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My daughter Lola is 6 months old and I am finally weaning her onto formula. I wish I could breastfeed her until she is ready for table food, but the harsh reality of life set in. I am a working mother, and pumping 5-6 times a day is too demanding in corporate America. At Lola’s 4 month check-up, I asked Lola’s PCP his recommendations on formula. Weeks prior, I remembered reading some crazy stories about the Similac recall and beetle contamination. I wanted to make sure that I was totally prepared for her switch from breast milk to formula. He advised me that all his children grew up on soy-based formula and that was a great alternative to breast milk. I took his word and went to target and purchased my first can of soy-based formula.  I felt like a great mother. I did my research (or what I felt was good research, but it was of course biased), checked with her doctor and got as much as I could. All signs of great parenting, right? WRONG!

My step-mother does a lot of research on her health and she is a big believer in Holistic health and healing. After giving her my normal update on Lola and explaining how I plan to gradually take Lola off breast milk and introduce her to soy formula, she immediately warned me of the side effects of soy milk. She told me that the hormones in the soy milk speeds up the process of puberty in women, and Lola could be producing pubic hairs as early as 3 years old. That was a huge red flag and a big NO-NO for me, so I decided to research soy formula further and boy-ol-boy was I in for a surprise!

I already knew that regular infant formula was NOT an option for Lola. I have already been schooled on the negative side effects of this type of infant formula. Non-soy formula sold in stores have been proven to contain pesticides and various neurotoxins. Neurotoxins are extremely very harmful to infants because they are so accessible to the human brain. According to the Infant Formula –The Canadian Study, published by Truth and Labeling Company, children who are formula fed exhibit more learning disabilities at school age, have more endocrine disorders such as obesity and have many reproductive disorders later on in their life. After reading a handful of studies which all state the same results, it was safe to say that I am NOT going to have her on regular formula.

I don’t want, or need to have my baby plagued with a slew of medical problems in adulthood. So, my next choice was soy based formula. Thanks to my step-mother, I could see that soy formula was not a good choice for me or Lola. Soy-based formula’s are said to contain crazy amounts of estrogen, and a baby’s body cannot handle such hormones. Estrogen is the main sex hormone in women and it promotes the development and maintenance of all female body characteristics. Estrogen is also the main component in oral contraceptives. So feeding a baby soy formula is equivalent to shoving birth control pills down your child’s throat.

So what happens when people take a large amounts of estrogen?  Well, they start the development charateristics…right?!?! That’s what studies are showing. Boys that are fed soy formula and introduced to large amounts of estrogen are starting to experience puberty late in their lives and girls experience the opposite effects. Scientist and physicians are noticing that girls who are fed soy formula experience puberty as young as 3 years old. That is just unacceptable!

Jim Rutz, who published “Soy is Making Kids ‘Gay'” on World Net Daily, went as far to assert that children with diets high in soy experienced:

  • Decreased size of the penis
  • Sexual confusion 
  • Homosexuality (through excess estrogen)
  • Increased phytoestrogen levels (by 20%)
  • Week thyroid —> producing heart problems —> producing excess fat —-> which causes obesity
  • Increased leukemia in children

I will not go as far to state that soy will make your child gay, but Rutz’ opinions do raise some concern. I am more concerned with the obesity and leukemia in children. First Lady Michelle Obama shares the same concerns as well. Obama has gone to great lengths to promote healthier lifestyles and created Let’s Move! to support American families.

Unfortunately the soy problem does not start and end with formula and children. Adults (most notable in women) have been affected by soy products as well. There’s been more and more cases of people having allergic reactions to soy, and a few fatal due to extreme allergies to soy. According to Aedin Cassidy, who conducted in-depth studies of women given isoflavone, and reporting women in the study experiencing infertility, menstrual problems and other reproductive disorders. So for all you ladies thinking about reproducing, make sure that you significantly drop soy from your diet.

Now be careful to not be fooled and make sure that your reading your labels properly. Food labeling is a tricky game and you may have soy in a product listed under different names.

Kayla T. Daniel, author of “The Whole Soy Story” recommends looking for soy alias’ such as:

  • HVP or Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • TVP or Textured vegetable protein 
  • MSG or Monosodium glutamate
Also look for the following terms:
  • Lecithin 
  • Vegetable oil 
  • Vegetable broth 
  • Boullion 
  • Natural flavor 
  • Mono-Diglyceride

All the terms referenced above MAY not come from soy, but Daniel suggest they are still likely to be associated with soy. So be CAUTIOUS!

So now I have moved on to organic formula. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breast-feeding until your child is 6 months of age. It is also recommend to offer Organic formula in combination with breast milk until your child is 2 years old. One of the biggest benefits of organic formula is that the milk is produced by cows that have not been fed with pesticide-sprayed feeds. Organic feed cows are not injected with growth hormones (which is mainly used for increased production), which is not the norm with regular cows milk.

However, do not be completely satisfied with just any organic formula. Although organic baby formula is said to be pesticide-free with all these great benefits, there are still major concerns. Before you start feeding your child organic formula, do your own due diligence and be sure to:

  • Check for  dehydroascorbic acid (DHA) and drachidonic acid (ARA) omega fatty acids levels (the issue is that these acids contain hexane, bleach and acids which are not good for babies of course)
  • Check the packaging of the formula to ensure that it is bisphenol-A (BPA) free (all baby products should be BPA free for that matter)
  • Check sugar levels (some say that organic formula is sweeter than other formula brands, even though the FDA has proved it to be completely safe)

Please refer to Organic Baby Resource for their review of 3 popular organic formula brands and those brands response to questions regarding toxic organic formula.

Please do your own research. I am not suggesting to completely eliminate soy from you or your child’s diet. I am just sharing my experiences and research relating to soy formula and soy foods. What I am saying is that this information is very alarming, and I want the best for my Lola and myself. I may not be able to completely eliminate soy from my diet completely, but I can do something to protect my daughter. I do not want her to start puberty at the tender age of 3 and I want her innocence to be protected as thoroughly as possible.

Any choice has an upside and a downside. There are positives and negatives with all types of baby formula, but we still have to make that choice and do what works best for our own family. If the positives outweigh the negatives and you feel comfortable with the decisions you have made, then who really cares?!?! Needless to say, after conducting my research, I will more than likely go back to pumping and breast-feeding exclusively. Too many choices with too many side effects with each choice.

For more information on the soy issue read the suggested links below:

The Whole Soy Story
Organic Food
New York Times
Soy Info Online
Secondary Sexual Characteristics and Menses in Young Girls Seen in Office Practice 

Again, I am a huge proponent of sharing experiences. If you have your own personal thoughts or experiences please share and GoodLooknOut!

-Marie Young

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