What do experts say about cow milk allergy?
Expert bodies of allergies state that for infants with a family history of at least one first-degree relative with cow milk allergy, breastfeeding and avoidance of solid food and cow milk for at least four to six months is the most efficient preventative regimen.
Breast Milk is best
Breast milk provides optimum nutrition for an infant. Even babies with food allergies can benefit from breast milk but the mother may need some dietary restrictions, also known as an "elimination diet." Many women can continue to breastfeed if they remove allergens from their diets.
Note that even if a baby is breastfeeding it does not guarantee that they will not develop cow milk allergy. According to pediatric specialists, up to 1.5% of all breastfed infants will develop cow’s milk allergy. In these cases, the mother should also follow a particular cow's milk-free diet.
Formula Options for Infants with cow milk allergy
If breastfeeding is not an option, what formula should you introduce to your baby for feed? Here are different types of formula available to your child, however, ensure you discuss this with your child’s health care provider.
- Extensively-Hydrolyzed Formulas
Why extensively hydrolyzed formulae?
Hydrolyzed formulae contain cow milk in which the milk proteins and lactose have been broken down and are easier to digest.
Extensively hydrolyzed formulas are hypoallergenic. They offer complete nutrition for infants who cannot digest intact cow milk protein. They also help infants who are intolerant or allergic to intact cow milk protein. These formulas break casein (cow's milk protein) into pieces enabling the child’s body not to recognize the pieces of protein as an allergen. These formulas are also useful in some cases of malabsorption.
The extensively hydrolyzed proteins are mainly made up of free amino acids and short peptides and are regarded by many as being closer to breast milk. Discuss with your Health care provider and read labels carefully to identify these formulas.
- Amino Acid-Based Formulae
Amino acid-based formulas offer complete nutrition for infants. These formulas are for infants who are unable to tolerate extensively-hydrolyzed formulas. Amino acid-based formulas are also known as “elemental” formulas.
It’s important to use only extensively hydrolyzed formulae or amino acids formulae because they are proven to be safe and to contain hypoallergens. Infants who have the cow’s milk allergy are advised to avoid the partially hydrolyzed formulae because they have an unwanted frequency of adversity which at times brings along severe reaction associated with their ingestion. However consult your health care provider to advice on the most suitable feed for your child.