Q. I breastfed my baby for the first 5 months. When I gave him milk-based formula, he developed a red rash on his cheeks. So, I switched to Enfamil's Prosobee. The pediatrician says it's fine. However, I heard about studies saying that soy formula is bad for babies because it contains hormones and has a high level of aluminium. I also read it is as if giving your baby 5 birth control pills a day!!! I am very concerned now. I need to know whether or not it is safe.
A. As long as your baby is a healthy, full term infant, soy based formula is safe for him. Of course, breastmilk is the best choice, and cow's milk based formulas are the next best choice, but for infants who do not breastfeed and who cannot tolerate cow's milk based formulas, soy based formulas are a safe and nutritious alternative.
The phytoestrogens in soy-based formula are currently being studied. It is the current belief that the receptors for estrogen in infants are not responsive to these phytoestrogens. The amount of aluminum in soy-based formulas is higher than that in breastmilk, but it has no toxic effects at the level present in formula, with possible exceptions in pre-term, low birth weight infants, and infants with kidney problems.
At age 12 months or so, babies begin to be ready to wean to regular cow's milk. Please be aware that many children outgrow milk allergies, so talk with your pediatrician at that time about introducing dairy back into your baby's diet.