Does your child have allegies to formula? If you are like I was, you probably have a whole collection of half used cans of formula sitting in your cupboard. In fact, you’re probably looking at those cans thinking that $100 you just spent in formula used to pay for a nice outfit, or dinner out with your significant other.
Finding the right formula for a baby with allergies can be a very tough experience. Trust me, as a Mom with two preemies with allergies, there were times I would cry as they puked through a $25 can of formula in a few days. That’s why I wrote this article–for you. This article will help you find some of the most common and best formulas for babies with allergies, as well as give you tips and hints for helping to pay for that expensive formula.
Enfamil Nutramigen and Similac Alimentum
Perhaps your doctor has mentioned this formula. Or a friend. Nutramigen, made from the makers of Enfamil is often the easiest formula to locate for babies with extensive allergies. Doctors generally recommend trying this formula first if you feel your baby might have an allergy to milk or sucrose based products. Nutramigen is for babies who have allergies to the intact proteins found in milk and soy-based products. The proteins in Nutramigen are hydrolyzed so it’s easier for a baby with allergies to process. The formula has DHA and ARA, components found in breastmilk to help brain and eye development. The formula has been proven to relieve colic in as little as 48 hours. Nutramigen is available in powdered form in a can, as ready made liquid, and as concentrated liquid. The great thing about Nutramigen is the fact that it is found at almost every major retailer and drug store making it easy to grab a can should you run out in the middle of the night.
If you have been feeding your baby Similac formula, Similac makes a hypoallergenic formula similar to the Nutramigen called Similac Alimentum. Nestle (or Carnation Good Start formula) does not offer a Nutramigen style formula. The Similac formula is very similar to the Enfamil version in makeup and also includes DHA and ARA. It comes in powdered form in a can, as well as ready made. Alimentum can also be found at most major retailers and drug stores.
The cost for Similac Alimentum will run you about $24.49 for a 16 oz can of powdered formula. Enfamil Nutramigen will run about $28 for a 16 oz can of powdered formula. You can buy this formula in bulk from sites like Amazon.
Enfamil Pregestimil is similar to Nutramigen in that the hydrolyzed proteins are still used. However, the fat makeup in Pregestimil is different from Nutramigen. Pregestimil includes a special MCT-oil fat blend which is more easily digested by babies with allergies than the Nutramigen blend whose fat blends are more similar to breast milk fat blends. Pregestimil also contains DHA and ARA–special components to help develop eye and brain function found in breastmilk. Pregestimil is often recommended for those babies with disorders that make it difficult to digest the fat blends found in regular formulas and breastmilk. Some of the conditions for which Pregestimil might be recommended is for babies with short-bowel syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and steatorrhea (fat in the stool). Pregestimil can be found at some major retailers and drug stores, however many parents find it difficult to find and directly buy it from the makers of Enfamil, or are able to purchase it in bulk from sites like Amazon. Pregestimil runs about $29 for a 16 oz can of powdered formula. It is also sold as a ready made product.
Neocate is specially formulated for babies with allergies to soy, hydrolyzed proteins in other formulas, and allergies to fish, eggs, and nuts. Neocate is made up of amino acids and includes all necessary nutrition, fats DHA and ARA to help a baby grow and develop. Neocate can help babies with disorders that Pregestimil covers, as well as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Neocate must be ordered directly from the Neocate website, or can be ordered in bulk from places like Amazon. A 14 oz can of powdered formula will run about $45. The website provides detailed information about which babies should be placed on their formula. They also have $10 off coupons, and information on how to get your insurance company to reimburse you for the formula because of your babies condition.
Baby’s Only by Nature’s One
Some parents have found that their babies actually respond better to organic formulas. Currently, Baby’s Only by Nature’s Oneis one of the few organic formulas available on the market. Baby’s Only is made up of all natural, organic ingredients instead of corn syrup and other ingredients that baby formulas available on the market are made up of. The formula contains DHA and ARA, as well as other necessary fats and nutrition a baby needs. The formula is available in milk derived as well as soy based formula. While not deemed as hypoallergenic, many parents have noticed a difference in feeding their children this formula based on the all natural, organic makeup of the formula. One can will run about $23.
Paying for Hypoallergenic Formulas
Paying for hypoallergenic formulas can be a huge chunk of your pocketbook. Especially if you have tried many formulas, and spend a great deal of money trying to find one that works. There are several ways to help offset the high cost of hypoallergenic formulas:
While not everyone enjoys using financial assistance, when you are paying $60 a week or more in formula may be one of those times that it becomes necessary. While you may not qualify due to your income for government based assistance, programs like WIC (Woman, Infants, and Children) have looser income requirements and will cover costly formulas if needed. You can locate your local WIC office by going to http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/. There you can locate your local agency and find out if you will need doctors proof of medical allergy for getting your formula covered.
Your insurance company may cover that costly infant formula. However, you will have a lot of hoops to jump through. A doctors prescription may be needed, or doctors note stating it is the only formula the infant can tolerate to sustain life. Some insurance companies may have you pay a copayment for the formula. Others may have you submit receipts and than reimburse you. You will need to check with your specific insurance company to see what the process is to file a claim and what formulas they will cover. Many insurance companies will want proof–lab tests, etc. to verify an allergy or medical condition that requires this special formula.
Flexible Spending Account
Your flexible spending account may cover certain types of formulas. Many flexible spending accounts won’t cover regular formula, but will cover hypoallergenic formulas without the need of a prescription or medical proof. Just proof of purchase and your receipt may be all that’s required to get your formula paid for. You will need to check with your specific flexible spending account through your employer to see what formulas (if any) your flexible spending account will cover and how to go about getting your formula reimbursed.
This website has been found to be helpful for many parents with children who have conditions like cystic fibrosis, autism, and infant allergies. The website has devoted itself to helping you find ways to get some of the expensive formulas, treatments, and therapies covered. They help you by working with your insurance companies, local state agencies, and other creative means. It’s a great informational hub if you are shelling out hundreds of dollars a month in expensive formulas.