For breastfeeding infants, soy allergy may not be immediately evident off the bat. As a child starts trying out different food items, any allergies that might exist begin to surface and can be diagnosed effectively. Giving soy to a child is definitely recommended since it provides a huge nutritional serving, but soy allergy is also a condition that one needs to be aware of.
Is Soy Safe as a Baby Food?
Before giving soy to your baby, it is important to understand whether it is safe to do so.
- Derived from soybeans, soy contains numerous nutrients that are good for the child.
- Giving soy milk to a lactose intolerant child is a great substitution.
- Soy shouldn’t be given as a baby’s first food but can be introduced once he has other food items as well.
What Causes Soy Allergy in Babies?
Any allergy that a person suffers from is usually the reaction of the immune system of the body. The same condition exists for a soy allergy as well.
In this case, various proteins present in soy products may be misinterpreted by the body’s immune system as harmful substances. This causes a secretion of a specific kind of antibodies, called immunoglobulin E, or IgE. Therefore, any time when soy is ingested, these proteins are detected by the antibodies and the immune system reacts by sounding the danger alarm and releasing a flood of histamines in the bloodstream to combat the substances. These chemicals are the reason for allergic symptoms being visible in various forms, right from skin rashes to breathing problems, and many more.
At times, a food allergy can be delayed as well and trigger only when the allergen enters the intestine or the colon. The reaction, in this case, is not immediate but occurs after a few hours, and majorly results in stomach ache, diarrhoea and similar symptoms.
Symptoms of Soy Allergy in Infants
The signs of soy allergy in a baby are pretty evident. These need to be observed as early as possible in life so that the allergic condition can be diagnosed properly. Most of the symptoms are:
- Eyes swell and start itching and watering
- Reduction in blood pressure
- A feeling of being lightheaded
- Seeing red coloured spots
- A repeated occurrence of wheezing
- The existence of an oral allergy syndrome
- Repeated vomiting
- An anaphylactic attack
- Various issues of the gastric system
- The appearance of rhinitis due to the allergy
- An onset of asthma
- Presence of hives all over the body
- Dizziness and a feeling of nausea
How to Manage Allergy Reactions
Making use of a special formula for babies with milk and soy allergies can help avoid any untoward incidents. However, if your child does face a severe reaction, it needs to be managed effectively without panicking.
- It is always better to keep common anti-allergic medicines such as antihistamines or others to control any allergic attack.
- Talk to a doctor to get epinephrine and understand the right way to use it.
- Epinephrine injections are also available in a compact form that can be carried anywhere or even given in your child’s backpack.
- At times, using an auto-injecting epinephrine might be necessary to be used by other caretakers who may not be aware of the proper techniques to handle allergies.
What to Do if Baby Attends a Nursery
For children that suffer from an allergy and spend their time at a nursery, extra care needs to be taken by informing the staff about the allergy as well as providing a plan of action in case your baby has a reaction.
- Provide them with an emergency number to call upon should they spot any signs of a reaction.
- Give them your own contact number or alternate numbers of other family members to reach out to immediately.
- Keep an epinephrine injection with your child or the nursery and ask the staff to use it, if the child starts showing signs of swelling or breathing difficulties.
Safety Guidelines for When Your Baby is Diagnosed With Soy Allergy
When your baby is diagnosed with an allergy towards soy, there are ways to manage the reactions should they occur. However, prevention is a better alternative any time and there are a few guidelines you can adhere to, in order to keep your little one safe from certain foods.
- When purchasing food items from the supermarket, check the label for the ingredients. Avoid items that mention any soy derivative on it.
- Certain cuisines such as Asian foods make use of soy products liberally. Be extra careful when opting to go ahead with one.
- Many bakeries have started using soy in mixtures of cakes, chips and even roasted nuts. Double check for any presence as such.
- Keep away from sprouted soybean as well.
- Some spice collections that contain mixed elements do have the possibility of including soy as well.
- Be careful when choosing any kind of vegetable stock or canned food products like soup and others. They might contain soy in the ingredients.
- Certain variants of margarine make use of a soy oil in their preparation.
- Multiple dips, sauces, spreads, dressings for salads also make use of soy to accentuate their flavour.
- Nowadays, there are varieties of biscuits, bread, and other desserts that use soy in their preparation, too.
- Check with fast food joints and inquire if they make use of soy in any of their preservatives or cooking techniques, as well as items such as flour or cheese.
Figuring out any kind of dairy and soy intolerance in babies can be a messy affair because such conditions can be diagnosed only when they occur for the first time. Once the diagnosis is attained, it is quite easy to prevent any reactions from occurring again, as well as keep a contingency plan in place to treat its emergence.