Finding a formula to fit all of your baby’s needs doesn’t have to be difficult. We are breaking down the 3 most crucial factors to look for when filling their bottle.
Formula for infants is made using a variety of ingredients. The end result is a product your family can rely on to nourish your little one. With so many brands and types of formula on the market, finding one for your baby can be confusing.
In this article we explore which formula is best, and what parents should consider when feeding their baby.
You will learn
- Best practices for switching formula
- What formula is made up of
- Why formula contains additives
- How to choose the best formula
All formula sold in supermarkets within the USA are FDA regulated and safe to consume. There is no bad formula being sold, but there are factors to consider when choosing “the best” formula for your baby. The best formula is ultimately the one that best aligns with your baby’s needs, your families’ budget and personal preferences.
Factors to consider:
- Convenience and usefulness (pre-portioned, liquid or solid)
- Addresses your child’s needs (food allergy, food sensitivity, premature)
- Ingredients & additives
Beginning or switching formulas can be done safely at home. Here are our best practices for trying a new formula:
- Assure the expiration has not passed
- Review all ingredients, brand to brand amounts of vitamins and additives can vary
- Follow preparation instructions, serving size may be different than your previous brand
- Do not feed a whole bottle of a new formula, perform an allergy test with a small dose to start
- If baby shows signs of allergic reaction contact your doctor and discontinue use of the formula
- Once prepared, serve at room temperature or refrigerate
What’s in my baby’s formula?
Baby formula is an artificial replacement for breast milk. It is designed to mimic the nutrients of breast milk and should never be replaced with regular cow’s milk. The mixture used in formula can vary, with differing bases, additives and nutrients.
The bases of formula can be broken down into 3 different categories:
Dairy or whey protein-based formula makes up the majority of the market. Cow’s milk is altered to be more easily digested by babies. It contains many of the same nutrients as breast milk. Review the ingredients of these formulas as they often contain large amounts of sugar, oil and iron. These ingredients make the macronutrients of formula more similar to breast milk, which contains natural sugars and fats. However these ingredients may not be best for your baby in large amounts.
For parents seeking formula free of animal proteins, soy-based products are a great solution. Soy based formulas and other non-dairy formulas are a great option for infants who are milk intolerant or allergic. If you believe your baby is allergic to milk or dairy contact your doctor before switching to soy. In some cases babies with milk sensitivity may also be intolerant of soy.
Protein hydrolysate formula
Hydrolysate formulas are made up of pre-digested proteins. If your baby has difficulty with both milk based and soy based formula this may be the solution. However, this is not the best protein for all children, and should only be taken following the advice of your doctor. This formula is a great solution for babies with food allergies or sensitivity.
However, hydrolysate formula does not prevent or reduce your babies chances of developing an allergy!
Organic, lactose-free, and special formulas are also increasingly popular.
The ingredients in your babies formula as well as the additives are the best indicators of formula suitability.
What are additives?
Adults can have a negative association with the word “additive”. For babies, additives are ingredients added to formula to further mimic the nutritional value of breast milk. These additives have varying reports of effectiveness and may not work the same way as when consumed in breast milk. Vitamins and minerals are present in all formulas as a type of additive. Specific additives you may want in a formula include:
- Beta Carotene
- Probiotics and prebiotics
How to choose the best formula
Choosing a formula can be broken down into 3 steps.
- Consult your doctor for a recommendation based on your babies needs and health. Most babies are safe to consume widely available dairy or non-dairy based formulas.
- Choose a formula with the additives and nutrients appropriate for your baby’s age and developmental needs
- Observe your baby when feeding for allergic reactions or sensitivity to formula.
If your baby can drink their formula without any issues, it is likely the best formula for your baby. Some babies are initially resistant when trying a new formula due to difference in taste and consistency.
Can I use Ready! Set! Food! with formula?
Ready. Set. Food! is designed to mix easily with both formula and breast milk. Formula contains a variety of additives and nutrients that prepare your baby for development.
Ready. Set. Food! gently introduces the most common food allergens, including peanut, egg and milk, to your baby. With Ready. Set. Food! added to formula you can safely and easily introduce food allergens to your baby.
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