Partially Hydrolyzed Milk use was NOT Associated with a lower risk of Eczema, Respiratory Symptoms or Food Allergy
A French study published in September 2019 concluded that partially hydrolyzed formula (pHF-HA) use was not associated with a lower risk of eczema, respiratory symptoms or food allergy.
Conversely, pHF-HA was associated with a higher risk of wheezing and food allergy.
I do find the research findings disconcerting especially when recommending hypoallergenic milk seems to be the "default" recommendation when an infant is diagnosed with eczema. Of course, this study is not a causation study but a population study but given that 11 720 infants were involved, I do think that the study carries some weight and cause for doctors to pause and consider if HA milk should still be the recommendation.
Another point is that the study was trying to look at whether pHF-HA milk is to be recommended for protective effect for those with family history of allergic conditions (ie their focus was not studying if HA milk should be recommended when an allergic condition has been diagnosed). But given that partially hydrolyzed milk was actually associated with higher risk of wheezing and food allergy, it does warrant deeper study into its impact on infants (otherwise, the impact of consuming HA milk would be the high cost of milk and that there may be a harder time feeding because the milk does not taste as good).
Takeaway: Should you be recommended to feed HA milk to your infant, or if after feeding, it didn't help with allergic conditions, you should perhaps exercise some skepticism into its benefits.
Some feeding products that may be of interest:
Dr Brown's bottles - this really worked for my daughter, as in relieved the colic
Medela Double Electric Breast Pump - I regret not buying this sooner because by the time I was recommended this, I think I have missed the window whereby breastfeeding would be smooth.
There were two studies by Singapore researchers on partially hydrolyzed formula, with different results.
The focus of this 2019 study was on high-risk infants who could not be exclusively breast-fed. Over 30 months, comparing supplementing with partially hydrolyzed formula (PHF) vs cow's milk, PHF showed 16% less incidence of eczema, 6.4 months less of eczema, longer period by 14.9 days without eczema and improved quality of life. The researchers concluded that there is therefore net savings of SGD539 from introducing PHF to high-risk infants.
The focus of this 2016 study was on partially hydrolyzed milk with prebiotics oligosaccharides (pHF-OS). The study was a double‐blind, randomized, controlled parallel‐group nutritional intervention trial in infants at high risk of developing allergic disease, conducted in 10 specialist paediatric centres in Australia, Singapore, UK and Ireland from April 2006 to March 2011. The conclusion was that pHF‐OS does not prevent eczema in the first year in high‐risk infants.