Switching to Hypoallergenic Formula: What to Expect

If your baby’s pediatrician suggests switching from a routine formula to a hypoallergenic formula for suspected cow's milk protein allergy, you may notice a few changes.

Hypoallergenic Formula

Smell and taste


You may notice a difference in the smell and taste of a hypoallergenic formula. That’s because in order to make hypoallergenic formula, milk proteins are broken down into very small peptides and individual amino acids. This can result in a bitter taste. While the smell and taste of these formulas will probably be totally unappealing to you, babies usually accept them just fine. This is because their sensitivity to bitter flavors isn't yet mature in the first few months of life.

Changes in stool


The color, consistency and smell of your baby’s stool can change from day to day or even between feedings. And you may see a change when you switch formulas, too. Greens, yellows and browns are all common stool colors, but you should call your pediatrician if your baby has red, white or black stools, or if you notice blood, mucus or excess water.


Hypoallergenic formula may be more “see-through” than your routine formula. It may appear translucent like skim milk or breastmilk, but be assured the hypoallergenic formula will have the same number of calories as your baby’s previous formula. Be sure to follow the mixing instructions closely because not all hypoallergenic formulas have the same mixing instructions. Gerber® Extensive HA™ requires one scoop for 1 fl. oz. of water.

Higher price

Parents will notice that hypoallergenic formulas cost more than routine formulas because they’re more costly to make and often contain special ingredients. You can check with your insurance company to see if they cover all or part of the cost. If you receive your baby's formula through WIC, they will have an approved hypoallergenic option on their formulary.

Breaking the milk proteins down into very small pieces greatly reduces the chance that baby’s immune system will react to the protein in these formulas. If your baby has cow’s milk protein allergy, her symptoms should improve shortly after switching to a hypoallergenic infant formula.