Transition to Milk from Soy Formula.

Updated on February 07, 2012
J.J. asks from Milwaukee, WI
17 answers

My son is just about 12months old and has been on soy formula since 1month old. He did not tollerate milk based formula. He would have horrible gas pains and constipation. Once he started soy formula that went away.

One day at daycare they gave him yogurt and he had horrible diarrhea for hours after he ate it. The doctor advised us to stay away from all dairy due to he was probably lactose intollerant. I have noticed at times he comes home from daycare and he has eczema patches on his face and chin and his nose will be very runny. I put cream on it at home and in the morning its generally gone so I wonder if they are using some dairy in what they are cooking and hes reacting to it. So now im wondering if he has a milk allergy or is he just lactose intollerant?

We want to start the transition off of formula but dont know if we should try regular cows milk, soy milk, or lactaid milk. he has his 12month checlk up in 2 weeks but wanted to see if anyone else has had this and what worked for them? Im leaning towrads lactaid but not sure. I also wont to knwo how to transition him to the milk from formula?

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answers from Houston on

If it were me I would switch to unsweetened vanilla almond or cocunut milk. I would not want my son drinking soy milk. I would start gradually reducing the formula until he is on just on the almond milk.



answers from Portland on

We had the same question with my daughter, and we actually used goat milk for a while, and then lactaid. Now,she is 27 months and has outgrown it so we use regular cow milk. If he is having reactions like that then they may be using dairy in don't try cow milk he isn't ready yet! Trader Joes carries a good (meaning less stinky) goat milk for a good price.

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answers from Detroit on

Hi J.---I would just stay away from dairy all together. Please visit and to learn more. I also have access to reports on studies about the dangers of cows milk to humans.

As many have discovered, most humans lack the enzymes necessary to digest lactose. Additionally, the proteins in cows milk increase the risks of type 1 diabetes, and certain types of cancers, specifically prostate in men. Skim milk increases the risk of prostate cancer indicating it is the proteins that are problematic as well as the saturated fat in whole milk for cardiovascular health. Cows milk is highly allegenic, contributing to eczema and post-nasal drip.

Some people do have problems with soy but very few have true allergies. There are all kinds of plant milks: soy, almond, rice, oat and hemp, just to name some off the top of my head. A naturopath that I consult and work with recommends that water be the beverage of choice. Use the milks in cooking and in cereals. I prefer almond as is has fewer carbs than does rice milk. So, for a child, I think rice milk would be a good option.

Don't worry about calcium as it is poorly absorbed from diary anyway. A better source is from green leafy veggies such as broccoli, kale and bok choy as well as sesame seeds. Just google plant based sources of calcium and you'll get a great list. I think many legumes have good calcium as well. Calcium absorption also greatly depends on adequate consumption of other nutrients such as vitamin D (best gotten from sun), magnesium, boron and others. Bottom a varied diet with lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans/legumes, nuts and seeds and you should get the variety of nutrients needed for good health. Do not depend on vitamins. Research shows that they often do more harm than good.

I know that this seems contrary to what most health care professionals will tell you, but it simply is a matter of them not knowing any better. Not to get into too much detail, but much of how this country is run depends on money and big business wields great power over our decision makers, even the USDA, which is a govt entity originally set up to promote agriculture, not as a health advisory board.

Feel free to contact me and I can share those documents with you. It is my honor to help others learn how to optimize their health. Good luck, be well. D.

And soy is perfectly find for boys and men. They live on it in the far east. In fact, regular consumption of soy helps to PREVENT breast cancer and it's recurrence. The negative info on soy is from a group that does not base their advice on long-term research. I can provide detailed info on that as well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Eau Claire on

My son had exactly the same symptoms. Definitely stay with Soy milk and tell the daycare he is allergic to all milk products. You may need to work with them on the menu and bring in substitute meals for when they are cooking with it depending on the daycare. You can transition from formula to the soy milk in the exact same way you would with milk. Start with 3/4 formula to 1/4 soy milk then after a week or two depending on how well he is getting used to it move up to 1/2 & 1/2 for a while and then 1/4 & 3/4 for a while until you are at complete soy milk. You may need to give him more time on each stage than you would need to with milk and you absolutely need to train all people around him not to make any comments about the soy milk. It smells different than milk and when my son was getting used to it my older step children made a big deal about the smell so I had trouble getting my son to drink it for a few days. Once everyone stopped making all comments and ignored that he was having anything different there was no problems. Eventually he grew out of his allergic reaction and was able to have milk in cooking and then by the time he went to school he was fine with drinking milk. The eczema also deminished once we cut out all milk but we had to pay close attention to his skin in the colder months. He is 8 now and have noticed issues when he drinks too much milk so he only has a few glasses a day and he hasn't had a problem with eczema in over a year. It may take a bit more work to find or alter recipes so they don't contain milk but it is worth it. It also will encourage healthier "from scratch" cooking versus box stuff. Read all labels because many have dairy added and you don't realize it. If you are diligent about keeping him from all dairy products you will have a happier, healthier child. Good Luck!



answers from Portland on

You already know he doesn't tolerate dairy products so why would you try to transition him to milk? Since he's tolerated soy I'd give him soy milk to drink.

If he has an allergy to milk protein lactaid milk is not going to work. You can have him tested to know for sure.

My granddaughter was allergic to milk protein and her mother transitioned her to rice milk. She did continue with the Nutrimigem
formula until she was closer to 18 mos.

I would wait to talk with the doctor before taking away the formula.

Allergy to soy is common. My granddaughter was allergic to soy. Could the reactions be to soy?



answers from Indianapolis on

If he is showing signs of eczema that is from an allergy. Most eczema that people have is from food allergies and the reason I know this is because we are dealing with this with my mom right now. So DO NOT give him any more diary and I would make sure to tell your daycare this and tell them he has an allergy, not that you think this because then they'll probably not listen to you.

There are soooo many different types of milk's out there, but if he has an allergy you need to also NOT give him the lactaid free milk because usually if it's a true milk allergy it's not the lactaid, it's the milk protein that they are actually allergic too. So, there is soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, etc, etc. Look at your grocery store or a local natural food store they will have this variety. Personally I use almond milk vanilla flavored and you can't tell the difference at all. My kids drank vanilla flavored soy, all of these now come in regular, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. So go with one of these and stay away from the other.



answers from Madison on

Given what you say--that your son has eczema on his face, chin, and nose some days when he comes home from daycare--I would suspect a dairy allergy to either the casein or whey protein and NOT lactose intolerance. And if he has an allergy to cow's milk, then the daycare (and you) shouldn't be using ANY cow milk products in anything you make. I know. We are a household who can't have cow's milk. I use other alternatives for milk, cheese, etc.

And I would think about weaning off soy altogether. Soy isn't the best thing to drink; a lot of endocrine distruptors. I know you have a boy and not a girl, but endocrine disruptors affect boys too. Things to use instead of cow's milk or soy: rice, almond, hazelnut, oatmeal, hemp, coconut, goat, sheep, palm oil.

And another thing to keep in mind: if your son has an actual dairy/cow milk allergy, he might also be intolerant to beef. I am allergic to the casein protein in cow milk, and I also have a severe intolerance to beef. I've also noticed that I have to watch when I eat buffalo/bison as well.

You can get a kit from a Naturopathic doctor or an Integration doctor to test for a cow dairy allergy. It is a mouth swab; you put a wad of cotton in your mouth for a few minutes, let it get full of saliva, then send it to a lab (cost is $49, UPS charge is paid for). The lab test looks for specific allergens for egg, cow dairy, soy, and gluten/gliadin. It is a legit lab test. Me, my husband, and my daughter have all had this test done. My husband and I were positive for soy, casein, and gluten/gliadin; my daughter was positive for gluten/gliadin. The test doesn't cost much, and it gives you the peace of mind of knowing.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Hmmm. I would have the doc write a prescription saying baby was allergic to milk products. Then give a copy of it to the director of the child care center.

In the State Child Care Regulations it states:

Pg. 29

"9m. A special diet based on a food allergy may be served upon the written request of the parent."

Page 37

"Provide a type of milk other than a type under subd. 4., or a milk substitute, only on the written direction of the child’s physician."

Page 54

"10. Written authorization from the child’s physician if the child must be provided with another type of milk or milk substitute."

In Oklahoma the reg's state that a child that has a known allergy and has a note from the doc must have a written notice in conspicuous places, such as over their crib or in the food preparation area. If they had a nut allergy it would be posted everywhere that someone who touches to food or touches that child would see it loud and clear. I can't seem to find anything like that is your state reg's.

I also think that if it's just a cow's milk thing that you are going to be battling this for some time. Everything has milk in it from Mac and Cheese to cream soup bases to grilled cheese sandwiches. You may be required to bring a gallon of Soy milk each week and they will throw it out at the end of the week no matter how much is left due to contamination but I would think about the food thing. In my child care center I used a half gallon of milk a day sometimes in making potatoes or mac and cheese, etc....

I would still charge you the same rate as other parents too, the food is such a minimal amount of the weekly charge if the center is on any food program where they get subsidized payments for buying healthy foods.



answers from Philadelphia on

I had my son on soy until I learned that the estrogen is not good for boys. Don't take my word for it ~ look it up. How about the wonderful Rice Dream or Almond Breeze? They seem harmless and are fortified as well. My daugter will only drink the Rice Dream that is refridgerated because it tastes totally different than the shelf box. As for the rest of my family, we now drink raw, organic, grass-fed cows milk. Again, if you have time, look up the facts. They will shock and amaze you.
PS. my daughter still has eczema because she is just so sensitive to food and environment and it runs in the family ~ especiall in the winter. I use good over the counter creams and if it gets really bad, I break down and put the steroidal cream on. It is a pest for sure.



answers from Milwaukee on

Ask his doctor to order a 'Food Panel'. They draw some blood and have it tested for specific antigens for some common food allergens including milk. I wish I had known the pediatrician could order this herself early on. We put off going to an allergist since I already knew my son was allergic to milk. Then I asked the pediatrician when he was 2 years old if she could order some test. It costed about $150? He is still strongly reactive to milk. Allergy to eggs was a surprise. He got healthier after I stopped the eggs. Good luck.


answers from Fort Collins on

My 19mo has a dairy intolerance/allergy. We discovered this when we tried to transition to whole milk at 12mo. He was exclusively BF and we never noticed an issue to anything I ate (or he ate) before drinking fluid had diarrhea for 6wks straight....bad! When we finally figured it out and removed all dairy from his diet (and mine, as he was still BFing, luckily), his BMs became normal and his horrible diaper rash disappeared. He also had slight eczema as an infant which, in retrospect, I attribute to dairy as well.

With the help of his peds and a nutritionist, we decided to transition him to coconut milk. It is high in good fats for his brain development. He also takes a DHA supplement daily.

Our drs suggested we remove all dairy from his diet for at least 6m to allow his intestines to repair themselves. Well, about 2-3m in, he got a hold of a half cob of corn with a bit of real butter on it...he had diarrhea for 3days!

After 6m of the dairy free diet, the ped suggested we try baked products with dairy (bread, bagels, waffles, etc). We have done so successfully for over a month now with no reaction! Studies are showing that introduction to dairy in this way can sometimes increase tolerance. We are still not comfortable introduing other dairy at this point, but know the dr wants to try again at 2yo. She suggests yogurt to start. Most kids DO outgrown an intolerance. If it is a true allergy, that is probably not the case. We haven't had him "officially" tested yet...we eill see if that is necessary at some point. So far we've managed without it.

ETA: If it is only a LACTOSE intolerance, he would be fine with Lactaid and other lactose-free products. If it is a DAIRY intolerance, he will react the same to regular milk and Lactaid because the milk protein is causing the reaction.

Good luck! It is something that takes getting used to but is not really a big deal once you get into it.



answers from Norfolk on

My daughter is allergic to dairy. If your son has been tolerating soy formula you likely won't have a problem switching to soy milk. My daughter was easy, we just started putting milk in her sippy cup instead of formula and she was good to go. There weren't any issues and she was just fine with the transition. I'd start there and see how he likes it.

I'd also take him to an allergist to be tested just in case. Eczema is often a sign of allergies and you'll want to find out what he's allergic to. The reaction he's having at day care would also warrant the visit. The allergist can also advise on the milk if the soy isn't working out.

P.S. Take note as to whether or not he can tolerate milk in foods that are extensively heated (baked goods etc...) Sometimes people, my daughter included, have no problem with those.



answers from Rapid City on

My granddaughter had a milk intolerence also. She was on soy formula and we switched her to soy milk when she was a year old. When she seemed to handle cheese and ice cream her mother figured she could be introduced into regular milk. She did this by putting it half soy milk and half regular milk to see if she could tolarate it. Soon she cut it down to 1/4th soy and 3/4ths regular milk then moved her to regular milk. She isn't a big milk drinker but drinks it with meals, although she perfers water.



answers from Milwaukee on

I recommend almond milk. Its delicious and much healthier than soy formula :) It also is generally enriched with much more calcium than other non-dairy milks. It sounds like your son is lactose intolerant rather than allergic. A true allergy would result in hives in addition to the other symptoms.

My son is allergic to dairy and my daughter is lactose intolerant. It's been interesting, but we've gotten really good at eating/cooking without dairy!



answers from Madison on

This sounds very much like my son. He is also going to be 12 months in a couple weeks. He was pretty fussy his first month, so my doctor recommended I cut out all dairy from my diet (I was nursing). So, for 7 months I eliminated ALL dairy. He was the happiest baby ever! Then, when I was done nursing I put him on soy formula. He has done great on it. Now that he is eating table foods it makes things a little more challenging. At first I didn't give him any dairy products. But the older he has gotten I have slowly introduced some foods w/ dairy. On and off he has had eczema on his body. I have talked w/ the doctor about this several times. She thinks that if it was a true allergy he would have strong reaction on his face. This has been very frustrating for me. Now that he has gotten more dairy products lately, I'm now noticing big increase in eczema on his arms, back, butt, legs. He has also had runny diapers the past couple of days. I'm feeling more confident that he has a dairy allergy. Although I also told myself that if he truly had an allergy, wouldn't he be fussy or bothered by it??? He is pretty happy most of the time. He does wake up more at night in the last few weeks, but I thought maybe it was from teething. I'm gonna experiment and cut out all dairy again and see what happens.
Sorry, I guess this isn't much help. But, just wanted to let you know that I can totally relate. I'm curious to hear what your doctor says at his 1 year check up. I'm going to push my doctor to make referral to an allergist bc I want to know once and for all. It's been a long year of questioning his symptoms, etc.
Good luck!



answers from Lake Charles on

We went through the same thing! We went from soy formula to soy milk and it's done amazing.. ours can at least have some yogurt and cheese and stuff like that but straight milk is a no-no.. we're hoping she grows out of it (I did) but until then soy milk it is!



answers from Dallas on

As for the transition, I did a 4-1 ratio to start with formula to milk and then slowly add more milk and reduce the formula. My daughter was on soy formula and we made the switch to cow's milk and she did fine. Most kids outgrow the allergy. I would have your son tested though to see if it's an allergy or an intolorance. My niece on the otherhand is 2 and has not outgrown her milk allergy yet and they use almond milk for her and she loves it.

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