Infant Formula SmallFor formula fed babies diagnosed with cow’s milk allergy, there are several types of alternative formulas available. These formulas are low allergy or ‘hypoallergenic’ and are unlikely to cause a reaction.  There is legislation covering specialised infant formulas so you can be confident they contain all the essential nutrients your baby needs to grow and develop.

For a child with cow’s milk allergy, children react to the protein found in cow’s milk. Standard infant formulas are based on cow’s milk, so these formula will contain cow’s milk protein. Speacial hypoallergenic formulas are available, which contain different types of protein that are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. Only extensively hydrolysed protein formulae (eHF) and amino acid formulae (AAF) are considered hypoallergenic.  They are, therefore, suitable to feed babies with cows’ milk allergy.


There are four kinds of infant formula classes:

Amino acid-based formulas (AAF) An amino acid-based formulae (AAF) can be prescribed by the doctor for the dietary management of cows’ milk allergy. Instead of being based on protein, they are based on amino acids, otherwise known as the building blocks of protein. These amino acids are not recognised by the immune system and therefore do not cause any allergic reaction in infants with cows’ milk allergy.
Extensively hydrolysed formulas (eHF) Extensively hydrolysed formulas (eHF) can be prescribed by the doctor for the dietary management of cow’s milk allergy. In this type of formula, cow’s milk protein has been broken down into small fragments. eHFs are suitable for most children with cow’s milk allergy, however they may cause allergic symptoms in particularly sensitive children1`
Standard Infant Formula Standard infant formulas or base milks are those that you can buy in your supermarket or local shop. They are not suitable for babies with cows’ milk allergy. These formulas are made by modifying cow’s milk to meet the nutritional needs of babies. They contain cow’s milk proteins so will cause allergic reactions in babies with cow’s milk allergy.
HA milks HA milks, also known as partially enzyme treated formulas, should not be used in children with cow’s milk allergy.  These formulas are based on cow’s milk that has been modified to meet the nutritional needs of infants. The cow’s milk protein in these formulas is partially broken down, however a significant amount of cow’s milk protein still remains2. This remaining cow’s milk protein can cause an allergic reaction in children with cow’s milk allergy. These formulas are available in shops and supermarkets and are marketed as preventing allergies3.



Check with your child’s healthcare professional before considering any of the alternatives mentioned above.


Nutricia supports the benefits of breast milk


  1. 2016. Cow’s milk (dairy) allergy. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Viewed 3 June 2016.
  2. Motala and Fiocchi. 2012. Cow’s Milk Allergy in Children. World Allergy Organisation. Viewed 3 June 2016.
  3. Boyle RJ et al. 2016. Hydrolysed formula and risk of allergic or autoimmune disease: a systematic review and metaanalysis. Volume: 352:i974. Viewed 3 June 2016.