What is a “Super” Hypoallergenic Formula?

Recently, I’ve received a lot of questions regarding the different types of hypoallergenic formulas that are out there. Often, babies with milk protein allergies will try several formulas before finding one that actually works. Here’s a run-down of formulas for you.

Hydrolysate (Extensively Hydrolyzed) Formula: Nutramigen and Alimentum are hydrolysate formulas. Although these formulas are hypoallergenic, the protein in these formulas is only not fully broken down. Therefore, allergic reactions can still occur when on this formula.

Amino Acid-Based Formula: Around the office, this formula type has been called “super” hypoallergenic, meaning it is made from individual non-allergenic amino acids, making it easy for babies to digest and absorb. Neocate is an amino acid-based formula, and Neocate powdered products are the only ones manufactured in a 100% dairy protein-free environment.

Sometimes, babies with signs and symptoms of a cow milk allergy are given a hydrolysate formula first to see if it works. If the baby has food allergy symptoms that haven’t fully resolved after several weeks, the doctor then recommends switching to an amino acid-based formula. However, that can mean many weeks (that feel like an eternity!) of a sick, miserable, undernourished baby and exhausted, stressed out parents.

Depending on the signs and symptoms, sometimes the healthcare team will recommend an amino acid-based formula first. Doctors know this type of formula will provide the baby with relief fast if he or she has a milk protein allergy.

If the baby does well on Neocate – milk allergy signs and symptoms usually resolve within 3-14 days of starting Neocate – parents can try to transition the baby to a hydrolyzed formula. If Neocate doesn’t help the baby, the doctor knows that the signs and symptoms are not related to a milk protein allergy. If that happens, the medical team needs to do some more investigating to find out what’s going on.

If you have a baby recently diagnosed with milk protein allergy, talk to your doctor about the best approach. If you think your little one might have a milk protein allergy, but hasn’t been diagnosed yet, make an appointment with your doctor.

Any questions? Let me know!

– Nita

Published: 03/10/2009
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