficult, not to mention if children don’t like to eat vegetables or fruit. Take, for example, to meet only 16 grams of fiber, children must consume 2 kg of boiled carrots a day. This amount is certainly too much. Therefore, additional fiber intake in soy formula can be of great help.
2. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
To support children’s brain development, choose soy formulas that contain omega-3 fatty acids, such as alpha-linolenic acid, EPA, and DHA, and omega-6, such as arachidonic acid and linoleic acid. Research shows that in balanced amounts, these fatty acids can help improve brain function.
Children who get enough omega-3 and omega-6 intake generally have better memory and comprehension power. Not only that, adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids can even reduce the risk of developing asthma symptoms in children.
3. FOS and Inulin
Make sure soy formulas for children contain fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin. Both of these ingredients are prebiotics that can function similarly to natural prebiotics in breast milk.
Prebiotics are important for the health of the digestive tract of children because they can increase the number of good bacteria in the intestine. More than that, if your little one’s digestive health is maintained, his immune system will also be stronger.
Choline is a compound that plays an important role in supporting brain development, muscle movement, nervous system work, and body metabolism. This compound is produced in small amounts by the body so it needs to be obtained from daily food.
Children aged 0-12 months need 125-250 mg of choline intake per day, while children aged 1-3 years need choline as much as 200 mg per day. To meet these needs, make sure the soy formula given to your little one contains choline.
The next nutrient that should be present in soy formula for children is iron. Children who get enough iron intake tend to be more immune to infection because this mineral can strengthen the immune system.
Iron also has a very important role in the distribution of oxygen throughout the body. If the distribution of oxygen throughout the body goes well, the body’s energy, ability to concentrate, brain function, and motor skills of children will increase.
Finally, make sure soy formulas for children contain taurine or amino sulfonic acids. These nutrients can be found in meat and fish function to support your little one’s brain development.
Not only that, but taurine also plays an important role in increasing body immunity, maintaining electrolyte balance, maintaining calcium levels, and supporting children’s eye and brain function.
In addition to paying attention to the nutritional content of soy formula, mothers also need to pay attention to the rules for its use. Give soy formula to children according to the directions on the product packaging.
If your little one is allergic to cow’s milk and you want to give him soy formula, there’s nothing wrong with consulting your doctor first to find out the type and amount of soy formula that needs to be given to them.