There are times when no matter what moms have tried, their babies are unable to process breast milk or standard formula. When this happens, a hypoallergenic formula may be recommended by doctors so that babies can be healthy and thrive. This is because if babies are consistently sickened by their source of nutrition not only are they not going to gain the proper weight, they may even begin to reject the bottle shortly after feeding, according to BabyCenter.
This is due to babies feeling unwell when formula feeding. And for moms who find themselves with their babies in this position, here is everything there is to know about hypoallergenic formula.
According to Rainbow Pediatrics, between 2 and 15 percent of babies are unable to tolerate regular formula. When this happens, mothers are not able to purchase any brand of formula off the shelf. Instead, they have to look exclusively for hypoallergenic.
And because it is not always stocked as well as other types of formula are, it can be difficult to find. Not to mention costly, given that it can cost nearly three times as much as regular formula, according to VeryWell Family. Something that can be financially taxing for many families.
Here is everything you need to know about hypoallergenic formula.
What Hypoallergenic Formula Is
Hypoallergenic formula is formulated so that the protein in cow’s milk has been “predigested,” according to WebMD. This helps babies to digest the protein in the formula easier which puts less of a strain on their digestive systems.
While it would seem that all hypoallergenic formulas were created equally, this is not the case. Per the publication, some companies completely break down the protein in the formula. However, others do not. And for those, the labels will read that they are “hydrolyzed.”
If infants have a true allergy to the protein in cow’s milk, when the formula is only hydrolyzed, according to WebMD, there likely will still be an allergic reaction. As such, the severity of the allergy to cow’s milk protein will determine which hypoallergenic formula can be purchased.
Babies Who Need Hypoallergenic Formula
It can become clear very quickly when formula-fed babies have an intolerance or allergy to the cow’s milk protein found in formula based upon the physical reaction to consuming it. And when any of those symptoms arise, many are only resolved by switching to hypoallergenic formula.
According to DrugWatch, babies who react to the cow’s milk protein, be it in formula or breast milk, will have symptoms crop up within a week of the protein entering their bodies. As such, mothers who eat dairy or those who are giving their babies regular formula should pay close attention to how babies react shortly after they have eaten.
And if they are irritable, colicky, gassy, or the like, it is a good indication that a trip to the doctor needs to be made to determine if there is an allergy present or not.
Types Of Hypoallergenic Formula
Choosing hypoallergenic formulas is not as simple as just picking any off the shelf. Instead, recommendations from doctors will need to be made so that the proper hypoallergenic formula is chosen based on the allergies babies are presenting with.
According to VeryWell Health, there are three “main” types of hypoallergenic formulas. Those formulas include:
Partially hydrolyzed: Formulas that are partially hydrolyzed have larger molecules of the cow’s milk protein present in the formula. As such, highly allergic babies will still have reactions to this type of hypoallergenic formula.
Extensively hydrolyzed: When formulas are extensively hydrolyzed, the protein molecules are extensively broken down. As such, babies who have a cow’s milk allergy should be able to consume this type of hypoallergenic formula.
Free amino-acid: if babies still react to the extensively hydrolyzed formulas, free amino-acid-based formulas are what doctors will recommend. This is because there is no protein present in the formula. Just the “building blocks” for protein.
The more severe the allergy, the more expensive the formula becomes, according to the publication. That is why testing to determine just how bad the cow’s milk allergy is in babies is necessary so that parents and doctors alike know what they are dealing with.
What Hypoallergenic Formula Helps To Combat
When babies have allergic reactions to formula, there are some very clear signs that they are not digesting the cow’s milk protein properly, something hypoallergenic formulas help to combat.
According to Else.signs that babies need to switch formulas include:
- Becoming fussier than normal after eating
- Problems falling or staying asleep
- Acid reflux
- Extreme gassiness
- Respiratory problems
- Blood in stools
- Rash on different areas of the body
- Vomiting shortly after eating
- Failure to gain weight
If any of these symptoms happen in the days after babies try a new formula, their bodies will not tolerate it. And if several regular formulas have been tried with the same result, it may be time to switch to a hypoallergenic formula so that consuming it can begin to heal the body from the inside out.
Drawbacks To Hypoallergenic Formula
While there are significant positives about giving babies with allergies hypoallergenic formula, there are a couple of drawbacks that come along with it.
According to Gerberthe two main drawbacks to hypoallergenic formula include:
Smell and taste: By and large, baby formula does not smell fantastic. But, as a result of breaking down the proteins to make them more digestible to babies, hypoallergenic formula can smell a bit worse than other formulas.
Furthermore, the taste can be “bitter.” But because babies are still developing their sense of taste, per publication, the formula is not generally rejected.
Price: The price of hypoallergenic formulas is nearly three times as high as regular formulas as a result of the process of breaking down the proteins into something digestible for babies. This equates to nearly $ 300 per month or more, according to Moms Without Milk.
In some instances, per publication, insurance companies will pay for some or all of hypoallergenic formulas. As such, mothers may want to check with their insurance company to determine what their coverage entails.
Alternatives To Hypoallergenic Formula
If the hypoallergenic formula does not appear to be working to eliminate the allergic reactions or if it is simply too expensive for parents to pay for, there are alternatives to hypoallergenic formula.
According to Parents, those alternatives include:
Breastfeeding: If women are willing to remove dairy from their diets while breastfeeding, babies with cow allergies should not have an allergic reaction to breast milk.
Soy-based formula: The protein in soy-based formulas may work to keep allergic reactions at bay. However, per publication, some babies with cow’s milk allergies have still been found to react to soy. And this could make it unusable for those who are looking for an alternative to hypoallergenic formula.
Goat’s milk formula: Most babies with a cow’s milk allergy tolerate goat’s milk formula without issue.
Rice-based formula: Most babies with a cow’s milk allergy will be able to consume a rice-based formula without digestive problems.
It can be stressful finding nutrition for babies. But in the end, moms need to remember that fed is best. And whatever formula meets the criteria is the right one for their babies.
Source: BabyCenter, Rainbow Pediatrics, VeryWell Family, WebMD, DrugWatch, VeryWell Health, Else., Moms Without Milk, Gerber, Parents