G.M. asks from Ashburn, VA on June 24, 2008
Should I Go Back to Regular Formula After Feeding Hypoallergenic
Anyone have experience with going back to the standard formula after being on a hypoallergenic formula for a while? My 3 month old daughter has been on Similac Alimentum (hypoallergenic formula) since pretty much birth (probably 2 or 3 weeks old). It was recommended by her doctor since she was so irritable and eventually was diagnosed with GER (acid reflux); basically, iin order to eliminate all cuprits of what could be bothering her ; she has reflux pretty bad but with medication, is doing much better these days. Anyways, since she's doing better, and now that's she's 3 months old, I'm wondering if her system could handle the regular formula (vs. the hypoallergenic). She wasn't diagnosed as having an allergy but probably an intolerance (which how do they really know anyways, especially with a baby who has acid reflux). I mean, reflux has nothing to do with what type of formula, right? Milk protein allergy and acid reflux are 2 totally separate conditions and since she seems to be doing better, I'm wondering if she ever really needed to be on hypoallergenic and regardless, whether she can handle the regular formula now that she's older. Any feedback would be great - thanks!
D.S. answers from Allentown on June 25, 2008
What does the Doctor say?
Here are some web sites about GERD:
Hope this helps. Good luck. D.
A.S. answers from Washington DC on June 25, 2008
My son had reflux as well and we had him on Enfamil Gentlease and he did great with it. The proteins are broken down more in that formula so it empties from their tummies faster which is great because that is one of the problems in reflux babies that causes them to spit up more.
H.D. answers from Washington DC on June 25, 2008
Hi, Jeannie. I would not make any changes in formula without consulting my pediatrician. Even if you do make a change, you can't just switch from one to the other -- you have to do it gradually to allow her system to adjust.
J.B. answers from Washington DC on June 25, 2008
Hi there -
We went through the same thing with our son, now 5 months. He has bad reflux and takes Prevacid for it. He's also taken Alimentum almost exclusively since birth. I say almost, b/c several times I have tried to switch him to regular Similac, soy, or Nestle Good Start. Nothing besides Alimentum will work. Our pediatrician basically has said that it's all trial and error, but since he does so well on Alimentum we are sticking with it. She did tell us that kids with reflux seem to have much more sensitive stomachs, which is probably why he does so much better on the hypoallergenic formula. None of the others are hypoallergenic. The closest thing was the Good Start, but he still spit up a lot with it. With Alimentum he doesn't do that. One thing that definitely helped our son was getting some solids into him - particularly infant rice cereal - once he was old enough. We started the rice cereal at about 4 months old, putting it in every bottle - 1 tsp of cereal to every ounce of formula. I know it sounds like a lot, but it was recommended by a specialist we took him to for GERD. It worked extremely well until he got a sore throat and then refused to drink anything but straight formula. Now he eats the cereal w/ a spoon and takes baby food. I'd really recommend talking to your pediatrician before trying to switch formulas, and also considering starting your baby on rice cereal as early as possible. Hope this helps!
K.C. answers from Richmond on June 25, 2008
hi...my daughter went through the same reflux thing (and is still going through it). To answer one of your questions...the milk intolerance and the reflux are directly connected. Your daughter may still spit up, but without the dairy it will not necessarily burn. the reflux isn't the spitting up of milk/formula so much as the acid that comes with it. by reducing the acid (translation: by not feeding her milk products, if that's the trigger), you reduce the pain. I tried the hypoallergenic formula, and my daughter would NOT eat it. So, I went with soy formula (isomil by similac or prosobee by enfamil...we use Target's version, and it's perfect). the reflux isn't a problem, the cost is WAY better, and she likes it. I would ask your pediatrician, because she probably won't truly grow out of the dairy intolerance until she's 6 months to a year old, at the least. good luck!
M.C. answers from Washington DC on June 25, 2008
I would stick with the Alimentum if you can. I know it costs a lot, but your daughter has so much going on inside right now that she needs a constant, no irritant. She'll be able to start solids in another month or so, so the amount used will go down. I don't think there is a generic version of Alimentum, if there is, you could switch to that no problem. Also, if its a money issue, talk to your pediatrician. Many of them get 8oz can samples of the powder. They have to give it to someone or it just goes to waste, right? Ask if they get the samples and would give you some. My daughter couldn't handle reg. Enfamil, and the dr. gave me a few of the Enf. soy samples to try out. Worth a try.
K.F. answers from Washington DC on June 25, 2008
Go ahead & give it a try. If she reacts the way she was before being on the Allimentum, then go back to it. If she's fine, then continue with regular formula. I know how expensive the Allimentum can be.
My daughter didn't have reflux but was having some problems with regular formula versions so we used the Enfamil Gentlease starting at 2 months & then even switched to the Target version of Gentlease. With the Gentlease, the milk proteins are broken down for the baby. It was like she was a different child after the switch.
A.H. answers from Washington DC on June 24, 2008
You're right..acid reflux and a milk intolerance are 2 different things. Both of my kids have/had reflux and here's what I learned from our pediatrician who also specializes in gastrointestinial disorders at Hopkins.
There's a muscle in their esophagus called a sphincter that acts as like a flap. It opens when food goes down and shuts when there's nothing to go down. It's immature in babies up until 8 or 9 months and just kinda flops around willy nilly so the acid in their stomach comes back up (as spit up), it burns their throat. Hence the term "acid reflux". The medication that our kids have been on, Axid, just neutralizes the acid. It doesn't prevent the spit up from coming up. Others like Prevacid and Zantac do other things, but have different side effects in babies. Axid has none and is very safe.
The reflux DEFINITELY ties into the type of formula they're on. The partially broken down proteins are easier for them to process and the lactose content (or lack there of) is important. The less lactose, the less irritating it is to their stomach lining which keeps the acid from over-producing.
Three months is still pretty young to be switching formulas and I don't know that you want to find out the hard way that she can't tolerate another type. It can be pretty nasty...long nights, super cranky baby-which you've probably already experienced! My vote, and what our pediatrician recommended to us, was to keep them on the same formula for at least 6 months. I never took the chance with our first son. He was on the Gentlease until he didn't drink formula anymore...at 11 months.
M.A. answers from Washington DC on June 25, 2008
I would stick with your formula throughout to be on the safe side. You could try buying a small can of regular formula and give it a try and see if anything happens. I had to put both my boys on Gentlease for fussiness and tried taking them off when they got older and they went right back to gas pains. It's more expensive, but worth it. So, give it a try for a week and see what happens but if you see signs of pain or fussiness put her back on her special formula.