Formula Intolerance-what Are the Symptoms?

Updated on January 24, 2008
A.B. asks from Fredericksburg, VA
7 answers

Is there a difference in symptoms between formula intolerance and food allergies? I have a 7 month old whom we started both formula and solid food at the same time and she has diarreah and a rash on her face, I tried backing out the peas, green beans, apples and squash she was eating to figure out if it's the formula, but I don't know what to feed her in the meantime...

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answers from Washington DC on

All 4 of my children had formula allergies, rather cows-milk allergies. Most formulas are milk-based, so I had to feed them hypoallergenic formulas, (not even soy) Alimentum and Nutrimagen - I prefer Alimentum. It is expensive, but you will definitely see a difference after only a few feedings. As far as the foods, if you just started feeding solids, you may want to go back to rice cereal and a little bananas. I've found that those are the most mild and non-reactive foods to start with. Hope this helps!



answers from Washington DC on

you introduced too many things at the same time. start from the beginning. each new food needs to be introduced alone (consumed with other things the baby has already had before) for two weeks. so if you're going to introduce formula she needs to be fed that for 2 weeks to see for allergies.
really, there's no other way around it as i can tell for you to know what is going on. sounds like allergies to me since i know formula intolerance for my daughter meant cramping and refusal to drink of the solids is causing it. just start from the beginning and see which one it is
good luck



answers from Washington DC on

Hi A.,
I typically tell my moms to introduce one food at a time. If there were no problems with the formula before you introduced solid food, the formula probably isn't the problem. Try introducing one food, one color group at a time. Allergies can occur at anytime, but if you start slowly, you're better able to find the offending food. The other thing is that if a child has a reaction like diarrhea now, it doesn't necessarily mean that they will always have that reaction.
From- Doctormommy- T. L



answers from Washington DC on

If your child has been on Breast Milk for the last 7 months, she may very well have an adverse reaction to Formula.

You may want to change the brand of Formula you are giving her. My children had terrible diarrhea and rashes when I used "Carnation GoodStart" However, they both did very well when I change to Enfamil Lipil with Iron. You can give your child a specialty formula if her Pediatrician reccomends it. For example, Enfamil has Gentlese, which is easier to digest. You can get Free Samples of Formula from these companies instead of having to spend a lot of money on something you may not continue using.

Your Pediatrician may have coupons or Free Samples to give you as well.

Solids: Introducing Formula and new foods at the same time, may be too much for her body to process all at once.

When you introduce new foods, you should only give her one item at a time and wait at least 4 days before giving her another new item. Start with Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, and then the darker veggies should come later. Spacing out new foods will give you the time her body needs to assimilate the item and it will make it easier to pin point what may have triggered the reaction.
Squash and Apples tend to be pretty mild foods to give your baby while she gets back on track. Many young children tend to have allergic reactions to "Peaches and Appricots" for some reason.

Your Pediatrician can give you a referal to a "Pediatric Allergy Specialist" they can run test on children and determine if a child has any type of allergies even before the child is exposed to the "Allergen" that triggers a reaction.

I am a licensed day care provider and I am trained by the USDA Food Program on Child Nutrition. Always consult your Pediatrician regarding what might be a food allergy. Most children outgrow food allergies by the age of two.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Go to and click on "Parents" and then click on "Health and Nutrition" there you may look up Free Handouts for Parents on Food and Nutrition.

You may also e-mail me at [email protected]



answers from Washington DC on

Hi A.- My 11 mo. old has had issues too. I had to stop nursing due to Gerd and I had to switch formulas on her. If I were you, I would unfortunately start over with just the formula and and a single food that you know she tolerates. then every 3 days introduce another food with the one that she tolerates. If no reaction, then it isn't the formula. My daughter has a milk protein sensitivity. She used to projectile vomit and have frequent green stools when she had regular similac. We switched her to the more expensive Alimentum hypoallergenic formula and her symptoms have gone away. She does have skin issues still---dry excema patches on face and legs after some of the dessert baby foods with milk and eggs(custards). Good luck, I know how frustrating it is to try to figure it all out with the food. Just go slow-- times have changed- don't worry about rushing different foods-the formula is like a back up of vitamins if she only tolerates one or two foods at her young age. Good luck and best wishes--



answers from Norfolk on

Those are all classic signs of allergic reaction. If you can go back to the breast for a bit until she clears up, that would be optimal before introducing things one at a time. You've made it this far with breastfeeding, why stop now? If you feel it's been too long but want to give breastfeeding another try, contact a lactation consultant. Most pediatricians have no clue when it comes to breastfeeding, except to say that it's better than formula. If your doctor can't give you any advise on what formula to use and you are not able to breastfeed at all, you should find another doctor.



answers from Richmond on

I would definitely go straight to your doctor about this.
They would have the best advice about intolerance/allergies.

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