Infant formula, unlike breast milk, is a generic generalization of what the average infant needs to grow and thrive. So, it’s very common for infants to be allergic to formula. Whether it be a particular brand or in general, the ingredients are usually the culprit.
Of the several different brands of formula, most of them are either cow milk-based or soy-based. There are other “special” formulas out there designed for premature babies or ones with other food requirements. But, for generalized purposes, we are going to talk about the two most common sources.
Cow milk-based formula is the most common source of protein used today. Cow based formula is the closest alternative to breast milk. While the similarities are small and subtle, its the next best thing for your baby.
You’re probably asking, “Then why don’t we just feed straight cows milk to babies?” The reasoning behind that is because cows milk contains concentrated amounts of minerals and proteins that overload your infant’s kidneys and will cause severe fever and diarrhea. Also, straight cows milk doesn’t contain enough vitamin c and iron, as well as a few other nutrients your infant needs to thrive. Nutrients, that if left out of an infant’s diet, will cause iron-deficiency anemia.
Soy-based formula is the alternative to milk-based, especially if your baby has sensitive skin or is having problems digesting lactose. It’s also great if you and your family focus on a vegetarian diet. Soy-based formula is plant-based. However, just because it’s a plant-based formula, that doesn’t mean it’s any less likely your infant will have an allergic reaction.
Overall, neither soy nor milked-based formula has a nutritional advantage over the other. They are both created with the same vitamins and minerals. We are making them good alternatives to breast milk.
So, what are the signs and symptoms of Formula Allergies? Below are a few of the key signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for.
Please, if you see one, or a combination of these symptoms, contact your pediatrician or local emergency room immediately.
Diarrhea is one of the most common signs that something is wrong with your baby’s guts. Although, with babies, it’s hard to tell, because their stool is softer than that of an adult. Getting to know your baby’s usual bowel movement, color, texture, and routine is a great way to know if your infant is experiencing diarrhea.
Your infant should be pooping 7-8 times a day, any more, especially in excessively frequency, it’s safe to say that your baby has diarrhea. Also, keep an eye out for water, the presence of mucus, or blood in their stool. These may be signs of a more serious medical condition.
2. Vomiting or Spitting up
Spitting up is a normal baby response to being fed. However, if your baby’s spit up is forceful or painful in any way, it could be a sign of an allergy. As this isn’t spitting up at all, but vomiting.
Vomit vs. Spit-up
- Vomiting is forceful, projectile and usually, there’s a lot of it
- Spit-up is a small amount, often burped out
- Babies usually cry when they have vomited
- Spit-up makes a baby feel better, so they will often not even notice
- The vomit may be accompanied by a fever or lack of appetite
- Spit-up is common and unavoidable
Colic is a very serious condition a lot of babies suffer from. But, did you know it’s also a sign that your baby could be allergic to their formula?
Signs of colic:
- Crying at the same time every day.
- Crying occurs for no reason.
- Your baby may pull up their legs, clench their fists, and generally move their legs and arms more.
- Close their eyes, and suddenly open them very wide, furrow their brow, or even hold their breath briefly.
- Bowel movements have increased. May also be gassy and spit up
4. Skin Rash
A skin rash is another of the most common signs of formula allergies. The rash will generally appear on the face, arms, scalp, and legs. Don’t just keep a lookout of a rash, but also for hives.
5. Extreme Gassiness
Burping after feeding is mandatory. Burping helps to relieve the pressure created in the stomach from digesting air with their bottle.
Infants’ intestines aren’t fully developed when they are born, so they need help to release gas pain for the first three months of life. And then again at the ages of 6-12months, when they start new foods.
6. Respiratory Problems
If you notice wheezing, shortness of breath, excess mucus in the nose, this could be a cold, but, could be signs of allergic reactions. Take note of how often this happens, and address it with your pediatrician on your next check-up.
7. No or Low Weight Gain
Babies come in all shapes and sizes; there is no one size fits all when it comes to how your baby will gain weight. Genetics, as well as the kinds of food you feed your baby play a large part in their development. But, if your baby stops or drastically slows in weight gain, it could be a sign of an allergy.
8. Swollen or Puffy Eyes
Puffy or swollen eyes are a common sign of lack of sleep. Even subtle changes in your baby’s sleeping pattern or schedule can give them puffy or swollen eyes. However, if their schedule hasn’t changed, and yet they have puffy eyes, this could be a sign of milk allergies.
9. Constant Coughing
There are two different kinds of coughs. The one you need to be concerned about is the dry cough. This cough indicated some kind of bacterial infection or respiratory disease. This cough is associated with colds, asthma, and allergies.
10. Facial Swelling
Much like you see in the movies, when characters have an allergic reaction, they always get facial swelling. This isn’t the case for all allergies. But, it is a key sign of allergies.
11. Constant Sneezing
Occasional sneezing is a normal baby reaction. However, if you notice an increase in the number of times your baby sneezes, this may be a sign of allergies.
Although some of the things listed above are normal behaviors, you’re looking for an increase or change in your infant’s normal behaviors. If you suspect your baby is allergic to their formula, consult your pediatrician on what steps to take to make your baby happy and healthy again.