What is the alternative to breast feeding?
If possible the babies should be breast fed. However there are many mothers for one or other reasons cannot breast feed their babies. There is wide range of cows milk formulas’ available. Until recently there was not much difference between these cows milk formulas. Nowadays various components are added, for instance essential fatty acids, healthy bacteria and vitamins to competitively market these foods. Nonetheless, since cow’s milk, a highly allergenic food, is the first foreign protein given in large quantities to the newborn baby, it is not surprising to find cows milk is the major cause of milk allergy in about 10% of the infants.
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Recently, a new infant formula containing partially hydrolyzed cows milk whey formula (Nan HA) has been introduced. The highly allergenic proteins in the cows milk have been treated enzymatically to make them less allergenic. Over 20 research studies throughout the world including Singapore, demonstrates that this hypoallergenic formula significantly reduces the development of allergy. The use of partially hydrolyzed whey formula in infants for the first four to six months of life significant reduced the manifestations of allergic diseases for 5 to 10 years. In a study performed in Singapore a significant reduction in atopic disorders at 12, 24, 36 and 60 months was found in infants who were on partially-hydrolyzed hypoallergenic milk formula for 4 months. These observations suggest long term benefits detectable way past the period of direct intervention with the partially hydrolyzed milk formula. Some studies have suggested that partially hydrolyzed cows milk formula should be preferentially introduced for at least 4 months to all babies if the infant’s mother opts not to breast feed.