Having a baby is such a special moment in any new parent’s life. Parents expect that their baby will cry a lot that first year and provide then with a lack of sleep. But what happens when your baby doesn’t seem to be comfortable?
Some babies have different sensitivities and figuring out what is bothering them is very difficult as they are unable to speak. This is when parents play the guessing game based on the symptoms of their baby. If your baby is formula fed, most often parents will switch the formulas as a first choice. There are different options a parent can try for their sensitive baby, from hypoallergenic formulas and AR formulas, to goat milk formulas, we discuss five different options below.
1. Hypoallergenic Formula (HA Formula)
The name can be slightly confusing, as it says “hypoallergenic” and typically this means it completely avoids the allergens. In the case of baby formulas, many hypoallergenic baby formulas simply reduce the allergen producing elements.
For example, HiPP formula still contain the cow’s lactose, however, this formula is designed more to help babies with a sensitivity to the cow’s milk. It is done by hydrolyzing the milk protein – which means they break the protein apart into smaller fragments. This makes it easier to digest and therefore spend less time in the gut.
Furthermore, many of the HA formulas provide prebiotics and probiotics to help aid in the digestion process. Since babies have a digestive system that is still developing throughout the first year, they may struggle with processing the formula given to them. Typically, this is something a baby grows out of, so after the first year of life they can process whole milk. In the meantime, the prebiotics and probiotics help healthy gut flora to grow and make digestion much quicker.
2. Acid Reflux Formula (AR Formula)
This type of formula is for babies that are constantly dealing with acid reflux. Much like how an adult may get the burning acid in the back of their mouth if their food doesn’t digest properly, babies can have this same issue. After a baby eats, they may spit up more than usual and scream. They don’t know how else to express that their throat hurts from the acid.
Formulas to help this issue are produced with ingredients that help keep the formula heavier and in the stomach. For example, HiPP AR uses organic locust bean gum – which is this excellent thickener. These formulas stay down and are able to fully digest in the stomach, so reflux can be avoided.
3. Comfort Formulas
Sometimes the problem is more than the hypoallergenic formula can solve. These babies may have an extreme sensitivity to cow’s milk and can only handle a smaller amount of the protein. In this case, the formula has substituted more vegetable oils for the fat content and reduced the lactose content further.
Same as the hypoallergenic, HiPP Comfort formula has prebiotics and probiotics to further aid in digestion as well. Plus, the smaller amount of lactose is also hydrolyzed to ensure it is easier to digest in the baby’s tummy. Parents should only try the comfort formula if the hypoallergenic formulas didn’t work, or the doctor prescribes it. The reason is because these formulas are further from the natural breastmilk composition, so gradually working away from the most similar to breastmilk formula is best.
4. A2 Milk Formula
For some babies, the A1 protein in most cow milk formula is what bothers their sensitive tummy. This is because when the A1 protein is broken down, it leaves the peptide BCM-7 in the body. Since the baby’s body is not fully developed, this peptide can cause quite a bit of chaos and discomfort for your little one as it causes discomfort in adults as well.
As such, many parents avoid the A1 protein completely by choosing a formula made only with A2 cow milk protein. In fact, cow’s milk used to only contain the A2 protein, but different breeds of cows now produce the A1 protein instead. So, it is no surprise that many more people have issues with dairy than they used to, as the protein could be instigator of all their issues.
5. Goat Milk Formula
Lastly, before switching completely away from using the lactose protein in your baby’s formula, parents will try a different animal’s milk. The most popular alternative to cow’s milk has been goat’s milk formula. Reasoning for this switch is back to that wonderful A2 protein in lactose. Goat’s milk is naturally made of the A2 protein, which means from the start, many digestive issues are avoided for your baby.
Moreover, goat’s milk has a different structure so that when it’s digested, it produces a softer and looser curd. As such, it can more easily move through the baby’s developing systems. Plus, the extra levels of selenium naturally found in goat’s milk are a great added bonus for baby’s health.
Examine your options and begin your switch
With the five different options mentioned above, you should be able to find some comfort for your sensitive bay. If none of these options have helped relieved your baby’s discomfort, it could be a bigger issue and should definitely be discussed with your pediatrician.
Just remember, some issues will be noticeably different immediately when you have found the right formula, but other issues may take week to resolve. Don’t switch after a couple of feedings unless there are clear allergic reactions to your baby. Switching too much and too often can cause chaos in your developing baby’s problem and make the situation even worse for them.
Always speak with your pediatrician throughout this process and find a good support group of other parents that have dealt with the same issues. Remember, sensitive babies are common and there are plenty of parents that have suffered through the anxiety as well – so don’t get discouraged, keep trying, and know your baby loves you for all your care!