How can you tell the difference between various types of formula if breastfeeding isn’t an option for your little one?
Nutrition questions and choosing the right feeding path can overwhelm even the most seasoned parent. As a family living with food allergies, you know better than most that food allergies quickly multiply the questions you encounter regarding food and nutrition.
Let’s take a look at the main types of infant formulas, and how they are different.
Cow Milk-based Formulas
Most infant formulas available in the grocery store aisle are cow milk based. That means they are made from cow milk which makes them not suitable for families dealing with cow milk allergies. Due to the protein found in milk. Milk protein is one of the most common food allergens, especially for infants. For children with cow milk allergy, cow milk protein triggers an allergic reaction..
When avoiding milk proteins and dairy foods, soy-based infant formulas are often thought of as an option. Soy formulas are based on soy instead of cow milk, and are primarily indicated for use in patients with lactose intolerance and galactosemia.
Experts now estimate that up to 50% of children with an allergy to cow milk are also allergic to soy protein. For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants with cow milk allergy should not be given soy-based formula. The same recommendation is made by global allergy experts.
In addition, a leading European pediatric society suggests that:
- Soy-based formulas are not recommended for the initial management of food allergy in infants
- Soy-based formulas should not be used in infants with food allergy during the first six months of life
European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) Recommendations
Hydrolyzed formulas are composed of milk proteins that are broken down, or hydrolyzed, into smaller pieces. They are also called hydrolysates. There are two broad categories of protein hydrolysates:
- Partially hydrolyzed formulas (pHF) – Partially hydrolyzed protein formulas use protein that’s been broken down into smaller parts (these are called peptides). These formulas are not considered hypoallergenic and not suitable for allergic children.
- Extensively hydrolyzed formulas (eHF) – The protein in extensively hydrolyzed formulas is further broken down than partially hydrolyzed formulas. eHFs may be considered hypoallergenic. However, studies have found that up to 10 to 40% of babies with cow milk allergy do not tolerate eHFs. If you’re concerned that your little one isn’t tolerating an extensively hydrolyzed formula, talk to your baby’s doctor about amino acid-based formula like Neocate.
Amino Acid-based Formulas
Neocate is an amino acid-based formula, sometimes referred to as an elemental formula. Amino acid-based formulas do not contain any intact protein or peptide chains and are made from the original building blocks of all proteins, called amino acids. Amino acids are the most basic source of protein, the easiest form to digest and absorb. Free amino acids do not trigger an allergic reaction by the body’s immune system. Neocate offers the widest range of amino acid-based nutritional products for different age groups and conditions.