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Is Holle Formula Dairy-Free?

Is Holle Formula Dairy-Free?

Holle is one of Europe’s best-loved organic formulas. It’s made using milk from pasture-raised animals – so by definition, it is not dairy-free. Any product that uses animal milk is considered a dairy product. 

But Holle could be suitable for babies who struggle to digest regular formula or cow’s milk-based dairy products. 

Holle comes in three forms:

  • Holle Cow Milk (made with organic cow’s milk)
  • Holle Goat Milk (made with organic goat’s milk)
  • Holle A2 (made with milk from cows that produce milk that naturally contains only the A2 protein – usually found only in goat’s milk, and easier-to-digest for some babies).

Many babies who have an allergy or intolerance react only to the A1 milk protein – found in most cow’s milk formulas. So while Holle is not dairy-free, either Holle Goat or Holle A2 could be an alternative to soy milk or hypoallergenic formulas for some babies. 

Milk allergies and intolerances in babies

There are two primary reasons why a baby might not be able to have regular cow’s milk formula – lactose intolerance, and cow’s milk allergy. The symptoms of both are very similar – gas, bloating, stomach pain and wind. Babies with a cow’s milk allergy might also suffer rashes, hay fever-like symptoms and even breathing difficulties. 

Lactose Intolerance

All milk (including breastmilk) contains lactose – a type of sugar that helps provide energy. It happens when someone doesn’t have enough of an enzyme called lactase, that allows us to digest lactose. 

Permanent lactose intolerance in babies is very rare – as a baby that but it is more common in premature babies, whose digestive systems haven’t had time to develop fully. It’s also possible for babies and young children to become temporarily lactose intolerant after a tummy bug.

Babies with a lactose intolerance can’t have Holle, and will need a specialist low lactose or lactose-free formula. 

Cow’s milk allergy

Cow’s milk allergy is much more common, and affects up to 7% of babies – though most will grow out of it before they turn 5. 

If you’re breastfeeding, your doctor will ask you to avoid eating dairy products so that you don’t pass them to your little one through your milk. If you’re formula feeding, you’ll need to avoid most cow’s milk formulas. 

Holle Goat might be suitable, as might Holle A2 – since babies are less likely to be allergic to the A2 protein than the A1 (found in most cow’s milk). Another option could be a hydrolyzed hypoallergenic formula like HiPP HA, in which cow’s milk proteins are broken down so that they don’t cause an allergic reaction.

How are allergies and intolerances diagnosed?

Lactose intolerance and cow’s milk allergy can both be difficult to diagnose, especially as symptoms are similar to other conditions, including common stomach bugs. 

If you’re worried, always see your pediatrician. They will assess your baby’s symptoms, and they might order some tests. This could include:

  • Cutting out cow’s milk or lactose to see if the symptoms improve. 
  • Skin and blood tests for cow’s milk allergy
  • Hydrogen breath tests or stool tests for lactose intolerance

This can all take some time, which may be upsetting when you have a poorly, unhappy baby. But the process is worth it – and once diagnosed, you’ll be able to find the right formula. 

Is Holle a hypoallergenic formula?

Holle is not a hypoallergenic formula, but it can be the right choice for some babies with a cow’s milk allergy (other goat’s milk formulas such as Nannycare and Loulouka are also worth considering). Not all babies get on well with hydrolyzed formulas, which often have a distinctive taste and odor. Always talk to your pediatrician before deciding which formula to give a baby with a diagnosed allergy or intolerance.

If it turns out that your baby doesn’t have an allergy or intolerance, but is struggling with digestive problems, Holle and other European organic formulas could help. These formulas are made accordingly and are gentler and closer to breastmilk than conventional formulas – making them perfect for little ones with sensitive tummies.

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