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Bottle Feeding
Formula Allergies
By Jennifer J. Francis, MPH, RD/LD

Jennifer FrancisQ. We believe our baby is allergic to regular and soybased formulas. What hypoallergenic formulas are out there and where can we get them? All I know about is nutramigen by enfamil. Our son doesn't like it.

A. The first thing to do is have your baby seen by a doctor. He can help you determine if an allergy is really the problem.

A little about allergies . . . All allergies are caused by proteins. Normally, our digestive tracts break proteins down into their very small basic parts (amino acids) before they are absorbed into the bloodstream. In an allergy, somehow the proteins are absorbed into the bloodstream in larger chains, instead of being broken down.

Hypoallergenic formulas are formulas in which the proteins have *already* been broken down into individual amino acids, so you don't have to worry about intact proteins being absorbed and causing problems.

Some brands of hypoallergenic formula are: Neocate, Pregestimil, and Alimentum. All of these are fairly expensive compared to "regular" formula. (and if you ask me, they SMELL terrible!) Your doctor will be able to recommend which is right for you. Since they are not in very great demand, it may be hard to find a pharmacy that carries them, but often if your pharmacy realizes that you are going to need it on a regular basis, they will make arrangements to have it.

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