Formula Intolerance

Katy Pediatric Associates

Pediatricians located in Houston, TX

Proper nutrition plays a vital role in your baby’s development during their first year of life, but it’s hard to keep your baby happy and healthy when they suffer from formula intolerance. If your infant is struggling to digest regular infant formula, pediatricians Asmaa Fotouh, MD, Hebah Aboul-Fotouh, MD, and Tabassum Imam, MD, can help at Katy Pediatric Associates in Katy, Texas. To schedule a consultation with the pediatric team, call the office or request an appointment online.

Formula Intolerance Q&A

What is cow’s milk allergy?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends iron-fortified formulas made from cow’s milk if breastfeeding isn’t an option for you and your baby. While most babies can easily digest formulas with cow’s milk, if your baby keeps spitting theirs up, they may have cow’s milk allergy. 

What is the difference between formula intolerance and a milk allergy?

Formula intolerance means that your infant has a problem with digesting a component of the formula they are taking. This is not usually an allergy. Cow's milk allergy is when there is an abnormal immune reaction to cow's milk protein. Both formula intolerance and cow's milk allergy can have a negative impact on the way your baby digests their formula.

Cow's milk allergy is not common in infants and is thought to occur in around 2% of infants. Cow's milk allergy is an abnormal reaction to cow's milk proteins and can result in symptoms such as vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, fussiness, or sometimes rashes.

Most babies do not have milk protein intolerance but sometimes needs to change to formulas that are easier to digest when they are having a lot of fussiness or discomfort.

When should I consider changing my baby’s formula?

When your baby has persistent spitting up, colic, constipation, or reflux, you should consider trying a different formula. Cow's milk allergy often has more severe symptoms which include:

  • Blood in stool
  • Abdominal pain
  • Hives
  • Frequent spitting up
  • Vomiting
  • Stuffy nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash
  • Excessive crying
  • Gas
  • Failure to gain weight
  • Bloating

If you suspect your baby has a formula intolerance or milk allergy, request an appointment with the Katy Pediatric Associates team for further evaluation.

How is cow’s milk allergy treated?

Formula intolerance and cow's milk allergy are treated by changing the formula.

For cow's milk allergy, your baby may need an extensively hydrolyzed or hypoallergenic formula.

Nearly 80% of infants grow out of milk allergies by the time they turn one, and almost all can tolerate milk by the age of five.

Whether your baby suffers from a milk allergy or a formula intolerance, the Katy Pediatric Associates team can develop a plan that helps your baby thrive. Find out more by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.