The ideal source of nutrition for babies is the mother’s milk. Should this not be available, or the baby be intolerant to it, the common second choice normally advised is cow or goat milk-based infant formula.
However, should the baby be intolerant to the lactose or any other constituent in dairy products, soya proteins can offer a primary source of nutrition the baby may be able to accept.
EFSA in their review on the essential composition of infant and follow-on formulae (http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/3760) stated that cow’s milk, goat’s milk and isolated soy protein are safe and suitable protein sources for use in infant and follow-on formulae based on intact protein.
For soya-based baby foods soya protein isolates are used as the protein source since virtually all the fibre present in the soya bean has been removed during the manufacturing process, leaving a virtually pure source of very high quality, nutritious protein (see PDCAAS). The soya protein isolates recommended for this application are typically partially hydrolysed to ensure they have a low viscosity, enabling them to pass through the sterilised teat of a feeding bottle with ease.
Soya protein isolates can easily be blended with the other nutritional components necessary to ensure the growth and general well-being of the baby. A 2001 World Health Organization (WHO) report found that infant formula prepared in accordance with applicable Codex Alimentarius standards was a safe complementary food and asuitable breast milk substitute. As the baby progresses, soya protein isolates can also form the basis of follow-on formula and be a major source of high quality protein until weaning has been completed.