It is true that breastfeeding is the best gift a mother can give to her baby. It helps your baby to ward off many infections and meets the nutrients requirement needed by your baby. But sometimes, there are certain situations when breastfeeding is not possible. At such times, you may need to choose a baby formula for feeding your little one.
What to Look for In a Baby Formula?
There are plenty of things which should be kept in mind while choosing a particular infant formula for your baby.
- Your infant is more prone to infections as the digestive and immune systems are not developed enough to ward off infections. You need to take extra care while choosing and preparing your infant’s formula.
- While purchasing a baby formula, you must consider the form it comes in and also which type of protein and carbohydrate it contains which can suit your baby and your family’s lifestyle too.
Different Forms of Infant Formula:
There are three different forms of baby formula available
- Ready to use
- Liquid concentrate
1. Powdered Baby Formula:
This is the most inexpensive and environment friendly option for baby formula. It occupies little space while transportation and in your kitchen.
- This form takes a little more time for preparation and it is a must that you follow the directions to prepare as given on the label.
- It has a short shelf-life of one month after the container is opened.
- Canned powder formula contains less BPA (chemical Bisphenol A) which is found in the lining of cans.
2. Ready To Use Baby Formula:
This is the easiest way to prepare formula for your baby as it does not require mixing or measuring, just open and serve to your baby.
- Generally, hospitals will give this formula to your baby.
- It is hygienic and most suitable when you are not sure that you will get safe water to prepare feed for your baby.
- It comes at a price (as compared to the other two forms discussed here) as it costs 20% more per ounce than the powdered form.
- This form has a very short shelf-life as it has to be consumed within 48 hours of opening the can.
3. Liquid Concentrate Form:
This form of formula needs to be mixed with equal amounts of safe drinking water.
- Liquid form is little less expensive than the ready to use formula and also occupies less storage space.
- When compared to powdered formula, it is little expensive, but easy to prepare.
Different Types of Baby Formula:
You must know about the type of baby formula you are getting for your baby as it should suit your baby’s needs. It is recommended that you must stick to one type and not switch to other types, even when your baby is having problems in digesting it at first.
Some babies can have issues like gas, spitting up and colic which are totally unrelated to the diet. Many times, these can be caused due to still-developing gastrointestinal tract. Thus, it is advised to try out any formula for a couple of weeks and if, after that too, your baby is having a problem, consult your pediatrician for switching the type of formula.
The types of baby formula are as follows:
1. Cow Milk Based Baby Formula:
This form contains just the right balance of carbohydrate, proteins and fats required by your baby. Cow’s milk is the main ingredient found in most formula nowadays and most of the babies do well with this type only.
2. Soy Based Baby Formula:
When your baby has problem in digesting cow’s milk, you can give this type of formula. It contains plant protein and is easily digested by babies. You can also give this formula if your baby is lactose intolerant as it contains carbohydrate in sucrose or glucose form, not in lactose form.
3. Lactose-Free Baby Formula:
If your baby is lactose intolerant, your doctor will advise you this type of baby formula. It contains different types of sugar as lactose is replaced with corn syrup.
4. Special Formula For Premature Babies:
If your baby is born with low birth weight, your pediatrician will recommend this type of formula. It contains more proteins, calories and medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are the more easily absorbed type of fat. MCTs amount varies with different brands and your doctor will advise you the right one for your baby. This formula will help your little one to gain just the right amount of body weight.
5. Extensively Hydrolyzed Baby Formula:
When your baby has problem digesting larger proteins, especially when your baby has multiple allergies or a common issue of preemies (trouble in absorbing nutrients), your doctor will recommend this formula. In this type of formula, the protein is broken into smaller parts which can be easily digested by your baby.
6. Metabolic Baby Formula:
If your baby is suffering with some disease and needs special nutrition, your doctor will advise this type of formula.
7. Human Milk Fortifier Baby Formula:
This type of formula is given to breastfeed babies having special requirements. Some formulas of this type are sometimes needed to be mixed with breast milk and fed alternately with mother’s milk.
[ Read: Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding ]
These are some of the things you need to know about infant formula before giving it to your baby. Your pediatrician will better advise you about which one is the best best infant formula for your little one.
Share with us whether you will prefer infant formula feeding for your darling.
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