Most experts agree that breastfeeding your baby is very important — a mother’s breast milk has a lot of great benefits, including the fact that it contains a lot of nutrients that you just can’t get anywhere else. Of course, baby formula has it’s place, too: it’s great for supplementing breast milk or for weening your baby off of breast milk entirely. Needless to say, choosing good, quality baby formula can be a challenge. When it comes down to it, choosing baby formula is a personal choice that comes down to the mother’s choice.
I would recommend talking to your baby’s pediatrician to get a good idea about what types of baby formula are available, and which might be best for your child. There are many different types and brands of baby formula available, and this guide will hopefully help you understand and make an educated decision in purchasing the optimal baby formula for your child.
If you’re looking for a good baby formula, you can look at Amazon’s selection by clicking here. I’d recommend taking a look around!
Why Can’t I Feed Regular Cow’s Milk To My Baby?
You may be wondering why you should feed baby formula to your baby rather than less expensive regular cow’s milk. There are a few reasons for this. According to the Committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics, cow’s milk is not appropriate for children under 1 year of age. First of all, regular cow’s milk does not have much iron, which can lead to iron deficiency. Second of all, because of the way cow’s milk is processed, it can lead to potential intestinal blood loss in infants. On top of this, the levels of sodium and protein in regular cow’s milk are much higher than recommended for children. Finally, cow’s milk is simply harder for infants to digest.
For all of these reasons, it’s highly recommended that you breast feed or feed iron-fortified baby formula to your infant until they are at least one year old.
What Forms Does Baby Formula Come In?
Baby formula comes in several different forms. While there is no best form, you’ll have to consider the pros and cons of each and then decide which you prefer.
Powdered baby formula — This type of baby formula is probably the most convenient type of formula. It comes in a canister, and you simply scoop it into a container, add water, and then shake it up.
- Convenient and common.
- Powdered baby formula can be found in almost any store.
- Powder is also great because you can bring it anywhere and there is no waste.
- Powdered baby formula can be difficult to accurately measure in order to ensure the proper level of nutrients.
- Powdered baby formula is not sterile, either.
Concentrated baby formula — Similar to powdered baby formula but comes in a concentrated liquid form that you can easily pour. Concentrated baby formula must be diluted with water, too.
- Also convenient, and comes sterile unlike powdered baby formula.
- Usually easier to prepare than powdered formula.
- More expensive than powdered formula and not quite as convenient for travel.
Ready-to-Feed Baby Formula — The most convenient type of baby formula, ready-to-feed baby formula comes in individually-packaged servings that are ready to feed to your baby without any additional preparation.
- The most convenient type of baby formula.
- Can be nice if you’re going out for a day trip, as there is no need for preparation or trying to find safe water to use.
- You can also be sure that you’re getting exactly the right amount of nutrients with ready-to-feed formulas.
- By far the most expensive type of formula.
Types of Baby Formula
On top of the different forms baby formula comes in, there are also many different types of baby formula, too. Again, there is really no best type of baby formula, but here is an overview of each so that you can decide which is best for you. Here are some of the terms you might come across when shopping for baby formula.
- Cow’s milk-based formula— The regular type of baby formula that most infants should be on if not breastfeeding. This formula is made from cow’s milk, but is altered so that it resembles regular breast milk. This formula should give precisely the right amount of nutrients. While most babies should be fine with cow’s milk formula, some babies — such as those with milk allergies — will need to be fed one of the other types of formula.
- Soy-based formula — This type of formula is similar to cow’s milk formula but does not have any of the animal proteins found in it. It is useful for feeding babies with a milk allergy or are lactose intolerant. It is possible, however, that babies that are allergic to cow’s milk are also allergic to soy milk.
- Organic formula — Some parents like to go all-organic, and that’s an option with baby formula, too! What does it mean for baby formula to be considered organic? Earth’s Best, one of the most popular manufacturers of organic baby formula, says it means that it contains “no genetically engineered ingredients.”
- Iron-fortified formula — You’ll be hard-pressed to find a baby formula that isn’t iron-fortified. The APA recommends beginning with an iron-fortified formula in order to minimize the risk of iron deficiency in your baby.
- Premature baby formula — These are formulas designed for premature infants, containing extra calories and additional nutrients helpful for premature and underweight babies.
- Toddler formula — These are formulas designed for toddlers about 9 – 24 months of age. These formulas are designed to provide extra nutrients for children that are now eating regular foods but require more nutrients than regular cow’s milk can provide. There are different versions of toddler formula available and they vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. While toddler formula is generally less expensive than regular baby formula, it’s most expensive than regular cow’s milk. You should remember that this formula is not suitable for younger babies; it’s harder to digest for them.
- Added rice starch formula — Designed for babies with acid reflux.
- Elemental formula — This formula is for babies that have allergies to both milk proteins and soy milk.
- Amino acid-based formula — This formula is for babies that can’t handle milk, soy milk or elemental formula.
Food Allergies and Formula
If your baby has problems with his or her formula, including allergies or lactose intolerance, it’s very important to choose a formula that will work well with their digestive systems. You might want to talk to your baby’s pediatrician before changing formulas, as it’s possible your child has undiagnosed allergies.
Telltale signs of a formula intolerance or allergy include: excessive fussiness or crying and obvious discomfort. Your baby might seem excessively gassy or “colicky.” Other signs of intolerance include diarrhea or excessively hard stools, spitting up, vomiting, poor weight gain.
You might consider talking to you and your partner’s parents to see if either of you had any specific intolerance or allergies to specific types of baby formula. If your baby is showing any signs of an allergic reaction, be sure to consult with your pediatrician for advice.
What Does MomTricks Suggest?
As mentioned previously, the best baby formula for your little one will depend on his or her needs and age. While most babies will be fine with cow’s milk-based powder, if your child starts to show any signs that they may be allergic or intolerant, you’ll have to try other non dairy-based formulas.