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When Can Babies Have Soy? Feeding Baby Soy and Soy Allergies


Learn about the issues of feeding your baby soy and soy products such as tofu and edamame.

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Introducing Allergenic Foods

Recommendations for introducing commonly allergenic foods to baby are changing! A 2008 study, and many studies done after, indicated that waiting to introduce allergenic foods to your baby may not prevent any atopic (i.e. ezcema) disease(s). Many are now suggesting that babies may be introduced to any food, right from the start (for those with no known history of food allergies and/or gluten intolerance (celiac disease).

"Although solid foods should not be introduced before 4 to 6 months of age, there is no current convincing evidence that delaying their introduction beyond this period has a significant protective effect on the development of atopic disease regardless of whether infants are fed cow milk protein formula or human milk. This includes delaying the introduction of foods that are considered to be highly allergic, such as fish, eggs, and foods containing peanut protein." Click to view report


A recent interview with Dr. Greer in Medscape Pediatrics notes that "Now we can tell mothers: If you have exclusively breastfed for 4 months and your child is not at risk for allergy, you can introduce any food at 6 or 8 months or whatever."


Please be sure to discuss the introduction of potential allergenic foods with your pediatrician! updated January 2010





feeding your baby soy such as tofu and edamame

age to introduce chickenage to introduce chicken

When to feed your baby soy and soy products is one confusing matter. The advice of pediatricians is varied and ranges greatly.

Soy Allergies and your Baby - When Can Your Baby Have Soy Products such as Tofu and Edamame?

Soy is a very confusing food item when it comes to using it as a baby food. While we know that soy is a top allergen, we also know of conflicting information about the benefits and negatives of eating or drinking soy products.

One of the biggest sources of confusion is why soy is made into baby formula

If Soy is an allergen, why is there Infant Formula that is made out of Soy?

There are some infants who are formula fed that simply cannot tolerate the milk proteins and/or lactose found in commercial infant formulas. These infants may exhibit symptoms such as "colic", projectile vomiting after each bottle and/or an overall unwell and physical and emotional appearance. For these infants, the first alternative formula that most pediatricians prescribe is a soy based infant formula. Most infants who are put on a soy formula are able to tolerate the formula without any negative side-effects.

What is soy and when can baby eat soy??

Soy is from soybeans and many different soy products are made from the soybean. Soy beans have been cultivated for centuries by many cultures and are considered to be wonderful sources of protein, iron and calcium. Soy is not a good choice as a first food and might be best offered when baby has been eating a variety of foods.

What is types of foods are made with soy?

Soy products come in many different forms. Tofu, is probably the most recognized form of soy available in most grocery stores. Edamame, is another form of soy. Edamame "is a green vegetable more commonly known as a soybean, harvested at the peak of ripening right before it reaches the "hardening" time. The word Edamame means "Beans on Branches," and it grows in clusters on bushy branches." (edamame.com)

Purchase only Non-GMO and Organic Soy Products when ever possible!

Symptoms of Soy Allergy

As with any allergic reaction, a soy allergy occurs when the body mistakes soy as a harmful invader. Diagnosing a soy allergy in an infant is really hit or miss and that is why it is very important to follow the 4 Day Wait Rule when introducing your baby to new foods.  It is also important to not use Soy as a first food.

  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Asthma
  • Dermatitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • hives
  • Nausea
  • Oral allergy syndrome (symptoms appear around the mouth, lips and throat)
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing
  • Anaphylaxis

If you feel that your baby may have a soy allergy, you may want to consult your pediatrician and ask about the appropriateness of beginning an Allergy Elimination Diet. If a Mom is breastfeeding and eating soy products, Mom may also want to cut soy out of her diet for 3 weeks to help further determine if the suspect is indeed soy.

Finding Hidden Soy

If you find that your baby is indeed allergic to soy, you may want to take note of all the other names for soy products that are used as ingredients in many foods. Be sure to avoid giving your child foods that contain any of the following ingredients:

  • hydrolyzed soy protein
  • miso
  • shoyo sauce
  • soy flour
  • soy grits
  • soy nuts
  • soy milk
  • soy sprouts
  • soy protein concentrate
  • soy protein isolate
  • soy sauce
  • tempeh
  • textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • tofu

Other possible sources of soy or soy products:

  • flavorings
  • hydrolyzed plant protein
  • hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • natural flavoring
  • vegetable broth
  • vegetable gum
  • vegetable starch


More ways to avoid soy and soy products:


  • Contact the manufacture to identify the natural flavorings in foods. Ask if they use soy as a carrier protein for the natural flavoring.

  • Flavorings may be soy based.

  • Hydrolyzed plant and hydrolyzed vegetable protein in the US are likely to be soy.

  • Contact the company to identify vegetable broth, gums, and starches, as they have the potential to be soy.
    Source: Lucile Packard Children's Hospital - Soy Allergies



Resources & Learning More


Allergic Child.com- Soy

Food Allergy.org - Soy

Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America - Soy

Always consult with your pediatrician about introducing solid foods to your baby Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.


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