hypoallergenic formula

Whether a formula is hypoallergenic - that is, will not cause symptoms of allergic reaction - is determined by the protein in the formula, not the sugar (carbohydrate). Misconceptions abound about what is and is not hypoallergenic. No formula is NON-allergenic; the specialty formulas just have degrees of lesser stimulation of the allergic response.

The hypoallergenic formulas include

  • Alimentum®
  • Nutramigen®
  • Pregestamil®
  • and a variety of more esoteric formulations not generally available outside of hospital pharmacies.

Formulas that are not hypoallergenic include
  • Similac®
  • Enfamil®
  • Goodstart®
  • Isomil®
  • ProSoBee®

One thing parents should not do is try to diagnose their child's maladies with regard to formula. Far more trouble is caused by uninformed formula switching than is cured. If you have a problem you think is related to your baby's formula, for goodness sake seek competent medical help. This is because in cases of true milk protein allergy, the gut may become hypersensitive, and allergy will develop to whatever you feed. This can leave an infant unable to tolerate any commonly available or reasonably priced formula. Talk to your doctor first. Of course, you can ordinarily switch without problems between formulas in the same family, i.e. cow milk to cow milk (e.g. Enfamil® to Similac®) or soy base to soy base (e.g. Isomil® to ProSoBee®).

Editor' note: It should be noted in passing that the major formula companies, Ross Laboratories/Abbot (Similac®) and Mead Johnson (Enfamil®) - reviled by many for supposedly being inimical to breastfeeding - have for years funded research, development, and licensing costs for special formulas used by only a few babies with rare digestive and metabolic disorders. These efforts were pure losses from a financial point of view, but somebody had to do it. These companies have supplied special cleft palate nipple aids as well at no cost to the parents. For their efforts on behalf of sick babies, pediatricians are generally grateful.

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