Soy Formulas May Not Prevent Infant Allergies
Breast Milk Is Best for High-Risk Infants, Experts Say
WebMD News Archive
Other Recommendations continued...
Soy-based formulas contain the proteins found in soybeans
rather than those found in cow's milk. The two formulas contain almost
identical vitamins and minerals, and their nutritional values are similar.
There are three major hypoallergenic formulas:
- Whey-based hydrolysate formulas. The whey in cow's milk protein is broken
down or "predigested," making it less allergenic than the protein in
- Casein hydrolysate formulas have smaller protein products.
- Amino acid-based infant formulas, which contain protein in its simplest
form, may be recommended if an infant doesn't improve after a switch to the
Among the other recommendations:
- High-risk mothers-to-be should not eat peanuts or foods containing peanuts
during pregnancy. While the evidence linking maternal peanut consumption to
infant allergies is not conclusive, the group singled out peanuts as the food
most likely to cause problems, and it suggested that lactating mothers avoid
them as well.
- Delay the introduction of solid foods for six months, and delay the
introduction of potential problem foods for as long as possible. The AAP
recommends delaying the introduction of cow's milk until 12 months of age, eggs
until 24 months, and nuts and fish until age 3.
- Protein hydrolysate formulas should be used in bottle-fed, high-risk
Pediatric allergy expert Mary Fasano, MD, says she recommends
hydrolysate formulas for bottle-fed, high-risk infants, even though they have
not been proven to prevent allergies or delay their onset. Fasano is an
associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Iowa and a
spokeswoman for the AAP.
"The strongest evidence for protection is clearly for
breastfeeding, so that will always be my first recommendation," she says.
"There just is not a lot of good, strong evidence to show that hydrolysate
formulas prevent allergies."