Hypoallergenic Baby Formula Buying Guide
Experts answer your biggest questions around hypoallergenic formula and weigh in on the best brands out there for your baby.
If your baby has difficulty processing standard formulaor sometimes even breastmilka milk protein allergy could be to blame. In those cases, a pediatrician may prescribe a hypoallergenic baby formula to help your little one get the nutrients they need. Some doctors may also recommend hypoallergenic formula for babies with a strong family history of allergies.
Excessive crying, gas, or trouble sleeping are clues that something’s wrong, while common symptoms of an allergy also include a runny nose, wheezing, eczema, vomiting, diarrhea, and extreme irritability. If you suspect your baby has allergies, talk to your doctor before switching to a hypoallergenic formula to confirm that’s actually the problem.
Food allergies are on the rise, but studies have shown that the prevalence of milk protein allergies in infants is still only 2-3 percent. In those rare instances, hypoallergenic formula may be the only thing an infant can digest, says New York-based registered dietitian Natalie Gillett.
“Hypoallergenic formulas are absolutely necessary for infants who cannot tolerate regular formula,” she says. “Without it, they will not properly absorb nutrients and will not grow.”
Which Is Better Nutramigen Or Alimentum
While both Similac Alimentum and Enfamil Nutramigen are effective options for hypoallergenic formulas when babies have allergies, gas, acid reflux or colic. However, if the baby does not respond well to the Nutramigen or it does not provide the growth needed, Similac Alimentum is an alternative option for babies.
Choosing The Right Hypoallergenic Baby Formula
Your pediatrician may be able to help you choose between extensively hydrolyzed formulas and amino acid-based hypoallergenic baby formulas based on your child’s symptoms.
Still, it may also be necessary to try a few different brands before finding one that works best for your baby, says maternal child health expert Crystal Karges of Crystal Karges Nutrition. “Thankfully, there are multiple options available on the market today. If you try one recommended by your doctor that your baby doesn’t seem to tolerate well, there are other brands that might work better,” she says.
Karges suggests asking your doctor for formula samples to see which brand your baby tolerates best. “Once you have found a brand that works well for your baby, you can feel more confident in purchasing a larger size.” She mentions Enfamil Nutramigen and Similac Expert Care Alimentum as two reliable hypoallergenic formula brands.
Howland favors two European brands, including HiPP HA Combiotik, which contains only hydrolyzed proteins to help prevent allergic reactions. “Plus it has all the same great benefits of the brand’s more traditional organic counterpart,” she says. She’s also a fan of Holle’s hypoallergenic formulas. “This goat formula is made with all organic and non-GMO ingredients,” Howland says.
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How Long Does It Take For Nutramigen To Work
The claims about how fast Nutramigen works comes straight from the company. They say it will reduce colic symptoms within 48 hours. They also say it can turn around allergies within 6 months so that your child can start consuming milk products again.
Reviews from consumers back up these claims. They say the reaction to the formula is fast, with less crying, better sleeping, and clear indications of pain relief happening quickly after switching their infants to this product.
Whats The Finest Dairy Free Method
Greatest Cows Milk System Options for 2020
- Holle Goat Primarily based Natural System.
- Dairy Free Soy System Gerber Good Begin Soy Non-GMO Toddler System.
- Dairy Free Soy System: Enfamil ProSobee Soy-Primarily based Toddler System.
- Similac Soy Isomil Toddler Lactose Free System.
- Kabrita Non-GMO Goat Milk Toddler System.
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Why Is Elecare More Expensive Than Nutramigen
The reason why EleCare is more expensive than Nutramigen is because it takes more effort to create amino acids rather than breaking down proteins into smaller parts. Nutramigen uses extensively hydrolyzed cows milk for its formula. EleCare is more expensive as it uses amino-acids and not hydrolyzed cows milk protein.
How To Tell If Your Baby Needs Special Formula
Babies with severe allergic reactions to food or milk proteins will display some of the following symptoms. If your baby does, talk to your pediatrician about whether changing formula might help.
- Extreme irritability or colic
In some cases, if you have an older child with severe food allergies or a severe family history of food allergies, your child’s pediatrician may recommend starting your baby on a hypoallergenic formula from the beginning. In general, however, most pediatricians recommend that all infants, but especially those at risk of allergy, be exclusively breastfed and only supplemented with hypoallergenic formula as necessary.
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Understanding Milk Protein Allergies In Infants
A milk protein allergy most often happens in babies who are fed cows milk formula. This occurs when the bodys immune system perceives cows milk protein as harmful and causes an allergic response.
According to a 2016 study published in the British Journal of General Practice, up to 7 percent of babies who are formula-fed are allergic to cows milk protein.
In some cases, though, it can occur in breastfed babies. According to the same 2016 study, up to 1 percent of babies who are breastfed develop an allergy to cows milk.
Certain genes have been identified in milk protein allergy. Up to 8 out of 10 children will outgrow the allergy by age 16 years, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
What Is The Difference Between Nutramigen Vs Elecare
Nutramigen is made from cows milk. Elecare is made from synthesized amino acids and sometimes plant sugars. Nutramigen is an extensively hydrolyzed formula which means that its protein source is derived from cows milk and broken down. Elecare is an elemental formula which means that the formula is made of amino acids. Both are hypoallergenic but Elecare is is given to babies who are allergic to extensively hydrolyzed formulas like Nutramigen.
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Potential Problems With Nutramigen
Likely problems you may encounter with trying this formula, or any new formula, would be babys taste or texture preferences or further stomach upset and discomfort.
To combat refusal:
- Make sure baby is hungry when you try Nutramigen for the first time
- Be confident and happy as you feed baby as they can pick up on your behavioral cues and concern or worry can cause baby to feel anxious about a new taste or texture
Some infants may take up to 3-5 days to get comfortable with new food and may experience stool changes while they transition.
What Is Hypoallergenic Baby Formula
Hypoallergenic formula is a type of baby formula that is made with iron. It is recommended by doctors for babies who find it difficult to digest cows milk formula.
The elemental formula or proteins in the hypoallergenic formula have been broken down into smaller forms making the formula suitable for babies with allergic reactions, colic, and reflux as a result of consuming a milk-based formula.
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What Does Nutramigen Do
Nutramigen® is easy-to-digest and reduces gas, crying, and disturbed sleep for a happier, better-rested baby and mom. Nutramigen is indicated for addressing cows milk allergy.
Nutramigen® with Enflora LGG® is the only formula with 3-in-1 allergy benefits published in clinical studies.
- Fast relief: Starts working as early as the first feeding and reduces crying within 48 hours*
- Fewer allergies: ~50% less chance of experiencing other allergies like asthma & eczema
- Fast return to cows milk: 1.8x more babies return to milk protein in as early as after 6 months of feeding
Most children outgrow cows milk allergy by 3-5 years of age. But with Nutramigen LGG®, almost 60% babies can digest cows milk without an allergic reaction in as early as after 6 months of feeding and 80% after a year, in time for regular milk.
Studies have shown infants with a food allergy are 2-4 x more likely to face other allergy challenges as they grow. In a 5-year follow-up study of infants with CMA, 75% exhibited other food allergies, 40% exhibited asthma, 21% exhibited eczema and 43% exhibited nasal/eye allergies.
My son had a food allergy as a baby and it took us over a year to figure that out. In the meantime, he was a fussy, colicky, miserable baby. He also wasnt able to tolerate routine infant formula. Nutramigen® is easy to digest and helps calm the colic due to cows milk allergy so you can both regain peace and feel better.
Biggest Issues: Elecare Vs Nutramigen
Surprisingly, both of these formulas tend to have the same problems. So instead of going over the problems twice, Ill just condense the cons into one section for both formulas.
The first and most obvious drawback of these sensitive formulas is that they are very pricey. The Nutramigen, at the time of this writing, was running between 50 and 60% higher per ounce than most regular formulas. The Elecare was running at closer to 230 to 240% higher per ounce. This is a ton of money! When you calculate how much more that can be on a monthly basis, you start to understand the possible impact on your budget.
I think the reason that the Elecare is more expensive is that it cant use a lot of cheaper ingredients, like the cows milk derivatives and soy ingredients. Nutramigen is a tiny bit cheaper because it can use those ingredients, but its still pricier than regular formula. Hopefully, insurance can help purchase these special formulas!
Now that weve covered price, lets talk about the biggest issue that people have with these formulas. Number one: the taste and smell of this formula is terrible. Now, if youve ever had the pleasure of tasting any type of formula at all, you know that it doesnt exactly taste great. However, this type of formula seems to be especially bad for that. There is no sweetness or creaminess to this like there is in some regular formula.
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Can A Baby Be Allergic To Alimentum Or Nutramigen
Note that both Alimentum and Nutramigen are formulated using cows milk proteins. The proteins have been broken down to be smaller making digestion easier and decreasing the likelihood of an allergic reaction. However, if your babys allergy is severe or if baby has other known allergies then avoiding milk protein-based formulas may be the best choice for you. Speak with your pediatrician about soy-based or amino acid formulas as an alternative.
There are shelves full of brands, ingredients, special uses, and preparations of baby formula. Deciding which one is best for your baby, especially if they have a milk protein sensitivity or allergy, can make the decision even more difficult. Understanding a bit about baby formulas, noting your babys symptoms and preferences, and a conversation with the pediatrician can make your decision easier and your baby happier!
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So Are The Us Formulas Really That Bad
Even if you just look at the sugar content and ignore the highly processed ingredients, yes. Look at the ingredients from some of the most popular brands and youll see that over 50% of the ingredients are literally just sugar. Thats just like spoon feeding your infant table sugar! Its ridiculous. And the two options without a high amount of sugar have carrageenan added.
- Alimentum®: Corn Maltodextrin , Casein Hydrolysate , Sugar , High Oleic Safflower Oil , Medium-Chain Triglycerides , Soy Oil .
- Neocate®: Corn Syrup Solids , Refined Vegetable Oil , High Oleic Sunflower Oil , Sunflower Oil , Canola Oil ), Fructooligosaccharides , Inulin
- Nutramigen®: Corn Syrup Solids , Vegetable Oil , Casein Hydrolysate *, Modified Corn Starch
As for where to purchase these formulas, Im in personal contact with the owners of all of these companies: MyOrganicCompany, Bottles and Burps, Organic Formula Shop, Organics Best, and Organic Baby Food, and I feel comfortable recommending them to you as options!
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Alimentum Vs Nutramigen: Which Is Better In Tastes And Quality
In taste, they both taste awful there is a chance your baby may reject the formulas or accept them. They may likely refuse both formulas if very young because of being accustomed to breastmilk.
The qualities of these products are not in doubt. they are both good for babies with severe or mild allergies, reflux, and protein intolerance. They are ideal for babies with cows milk allergies and other symptoms.
How Does Extensively Hydrolyzed Formula Work For A Baby With Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy
Most infant formulas are cow’s milk based. The cow’s milk protein in our hypoallergenic formula, however, has been extensively broken down so the body doesn’t recognize it as a whole protein therefore, it is much less likely to trigger an allergic response. At least 90% of babies with cow’s milk protein allergy fed our hypoallergenic baby formula should not react to the extensively broken down protein.
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Breast Milk Is Beneficial
Breast milk provides optimal nutrition for an infant. Even babies with food allergies can benefit from breast milk. Very rarely, the food proteins pass through the breast milk and can cause symptoms in an infant or toddler. If this happens, the doctor may recommend the lactating mother avoid eating the foods their child is allergic to . Many women can continue to breastfeed if they remove the foods that trigger their childs symptoms from their own diets. It is important to make sure you eat a healthy variety of foods. Seeing a registered dietitian can be helpful to plan how to replace nutrition that may be lost from avoiding specific foods.If the child doesnt have food allergy symptoms, the lactating mother doesnt need to remove the foods from their diet.
Treating A Milk Allergy
If your infant has a milk allergy and you are breastfeeding, its important to restrict the amount of dairy products that you ingest because the milk protein thats causing the allergic reaction can cross into your breast milk. You may want to talk to your doctor or a dietician about finding alternative sources of calcium and other vital nutrients to replace what you were getting from dairy products.
Since 2006, all food makers have been required to clearly state on package labels whether the foods contain milk or milk-based products, indicating this in or next to the ingredient list on the packaging.
If youre formula feeding, your doctor may advise you to switch to a soy protein-based formula. If your infant cant tolerate soy, the doctor may have you switch to a hypoallergenic formula, in which the proteins are broken down into particles so that the formula is less likely to trigger an allergic reaction.
Two major types of hypoallergenic formulas are available:
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Help From A Registered Dietitian
Although these formulas are suggested in children at least the first year, an RD can help to devise a nutritionally sound diet in children over one year with sufficient food intake and commercially available plant-based foods.
Medical Review: September 2020 by Carina Venter, PhD, RD, and Michael Pistiner, MD, MMSc
Everything You Need To Know About Nutramigen
May 1, 2021 By Parent Guide Team
Nutramigen may be the best choice for your infant. It really depends on what your baby needs in a formula.
Feeding your child should be easy, but some babies have health issues that make it a challenge. Nutramigen is a special formula that could help if your newborn suffers from colic or lactose issues.
However, before deciding, you should educate yourself about what this formula is, what makes it different, and how it works. That can help you to determine if it may be the right option and if you should buy it for your baby.
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The Difference Between Nutramigen And Alimentum
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It is estimated that almost 10 percent of all babies have some form of food sensitivity or allergy that requires them to eat special formula. If you are trying to decide the difference between Enfamils Nutramigen and Similacs Alimentum then you are in the right place!
Enfamils Nutramigen is a better formula than Similacs Alimentum based on ingredients, cost, features, availability, and parent reviews. Nutramigen is nutritionally complete with Omega 3 DHA and ARA, and LGG probiotics while being lactose and sucrose-free. It also promises to help babies tolerate milk more easily as they grow up.
To better understand which formula is going to work better for your baby, your budget, and your personal preferences, well take a look at how each one addresses the needs of babies with milk protein sensitivities and how their ingredient list affects growth, development, and overall health.