We know that breast milk is always best for infants, but if you are formula feeding it can be worrying when your baby is excessively fussy and not adapting to your formula of choice. One of the key things we want to do with this blog is help you get access to information and prepare you for what you can expect if you suspect your baby has an Cow’s Milk Allergy…termed CMA by those fancy people who like to confuse us mommies.
I had a horribly colicky baby and while my child did not have a Cow’s Milk Allergy there was I time I thought “maybe”…sometimes fussiness and a very colicky baby could be a Cow’s Milk Allergy or maybe not. But if your baby has these signs the chances are he/she might have allergies: vomiting, skin rashes, wheezing, red or watery eyes or excessive coughing.
What is happening is that your baby could have a reaction to the proteins found in cow’s milk which are found in many formulas on the market today. There are two types of proteins in milk: casein which is the heavier protein and whey, which is the watery part when curd is removed. Your baby may be allergic to one or both of these proteins and it is always best to check with your Doctor if you suspect your baby has a milk allergy before switching to another formula.
So what should you be prepared for?
At first your Doctor will probably recommend a Hypo Allergenic formula (the product will normally put HA after the name…another nifty acronym for you to remember;) and will suggest it for two weeks to monitor his/her reaction. These formulas are called “partially hydrolyzed” and are typically used to prevent allergies especially where you have a history of allergies in the family. What hydrolyzed means is that the formula is created using a process that breaks down the proteins into smaller more digestible pieces? It’s kind of like watering down juice but without adding water…
If your baby is on a partially hydrolyzed formula and doesn’t settle your Doctor will probably do tests to see if your baby suffers from Cow’s Milk Protein Allergies, and if test are positive your doctor will recommend an “extensively hydrolyzed” formula – this means the proteins have been broken down even further. After that, if the allergy persists your Dr will probably recommend a free amino acid-based formula – these are for highly allergic babies and are 100% cow milk protein free.
So the process is like this…step 1: try a partially hydrolyzed one; step 2: extensively hydrolyzed; step 3: 100% cow milk protein free. But please don’t take this as a diagnosis as you will have to see your Doctor to confirm Cow’s Milk Allergy!
If your Doctor confirms a cow’s milk allergy, what products are there on our shelves?
We went out to investigate and found three formulas in-store recommended for when your baby has been diagnosed with a Cow’s milk allergy. These formulas are extensively hydrolyzed and they are: Allernova Smooth, Similac Alimentum and Pepticate.
The only product on the market that is 100% cow milk protein free is Neocate by Nutricia.
This is what the brands had to say…
Allernova Smooth is made by Novalac, the market leader in France in pharmacies. We called Novalac’s care line and got through first try. The expert explained Allernova Smooth is a casein-based formula that is lactose free. She explained the benefits of the product, “Allernova Smooth is a two in one formula for reflux as well – it is an extensively, hydrolyzed protein formula which contains specially treated corn starch therefore assisting with reflux.” So this means it is made for Cow’s Milk Allergy but has more benefits, also assisting babies with regurgitation or reflux as it is known, and for those babies that is lactose intolerant.
She mentioned that Allernova Smooth is a bit thicker in the bottle, so if you use it then you should buy a cross cut teat. For those who don’t know a cross cut teat has a cross cut instead of a single hole for baby to feed.
Also Allernova Smooth has no added Sucrose.
According to their website, Allernova is nutritionally complete (contains all vitamins, minerals, elements needed for your baby’s development).
Pepticate is made by Nutricia, a specialized healthcare division of the food company Danone. When we called their customer care line was “not working” however we got hold of the main number and were given the details for the person to contact. Unfortunately both times we called the number provided, it went to voice mail.
So we had to research through Google…
In a nutshell Pepticate is a whey-based formula, whereas Similac Alimentum and Allernova Smooth are casein-based. As far as we can tell neither protein is better than the other, it just depends which one your baby is allergic too. The product also says it contains nucleotides and prebiotics? According to the official journal of the American Academy of Paediatrics, “nucleotides are non-protein nitrogenous compounds found in high concentrations in breast milk.” More things I don’t understand. I guess we will have to wait until we get hold of them…
We also found out that Pepticate has added sucrose. But on the flipside its whey protein base makes it ideal for malabsorption and reflux. Malabsorption? Well that’s just a fancy way of saying when a baby can’t absorb the food properly.
Similac Alimentum is made by Abbot Nutrition a division of Abbott, the global, broad-based health care company. The Similac careline went through to either a dietician or the nurse, both of which went to voicemail. Upon calling a second time in the afternoon and unable to reach anyone, we went to investigate using Google again.
Basically Similac Alimentum is a casein-based formula and they say it is virtually lactose free – really this means it is extensively hydrolysed but don’t take that to mean it is lactose free. Their literature says they are supplemented with free amino acids and that their product starts reducing colic symptoms due to protein sensitivity within 24 hours in most infants. A little more understandable. They mention it is Gluten-free and corn-free.
Neocate – remember that is the one that is 100% cow milk protein free
Neocate is made by Nutricia and the big difference between this product and other baby formulas is that it is based on amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Neocate contains LCPs? Another acronym, basically this means Long Chain Polyunsatured fatty acids. According to their literature these are “vital for the healthy development of your baby’s brain, eyes and nervous system and closely match those found in breastmilk and meet international guidelines for LCPs in infant formula.”
The only real downside of Neocate according to mum’s on the web is that it is pricey.
So now you know more about the process and formulas for Cow’s milk allergy…feel free to ask us any burning questions you have or tell us your story.
Disclaimer: This post is based on personal experience and personal brand preference of the content author and has in no way been paid for or sponsored. BabyYumYum reserves the right to its opinions and fully supports the notion of promotion that breast is best in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) infant feeding guidelines http://www.who.int/topics/infant_nutrition/en/ Breast milk is the best food for infants. Good maternal nutrition is essential to prepare and maintain breastfeeding. If breastfeeding is not applied, an infant formula may be used according to health professionals’ advice. Preparation and storage of any infant formula should be performed as directed on the tin in order not to pose any health hazards.