The Formula Conundrum
The Right Stuff
Soy's Good, Iron's Bad? continued...
In reality, says Cochran, studies indicate that the iron in
formula typically is not associated with stomach problems. Moreover, he says,
giving babies formula with low-iron concentrations (under 6.7 mg of iron per
liter of formula) can increase their risk of iron-deficiency anemia.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends iron-fortified
formula with 4-12 mg of iron per liter for all bottle-fed infants from birth to
1 year of age. That's because infants don't have enough natural reserves to
meet their iron needs. Many baby foods, especially fortified cereals, provide
The Case for Hypoallergenics
Hypoallergenic formula is easier for babies to digest because
the cow's milk protein in it has been predigested, or broken into smaller
pieces. One of the most compelling reasons to feed your baby hypoallergenic
formula (other than to confirm a cow's milk allergy) is a strong family history
of food or environmental allergies, including hay fever and eczema, says
A child's risk of a food allergy in the first year increases to
about 10% if one parent has allergies and about 20% if both parents do.
Hypoallergenic formula is two to three times more costly than regular formula,
however, so Cochran advises against it unless both parents have allergies. The
"big three" hypoallergenic formulas are Nutramigen, Pregestimil, and
Unlike hypoallergenic brands, Carnation Good Start is only
partially broken down (hydrolyzed). It isn't an option if a baby has a known
allergy, according to Cochran, but partially hydrolyzed formulas may be
worthwhile for babies at somewhat higher risk, such as those with one allergic
"Studies show that in kids who are at risk, if you put them
on Carnation Good Start, you can decrease the risk of their developing food
allergies," Cochran says. If the infant has a confirmed food allergy, stick
with a hypoallergenic brand.
The most common sign that your baby has an allergy to cow's
milk protein is blood in the stool, which is caused by milk protein-induced
colitis. Switching to a hypoallergenic formula should clear up most of the
bleeding in five to seven days. Eczema and respiratory problems also may be
signs of milk protein intolerance.