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Hypoallergenic, Dairy-Free, Soy and Lactose-Free Baby Formulas

Updated on May 20, 2016
Susana S profile image

Susana has been a Mom for 22 years and has 3 children. She's also worked extensively with Moms-to-be and parents of children under 5.

Specialist Infant Formulas

There are various reasons for wanting to buy an infant formula that's hypoallergenic, dairy-free or lactose-free. The most common ones are:

  • your baby has one or more food allergies or intolerances
  • you are vegan and want a vegan diet for your baby
  • because of religious food restrictions

There are a wide selection of specialist baby formulas on the market now, including soy formula, hydrolyzed formula, lactose free formula and hypoallergenic formula. They are all so much easier to get hold of now than was the case even a few years ago.

Soy Formula for Dairy Intolerance

Soy formula is often the best choice for babies who have a dairy intolerance, whether it's due to milk protein intolerance or milk sugar (lactose) intolerance.

  • There have been some scary stories around over the last few years that soy milk is harmful, but this is simply not the case. Soy formulas have been used successfully for over 50 years with absolutely no reports of adverse effects. They meet the full nutritional needs of babies and infants, as well as all safety standards.
  • Soy formula is also the perfect solution for those who don't want to give their children dairy based formula milk because of lifestyle, cultural or religious reasons.
  • There are plenty of organic soy formulas to choose from too, so you can be sure that there are no pesticide contaminants, that the beans are non-GMO and have been grown ethically.

Lactose Free or Low Lactose Formulas for Lactose Intolerance

For fussy babies that suffer from colic and possibly a mild lactose intolerance, there are several brands of lactose-free formulas that, while still made from cows' milk, have had all the milk sugar removed and replaced, usually with a vegetable sugar (such as corn syrup).

Hypoallergenic Formulas for Dairy and Soy Intolerance

For babies who are intolerant to both dairy and soy (which is very common), the natural choice is a hypoallergenic or hydrolyzed formula. Hypoallergenic formulas are non-dairy and non-soy and are usually made from a blend of vegetable fats, corn, and the full range of vitamins and minerals you'd expect to find in any formula milk.

Hydrolyzed Formula

Hydrolyzed formulas often do contain some milk proteins, but they are so broken down that they hopefully won't cause a problem for allergy sufferers. You'll often see them described as pre-digested formulas, which means that the protein chains have been broken.


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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for your useful and helpful information.

    • Don Simkovich profile image

      Don Simkovich 6 years ago from Pasadena, CA

      This is an important Hub. Unique and well written.

    • Syed 6 years ago

      Hello, my 3m son now drinks soy-based formula, along with breastfeeding. Doctor has advised us to try hypoallergenic formula as he has allergy. We tried hypoallergenic formula but refuses to drink, probably due to its taste. My questions are, if we continue with the hypoallergenic formula, how long should we continue? If however, we continue with the soy formula (which he drinks), how long can we continue? Thank you.

      Syed Basher

    • Susana S profile image

      Susana S 6 years ago

      Is he allergic to soy? If so then you'll need to use a hypoallergenic formula for as long as needed (it's hard to say what will happen in the future as he may outgrow his intolernance). If he has no problem with soy, then it's safe to eat indefinitely.

    • Syed 6 years ago

      Thank you Susana. He drinks the soy formula (Similac Isomil) well, although the allergy comes and go. We're also concerned whether he is getting sufficient protein from the soy formula. Sometimes we think whether we should switch to a protein formula, e.g. SMA Gold 1. Often doctors are as helpless as we are. Thank you again.

    • Susana S profile image

      Susana S 6 years ago

      I'm a bit confused. Does your son have problems with dairy, soy or both? What are his symptoms?

      Babies that have issues with dairy often have difficulty with soy and vice versa. More often than not, in this case, it is a problem digesting particular proteins.

      The hypoallergenic formulas have the proteins broken down into their most basic components so that the baby can digest them without problems.

    • Rita 5 years ago

      i choose to give my baby soy formula at the age of one month to 4month and now she is 5months and i want to switch to milk formula. Is it possible 2 do so

    • Susana S profile image

      Susana S 5 years ago

      Yes of course Rita. It's up to you and what you feel is best for your baby.

    • Catherine 5 years ago

      Hi, I am trying to find a rice formula for my 2month old. He is allergic to Dairy and Soy (possible corn allergy). I am having trouble finding a formula to give my son.

      Thanks in advance.


    • Susana S profile image

      Susana S 5 years ago

      Hi Catherine, I've never seen a formula made from rice. I would advise seeing your doctor so that you can get your sons allergies checked out.

    • Riya 5 years ago

      Hi, I am trying to figure out what formula to give my 3 month old baby who is allergic to dairy, soy, peanuts, wheat and onions. His doctor wants me to give him rice milk but it clearly states on the box that it should not be fed to infants less than 5 years old. Please advise as I am extemely confused

    • aleida 5 years ago

      my 1 month old grandson is allergic to soy bot now the milk he is drinking Fussiness and gas is also making him cry spit and wont sleep, what can i do

    • linnie 5 years ago

      To the comment about rice milk formula. Your doctor should prescribe you ellacare amino acid based formula. Its soy and dairy free and my insurance covere mine. Walgreens option care. Pharmacy delivered it monthly. It is also sold on E bay, amazon etc. The dr's often have you try allimentum or a hydrolisate formula first but for a child with true allergy, I wouldn't suggest it. I tried it with my allergic child and I regret it. She suffered from eczema and itching etc. For far longer then she Should have. The Allimentum has small more broken down milk proteins that make many allergic children able to tolerate and digest it without reactions. But from what I have learned the soon you completely eliminate the allergen the more likely the immune system will forget about and outgrow this allergen. Lastly hemp milk is way more nutrition and contains the amino acids and good fat that a young child needs, when transitioning to milk, at 12 months, do the hemp milk as much as possible. It costs more so we do some of both. My childs nutritionist says its so much more nutrient dense and allergen free.

    • Minina 4 years ago

      My 4m old seems to be allergic to Nutramigen, and regular Enfamil and Symilac. Wich should we try next?

    • Susana S profile image

      Susana S 4 years ago

      I'd say go to the doctors and get your baby checked out. Maybe it's a different kind of digestion issue and not an allergy/intolerance.

    • Julie 4 years ago

      My 4m son got eczema. His dr says try to switch his formula to soy formula just to see if he change. Should I try it?

    • Charina 3 years ago

      Is there an infant formula that has no soy bean? My nephew has G6PD and soybean is not good for him...can you tell me?

    • Susana S profile image

      Susana S 3 years ago

      Sorry, I'm not sure. Your nephews doctor will be able to say which formula he needs.

    • elmie 2 years ago

      my 3 yr old son is A g6pd positive what milk should we give him while soya is the most contraindicated.

    • Sonny 2 years ago

      Susana this is an older article but why not mention rice which is truly hypoallergenic. Soy is not. Soybeans and corn are the most heavily sprayed pesticide and GMO crops. Labels should read organic or non-GMO to be on the safe side.

    • Susana S profile image

      Susana S 2 years ago

      I would definitely recommend choosing an organic formula. I should make sure that is in the article, thank you for highlighting it.

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