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Hypoallergenic Infant Formula

January 24th, 2011

baby-formula-hypoallergenic.jpgWhile a mother’s breast milk is still considered to be the most complete nutrition for feeding a newborn baby, there are times when breastfeeding is not possible. Infants who show symptoms of protein allergy from cow’s milk may benefit from hypoallergenic infant formulas, also called hydrolyzed formulas. Some hypoallergenic infant formulas are available at your local grocery store, while others must be purchased by prescription only.

Uses of Hypoallergenic Infant Formula

Though the cost of hypoallergenic infant formula is usually about three times the cost of regular formula, there are instances where it is highly recommended for alleviating severe allergies and other symptoms. Infants who have a family history of allergies such as asthma, hay fever, skin allergies or food allergies also have a high risk of being allergic to infant formula. Babies who experience allergic reaction or intolerance to the proteins in regular formula have also shown to gain significant relief by being fed with hydrolyzed formulas.

Symptoms of Food and Formula Allergies

Often, the only symptom of allergic reaction or intolerance to normal formula is colic or extreme irritability. Babies may also show signs of diarrhea, wheezing, vomiting, rhinitis or eczema. More extreme symptoms may include malabsorption, esophagitis, poor circulation, hives, or anaphylaxis, which is a sudden and life-threatening allergic reaction causing cramping, abnormal breathing, dizziness, palpitations, cough or any combination of other severe symptoms. In most cases, many of these symptoms can be alleviated or prevented with the use of hypoallergenic formulas.

Types of Hypoallergenic Infant Formula

There are several different types of hypoallergenic infant formula, including partially hydrolyzed, extensively hydrolyzed, and free amino-acid based. Hydrolyzed refers to the breaking down of proteins into smaller molecules, commonly referred to as predigestion. For babies who still don’t respond well to hydrolyzed formulas, free amino-acid based formulas are recommended. These formulas do not contain any protein chains but instead rely on the basic amino acids which are the building blocks for creation of proteins. (As a note, the process of hydrolyzation is not to be confused with hydrogenation, used to create hydrogenated oils contained in many food products. These are completely separate processes.)

Breastfeeding and Formula

Since breastfeeding is such an important base for a newborn baby’s nutrition, it is recommended for mothers to continue to do so, if possible. For babies who are at risk of allergies, supplementing with hypoallergenic infant formulas may be a consideration. Elimination of certain allergens from the mother’s diet may also be beneficial. Peanuts and tree nuts are often associated with allergies. Cow’s milk, fish, and eggs may also be eliminated. Infants at risk should not be introduced to solid foods until at least 6 months of age. Delay experimenting with dairy products until 1 year, eggs until 2 years, and nuts, fish, and other foods that may cause an allergic reaction until 3 years of age.

This article was supplied by Jeannie Pitt from Constant Content.

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