My 8 month old baby has just been diagnosed with allergies to both dairy and soya. How can I avoid these foods and still ensure that the diet is balanced?

admin | 10:16 am | November 12, 2012 | Pregnancy and Baby Feeding

ricemilkA lot of babies that are allergic to dairy are also allergic to soya, which makes feeding rather difficult, especially when it comes to milk feeds. An allergic child should be kept on breast milk for as long a possible. So if you are still breastfeeding, keep it up! Otherwise, dairy and soya free follow on formulas are available for children with multiple allergies. You could also try rice milk in the bottle or to mix with cereals.

Avoiding diary means avoiding all foods made from cow’s milk, like yogurt, cheese, butter, cream and milk itself. You’ll also need to read labels for words like casein or whey which also indicates that dairy is present in that food or product. One major concern with dairy and soya allergy is calcium deficiency (soya products are also a good calcium source). Baby can get his fix from rice milks enriched with calcium, breast milk, infant formulas, molasses (a type of syrup), green vegetables, almonds, sesame seeds and fish tinned with bones. Milk products are also rich in riboflavin, so include other good food sources include meat, chicken, cereals and green vegetables.

There are no deficiencies that will develop from avoiding soy, but it’s a fairly difficult allergen to stay away from, because it’s added as an ingredient in so many products. Its easy enough to avoid soy based products, which include tofu, soya beans, soya sauce, miso and tamari but certain breads, cereals, baby foods, cakes, biscuits, crackers, sauces and margarines can also contain soya. You will always be able to find soya free varieties of these foods, but you may need to visit a specialty store. Reading product labels is crucial. Look out for words like soya, vegetable gum, vegetable protein and lecithin, which may indicate that the product contains soya.

Most children grow out of their dairy and soya allergies by age 2 or 3, so you can try and re-introduce foods slowly then and check for reactions. For now, avoidance is the best defense.

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