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    Choosing a Specialty Formula

    Lactose-Free Formula

    Lactose-free formula is an option for babies who can't eat cow's-milk formula because they're lactose-intolerant. This is, however, pretty rare. Although this formula is made from cow's milk, the lactose has been removed.

    Babies who have been sick with diarrhea may also find lactose-free formula easier to digest. You can try this formula while your baby is getting over a stomach bug, and then switch back to regular formula once he feels better.

    Preterm Formula

    Babies who were born too early (before 37 weeks) need more nutrition to help them catch up on growth. Special preterm formulas have the extra protein, calories, calcium, and other nutrients these babies need.

    Anti-Reflux Formula

    In babies with reflux, the valve that keeps acid in the stomach hasn't developed enough. As a result, acids back up into the esophagus -- the tube that connects the throat with the stomach. Babies with reflux may:

    • Spit up
    • Act cranky
    • Have trouble eating

    Anti-reflux formulas are made especially for babies with reflux. They contain rice starch to thicken them and make them easier for babies to keep down. Sometimes this is not enough. If your baby is having reflux symptoms, be sure to speak with your doctor.

    Formulas for Babies With Special Health Needs

    Babies who are born with certain medical conditions have special dietary needs. Metabolic diseases like PKU (phenylketonuria) prevent the baby's body from breaking down proteins.

    Fatty acid diseases like MCAD (medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase) make it harder for the baby to break down fats. Many different formulas are made to meet the nutritional needs of babies with these conditions.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on January 22, 2016
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