Question of the week: I have put my baby on formula and now my paed says that my baby has a cow’s milk protein allergy. HUH???



There I was just thinking that a baby is born with an allergy towards cow’s milk. The incidence of food allergy is very low in breastfed infants compared with formula‑fed infants.  Once cow’s milk proteins are introduced to baby, in case of partial breast-feeding or exclusive formula feeding, the risk of a reaction to cow’s milk proteins increases.

Paediatric guidelines indicate that extensive hydrolysed formulas (Novalac Allernova Smooth, Pepticate, Similac Allimentum, Alfaré) should be the first dietary treatment option for babies reacting to cow’s milk protein.

What does extensively hydrolysed formula mean again???

These formulas are defined as cow’s milk-based formula treated with enzymes in order to break down most of the proteins that cause symptoms in allergic infants.  What this also means is that the protein content is broken down into smaller proteins, making it easier for baby to digest. Partially hydrolysed formulas are often recommended by health care professionals for infants who are allergy prone/have a family history of allergies, in order to prevent these allergies from occurring in the infant.  Extensively hydrolysed formulas are indicated for the treatment of a cow’s milk protein allergy.  However, if you ever do want to feed these formulas to your little one, it is best to do so on your healthcare professional’s advice.

However, the reality is that some infants and young children can still react to these formulas. For these babies and babies with severe cow’s milk allergy, amino acid based formulas should be used. On the South African market there are only 3 amino acid based formulas that we are aware of: Neocate (Nutricia), Neomino (Cipla) and Novalac Aminova (Pharmaco).

neocate neomino novalac aminova

The latter is the “new kid on the block” and its packaging was what caught my attention last week! My paed said that my husband will need to work just to pay for these type of formulas. Haha!

See post on innovative packaging here.

So since it is a new product on the market, we thought it would be useful to look into the composition of the formula and whether there is anything unique to it, apart from its packaging. The amino-acid profile of Novalac Aminova mimics breast-milk’s amino acid profile, allowing adequate proteins intakes, adapted to nutritional needs of infants and young children and supporting safe and normal growth. All amino acid based formulas should be and are,  lactose free in order not to aggravate digestive symptoms as well as to limit the risk of bringing tiny specks of proteins to the formula (which these sensitive babies can react to).  This particular formula is also free of any other common allergens such as soy and fish oil.  But what makes this product different to the other products on the market, is that it contains a unique thickener. This thickening agent has been clinically proven to improve babies digestive comfort by having an effective action on the thickening of something, with a really strange name, called gastric bolus (which manages reflux) and babies poo consistency. So not only are you managing the cause of the problem (allergy to cow’s milk protein), but also the common symptoms associated with a cow’s milk protein allergy!

I just love science!!!!!

Disclaimer: This post has not been sponsored or paid for and is based on personal brand preference and personal research. 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.


    • There is a difference to cow’s milk protein allergy and lactose intolerance. Some babies are allergic to the protein in cow’s milk and the baby will react. For mild sensitivity to cow’s milk protein, a partially hydrolysed formula will help, (HA) then if the baby has a moderate cow’s milk protein allergy it will need a extensively hydrolysed formulas like the Novalac Allernova Smooth or Alfare and for severe CMPA you will have to go to an amino acid based formula like your Novalac Aminova or Neocate.
      If a baby is lactose intolerant they don’t have the lactase enzyme to digest lactose it means that the baby won’t be able to digest lactose and has to be on a lactose free formula. Some babies are just a bit sensitive to lactose in the early stages, that is why there are formulas on the market for that, which have reduced lactose in them.

  1. Hi! We are also on Aminova with our 2 month old. She has milk protein allergy and also silent reflux (nexium). She fights at feeds though and we are struggling to find the right bottle/teat combo that doesnt make her choke, swallow to much wind and evetually resist a feed. What bottles/teats are you using?

    • The problem sometimes can be that you are using a formula that already has a thickener inside and then also using Nexium also for reflux – the two can sometimes work against each other. On recommendation on teats – unfortunately you will have to use an adjusted teat because, of the thickness of the formulas.

      • Hi! The Western Cape stores currently have no stock 😳

        Interesting observation, that thickened milk and nexium work against each other? How so? Please elaborate?

        Aminova is not as thick (we currently on it) and dr Browns nr 2 teat seems to do the trick 😊

        • The reflux is usually a symptom of cow’s milk protein allergy and that is the reason why you should be on an amino based formula like Aminova. The formula is supposed to solve the problem of the reflux. That is the reason why I said I don’t think a Nexium would be needed, but if it is working for you it is perfectly fine. I am happy you found a teat that works for your baby though 😊

    • Hi there, I came across your post and it sounds very much like my little one who is now 4months old.

      Have you come right with her feeds? My little one has a severe cows milk allergy which resulted in feeding aversion (fighting at feeds with her taking in little amounts of feed over 24hours resulting in slow weight gain).

      We settled on the Dr Brown’s bottles – wide neck and we have undergone feeding therapy which has helped her now over come her ‘Fear’ of feeding (the allergy made her associate pain with feeding and thus she refused to feed).

      Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any help or someone to talk to.

  2. Hi there my baby has been put on Novalac Allernova Smooth – but the formula is thick and slimy? We currently using nuk bottles medium teat. Any other suggestions?

    • Hey Rupa, apologies for the delayed response. The Novalac Allernova Smooth has an added thickener to help with reflux, thus the reason for the formula being a bit thicker. Any variable flow teat X/Y teat will work 🙂

    • Hey Yahya, apologies for the delayed response. Make sure that you follow the instructions to a T.
      Boil the water and let is cool before adding the exact amount of formula as instructed on the tine. One of the benefits of the Novalac Aminova is that it has a thickener inside that will assist with the reflux. The thickener might be the reason for the formula looking different to the regular standard formulas.

  3. Hi,

    Does this formula cause constipation? We have suspected cows milk allergy, one of the symptoms is constipation, I dont want to make it worse!


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