Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Baby

Font Size

Choosing a Specialty Formula

Most infant formulas are made from modified cow's milk. Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are added to make them as close to breast milk as possible, and to give babies the healthiest possible start in life.

But there are some babies who just can't tolerate some of the ingredients in cow's milk. Or, they may have a medical condition that requires different nutrition than a regular formula can offer.

If your baby can't eat regular formula, there are other options created for babies with special nutritional needs. Before you switch formulas, check with your pediatrician. The doctor can help you find the product that's best for your baby.

Soy Formula

Soy formulas contain soy protein along with:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Amino acids
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

They're an option for babies who:

  • Are lactose-intolerant -- meaning their bodies can't break down a sugar called lactose in cow's milk
  • Have galactosemia -- a disorder that keeps them from breaking down a sugar called galactose in milk
  • Are allergic to cow's milk (however, about half of babies who are allergic to cow’s milk are also allergic to soy)

Although some parents try soy formula to ease their baby's tummy problems, there is no evidence it can help with issues like colic or a stomach bug.

Hydrolyzed Formula

A small number of babies are allergic to cow's milk or soy protein. If they drink cow's milk, they will have symptoms such as:

These babies need special predigested formulas -- also called hydrolyzed or hypoallergenic formulas. The milk proteins in these formulas have already been broken down so baby doesn't have an allergic reaction to them.

Partially Hydrolyzed Formula

Partially hydrolyzed formulas contain proteins that have been partly broken down to make them easier for babies to digest. They are sometimes recommended to prevent allergies in babies who are at high risk because they have a lot of family members with allergies.

There's no evidence that partially hydrolyzed formula can prevent babies from getting allergies. But these formulas might offer some protection against the skin disease eczema.

Today on WebMD

mother on phone holding baby
When you should call 911.
parents and baby
Unexpected ways your life will change.
baby acne
What’s normal – and what’s not.
baby asleep on moms shoulder
Help your baby get the sleep he needs.

mother holding baby at night
mother with sick child
Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
Track Your Babys Vaccines
Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
Woman holding feet up to camera
Father kissing newborn baby
baby gear slideshow