Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hypoallergenic Formula vs Breastfeeding on a Dairy/Soy-Free Diet

Breast vs Bottle...the never-ending discussion that tends to ruffle all kinds of feathers...

I, for one, consider myself to be very open-minded about whatever decision a mother makes for herself and her baby. I am "team boob", but I totally get that some mothers have a lot of difficulty with nursing, and formula is the only thing that brings rest and peace to their homes. I started off nursing and ended up bottle-feeding, so I am in no place to judge. However I do feel quite proud of myself that I stuck to nursing as long as I possibly could...I went back to work when my son was 10 months old, and he decided he preferred the bottle! So we forked out hundreds of dollars on that super expensive hypoallergenic formula...c'est la vie, I guess.

The reason I want to touch on this topic is because for a mother of a dairy/soy-free baby, the choice between breast or bottle is not so simple. It involves figuring out which option is the safest and healthiest for your baby while working for your bank account. For the first 6 months of my son's life, formula was absolutely not an option. The amino-acid based kind was just too expensive, and the over-the-counter kind still gave him exclusive breastfeeding was the only option at that time, and I made darn sure it worked!

Here is the scoop on hypoallergenic formula:

Hydrolyzed Formula: These formulas have broken-down milk proteins (previously "digested" I guess is the best way to describe it). They are great for babies with milk/soy allergies as long as the allergy is not severe. The general rule that my allergist told me was that if the baby can't tolerate traces of dairy or soy proteins through your breastmilk, he likely won't be able to tolerate this type of formula.

Hydrolyzed Formulas are sold over-the-counter in Ontario. The brands we have here are Nutramigen (by Enfamil), and Alimentum (by Similac).

Amino-acid Based Formula: These formulas contain proteins in their simplest form. They are meant for those babies who are severely allergic to milk, soy, or other. You need a prescription to purchase this type of formula, and it is very expensive.

Some insurance companies may cover this kind of formula, but you may need to put them in touch with your doctor to confirm the severity of the allergy.

The brand that is commonly prescribed here is called Neocate.

There are partially hydrolyzed formulas out there (for example, Gentle-ease by Enfamil). Note that these are NOT hypoallergenic. They are made for babies with very sensitive tummies, but not for babies with milk/soy protein allergies.

For us, exclusive breastfeeding was the best option. I was happy to go on a dairy/soy free diet A) to save us money and B) to give my baby the best nutrition for him.

**This post is not sponsored, and I am in no way affiliated with any of the brands mentioned in this post**

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