The wonders of hydrolyzed formulas — and how they could help your baby.

Babies with milk protein allergy may require an extensively hydrolyzed formula. These formulas have cow's milk proteins that have been extensively broken down so they are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.

Within the world of hydrolyzed formulas, you may have noticed one or more of the following terms: partially hydrolyzed, extensively hydrolyzed, predigested, partially broken down or extensively broken down. While these descriptors sound quite different, they all describe similar types of formulas.

These tailored formulas aren't actually predigested, but hydrolyzed formulas are often referred to as being predigested because the milk protein has already been broken down into smaller proteins.

A quick way to understand how hydrolyzed formulas are different.

Start by thinking of the milk protein in formula as the size of an entire string of pearls.

Now picture breaking that string of pearls in five spots, giving you several smaller strands of pearls. At that point, you'd have the partially hydrolyzed protein found in partially hydrolyzed formulas, which are easy for many babies to digest. If those smaller strands were broken down yet again, you'd be left with the much smaller milk protein pieces found in an extensively hydrolyzed formula, which is hypoallergenic. It's kind of amazing, but when the protein gets broken down into pieces that small in an extensively hydrolyzed formula, the baby's system doesn't even detect the milk protein, and most times there's no allergic reaction.

Which hydrolyzed formula might be right for my baby?

A partially hydrolyzed formula:

  • Helps ease common behaviors of digestive discomfort such as fussiness, gas and crying
  • Has gentle protein
  • Has easy-to-digest proteins that are partially broken down
  • Provides complete nutrition.

While many babies on partially hydrolyzed formulas are following the suggestion of their pediatricians, other moms who have used such formulas successfully for one child simply start their new baby on a partially hydrolyzed formula see continued success. Enfamil NeuroPro™ Gentlease® is designed to reduce fussiness, gas and crying within 24 hours and offers the complete nutrition your baby needs to reach key milestones. If your baby has fussy feedings, ask the pediatrician if Gentlease might be a good choice.

An extensively hydrolyzed formula is:

  • Effective in managing cow's milk protein allergy for most babies
  • Made with very small protein parts that minimize the chances of the baby having an allergic reaction
  • Designed to get allergic babies back on track
  • Nutritionally complete

When an extensively hydrolyzed formula successfully manages a cow's milk protein allergy, babies generally remain on this type of formula, which still provides the complete nutrition they need to reach developmental milestones. Milk protein allergies are often outgrown by the time children reach school age and most go on to be able to digest dairy products without issue.

An extensively hydrolyzed formula like Nutramigen® can manage colic due to cow's milk allergy fast — often within 48 hours. The protein in this tailored formula has been helping babies feel better for over 70 years — and has numerous clinical trials behind it. Recent innovations such as Nutramigen® with Enflora LGG®* can help babies acquire tolerance fast — often by the age of one year.

If you think your baby may have cow's milk protein allergy it's important to talk to your baby's doctor right away.

*LGG is a registered trademark of Chr. Hansen A/S.

The Benefits of Hydrolyzed Formula

Studies show that infants with cow's milk allergy who are fed an extensively hydrolyzed formula throughout their first one to two years experience the following health benefits:

  • Tolerance of Cow's Milk Allergy:  After 12 months of consuming an extensively hydrolyzed formula, 81 percent of babies with cow’s milk allergy had built a tolerance to cow’s milk protein.1 Previous research suggested that children may not outgrow cow’s milk allergy until age five.
  • Respiratory Health
  • Gastrointestinal Health
  • Skin Health
  • Cognitive and Visual Development: DHA and ARA are fatty acids recognized for supporting brain and eye development in infants.6 DHA and ARA continue to be important in the diet beyond infancy.
  • Giving You Peace of Mind

When your baby has a food allergy such as cow’s milk allergy, you want to do everything you can to help him feel better. Colic caused by cow’s milk allergy, may stop within 48 hours after a switch to an extensively hydrolyzed formula. 

*LGG is a registered trademark of Valio LTD.

Watch The Inside Track Episode 3: Exploring Options