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What about soya and other milks?

Children with CMA are more likely to develop allergic conditions to a variety of other milk proteins, including milks from other mammals as well as soya milk.

Soya milk

Before validated formulas based on amino acids or hydrolysed proteins became widely available, soya formula was the only dietetic product one could fall back on for feeding infants with CMA. Soya protein based infant formulas contain soya protein isolates, derived from soya flour, and a mixture of carbohydrates in the form of sucrose and corn syrup. Both the American Academy of Paediatrics and the UK’s Chief Medical Officer do not recommend soya products for infants under the age of 6 months. Here are some of the reasons why soya milk is not a good alternative for your child:

  • Up to 50% of children with CMA are also allergic to soya protein.
  • Soya protein has a lower biological value than breast or cow’s milk protein which could slow down your baby’s growth or weight performance.
  • The phytooestrogens in soya milk are suspected to have a female hormone-like effect on your child’s body.

Other milks

In some countries, milk from other mammals such as goats, sheep, buffalos and mares have traditionally been used for feeding infants with CMA. This is not recommended by external bodies like the World’s Health Organisation, as these milks don’t provide all the  vitamins and minerals (especially folic acid and vitamins B6, B12, C and D) your baby needs and are not tolerated by all cow’s milk allergic infants. Allergy prevention formulas are not suited for the dietary management of CMA.

Cereal milks would be another option, but also can lack necessary nutrients your baby needs such as protein, calcium, iron, and some vitamins if not adapted.

Check with your child’s doctor before feeding your child any of the above to make sure it tolerates soya and other mammals’ milks!

British Dietetic Association. February 2004.
CMO’s update 37.Department of Health, UK. January 2004.
Department of Health/Food Standards Agency. Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals inFood, Consumer Products and the Environment. September 2003.