Baby formulas, anyone? We all know that every mother in the world agrees to the idea of breastfeeding but as much as every mother would like to do so, some are unfortunately not just capable of producing enough breast milk because of certain and different reasons. For some mothers, the longest they can breast feed is up to three months to five months or some are never capable to breast feed at all.
Formula feeding as well as breast feeding, is a good and healthy choice for you precious little one. Choosing between them or combining both is a personal choice and will depend on what will work best for the mother and her family while considering different factors and circumstances. This choice is one that a mother should get to make for herself without fear of being judged or being made to feel guilty for whatever she may decide. If you are a mother who is choosing formula, any reason you might have for choosing it is always valid. Some moms may want to breastfeed, but are unable to produce milk. Others may experience pain or discomfort (including emotionally). And there are those that don’t want to take on the massive commitment of nursing a baby at all hours of the day and night for months on end. Whatever the case may be, having formula on hand will keep your baby happy, healthy, and growing
Everyone has to know that some parents need to use formula full time while others need formula as an addition to breast feeding. And if you are one of those parents who really need to use formula, you don’t need to worry about not being able to give the vitamins and nutrients that your babies need. Formula milk is indeed a great supplement or complement for breast milk, which would mean exclusive formula feeding is also a healthy way to feed your little one. They have vitamins and other nutrients that breast fed babies have to get from supplements, like vitamin D.
In this article, we will be talking about baby formula, its different forms and types as well as its benefits. Baby formula has been relied on by parents for many years now, formula as we know it today has been around since the 1950s and never failed parents and has been a great option for different families since then. In the end, the most important thing you can do for your precious little one is to love and nurture them – and that includes feeding them whichever way you choose. We will list down below some details and review that will truly help you choose which baby formula will work best for your baby.
DIFFERENT FORMS OF FORMULA
Powdered formula is the most popular form among parents and the most commonly used infant formula. They are very economical and are typically sold in cartons or canisters and should undergo certain steps, such as scooping the powder and adding water to prepare it for feeding but it is certainly not difficult and complicated. The instructions are mostly similar between every infant formula products and are provided and written in the packaging so you can follow them and prepare them in the correct manner.
These type of infant formula is the cheapest and the most affordable one and also it is a type of formula that is very convenient and easy to travel with and some brands offer single-use travel packets. Infant formula in powder form has a very long shelf life (be sure to check date stamps on packaging) as long as you haven’t added water yet. Mixed up formula must be fed to the baby immediately, and if not consumed it should be disposed within 24 hours.
Concentrated Liquid Formula
The liquid concentrate form also requires mixing, to have this ready you should mix equal parts of formula and water. Similar to powdered formula, you should also be sure to follow the instructions in preparing this. Since these are both liquids, you can skip the scooping part and avoid probable mess which you go through with the powdered formula.
Concentrated liquid infant formula comes in small cans and should not be given directly to babies without adding water. Similar to the powdered type, concentrated formula needs to be used and be consumed within 24 hours as well. This formula is certainly more expensive than the powdered one but is cheaper when compared to the ready-to-feed formula. Once opened, the container needs to be refrigerated and used within 48 hours (may vary), which may not be realistic if you’re formula feeding as only a supplement to breast feeding.
This ready-to-use infant formula, as the name implies, can be readily fed to your babies. This is the most convenient, easy to use, and the most costly and most expensive among all forms of infant formula. They come in cans and bottles and can be poured directly into the baby’s feeding bottle and may be given to your little ones without the extra work of measuring, mixing and adding water. Ready-to-use infant formula is also available in specialized individual bottles that can be directly attached with a nipple at the top.
When it comes to ready-to-use formula, it is very certain that there will be very minimal chance of contamination and no chance when it comes to preparation errors since you only just have to unpack, open and serve. Additionally, this is formula is totally safe and hygienic and very helpful if you have doubts on your water supply’s purity and safety. Majority of hospitals serve ready-to-use infant formula to newborns.
You do not have to refrigerate sealed and unopened containers, but if you have already opened the pack, it needs to be consumed within 48 hours. Ready-to-use formula has a short shelf life so you need to choose wisely between single-serve packs or larger volumes when buying.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF FORMULA MILK FOR BABIES
Cow’s Milk Based Formula
Most babies are used to consuming cow’s milk based formulas and do very well with it. Majority of the baby formulas commonly have cow’s milk as the main ingredient, the cow’s milk protein are changed and altered to be more similar to breast milk and to make easier for the babies to digest. These type of formula contain lactose, a type of sugar in milk, and minerals from the cow’s milk; they also contain vegetable oils, plus other minerals and the vitamins that you precious little one will need.
For those parents who are very meticulous when comes to consuming animal protein, soy-based formulas are a great option. For soy-based formulas, the plant protein is being modified to avoid difficulties in digestion. Physicians will recommend this type of formula if you are vegan, not allowed to consume animal by-products for some reason, or if your baby experiences difficulty in digesting cow-based milk formula.
These formulas do not contain lactose since they are made using soy proteins, which is why these formulas are used for babies who cannot digest lactose and for those infants with galactosemia which is a very rare condition.
Some babies, although very rare, suffer from lactose intolerance or the inability to digest lactose.
But if diagnosed, the physician will recommend a formula that has corn syrup instead of lactose. These formulas, similar to soy-based formula, are also used for galactosemia. A baby who has problems with diarrhea will not usually need a lactose-free formula and it is not advised to give this type of your formula unless your baby needs it or it is advised and recommended by the physician.
Extensively Hydrolyzed formula/Hypoallergenic formulas/Protein hydrolysate formulas:
This type of formula are of great help for infants who manifest allergic reactions to milk protein and for those with skin rashes or wheezing caused by allergies. In this formula, protein is broken down into smaller parts to make it easy for babies to digest. Physicians will recommend this type of formula for babies who face difficulty absorbing nutrients or nutrient malabsorption and for babies with multiple allergic reactions.
Hypoallergenic formulas are generally much more expensive than regular formulas.
With modernization and improved technology and studies, varieties of infant formula has also became available and emerged overtime. Metabolic formula for one is commonly recommended by doctors if your baby is ill and will require specific nutrition. Reflux formulas are those thickened with rice starch and are usually given to infants who are experiencing reflux, not gaining enough weight and who are very fussy and uncomfortable. Formulas for premature and low-birth-weight infants have extra calories and minerals to meet the needs of these infants. There are also organic formulas since some parents like to go all-organic, and that’s also an option with baby formula. For a baby formula to be considered organic, it means that it contains no genetically engineered ingredients. Other special formulas are also made for infants with heart diseases, malabsorption syndrome and problems with digesting fat and amino acids.
BENEFITS OF USING FORMULA MILK
Shared Responsibility: using formula means that you will be able to let others bottle feed your baby. May it be your husband, a family member, or a very good friend; you are able to share the bliss of being able to bond with your little bundle of joy.
Taste of Freedom: we are truly aware that mothers have already shared their bodies with their babies through nine months of the pregnancy journey. Being able to formula feed gives mothers back some of their independence, and even takes away some stresses about what to eat and what to wear.
Calorie count: for mothers, it is very important for them to know or at least have an idea on exactly how many calories their precious little ones are taking. With formula feeding, it is very possible to track how many ounces and calories babies are getting every time they get fed. While this might not be a necessity, it offers a peace of mind for many mothers out there.
Worry less on food or medicine intake: there are tons of times when a mother just badly needs a good cup of coffee or a fancy glass of wine or during those inevitable times when just really need to take medications and pills. With formula feeding, you need not worry of consuming the things that will make you restless and worried when you are breast feeding.
Plenty of variants to choose from, plus important nutrients: formula milk comes in different versions and variants and you will be able to choose the right one that will fit your baby’s needs and conditions. Additionally, these infant formulas contain the right and important nutrients and vitamins that your babies will need.
The convenience it offers: formula milk offers a good deal of convenience since mothers won’t need to carry pumps around or look for a nursing bra to grab. For mothers who are very busy because of work or other things, formula feeding reduces the amount of hassle without compromising the nutrients and vitamins you’ll be giving your little ones.
Pain elimination: having a baby suckling on your nipples for many hours in a day can be very painful. Nursing can really cause pain and may hurt because of a biting baby or breast engorgement. Formula milk decreases the pain every mother might be experiencing.
Babies feel full for a longer time: formula takes babies a little longer to digest than breast milk, according to research. That will mean babies feel fuller longer, and won’t need to eat again as quickly. More time between feedings equals more rest for mom.
BEST BABY FORMULAS
Baby’s Only Formula by Nature’s One
Baby’s Only by Nature’s One makes four types of organic baby formula which includes Regular, Regular with DHA and ARA, a soy-based version, and a lactose-free formula. Nature’s One offers a few variants for each type, so you can pick the right one that will fit your baby’s conditions and needs. This brand is very amazing since they use a non-hexane method of extracting the DHA and ARA. None of the Baby’s Only formulas contain corn syrup or palm olein oil and these ingredients are organic though they contain some synthetic ingredients such as nucleotides and taurine and also soy. These formulas come in powdered form only and is one of the most expensive formula in the market.
One distinguishing and peculiar thing about the Baby’s Only formulas is that each of them are labelled as “toddler formula”, although these formulas are very okay and truly fine to be used for infants. It has been claimed that the “toddler formula” label is used to promote and encourage breast feeding, and does not really mean that the formula is only for toddlers. The label has nothing to do with the ingredients and is indeed suitable for newborns but Nature’s One still recommends to consult your pediatrician if you are formula feeding your baby who is under a year old.
Most mothers recommend using the Organic Formula with DHA and ARA since these two are very significant and important nutrients for healthy growth. The brand additionally has a DHA Fatty Acid supplement which you can add to their standard formula.
Kroger – Comforts for Baby Formula
Comforts for Baby is Kroger’s line of baby care items and they offer a wide variety of non-genetically engineered or modified products. These baby formulas are also very affordable and will work best for parents who are on a budget without compromising the vitamins and nutrients they will be giving their babies.
The variants from Comforts include Infant Non-GMO, Advantage Non-GMO, Gentle Non-GMO, Sensitive Non-GMO, Tender Non-GMO, Toddler Beginnings, and Infant Soy. The closest formula to breast milk is the Comforts Infant Non-GMO, they are especially made and nutritionally tailored for infants, with choline and DHA to help support good brain development. The Comforts Advantage Non-GMO is also made to be similar to breast milk, providing complete nutrition for baby’s firsts to help them start strong, this variant includes essentials like lutein and DHA.
Kroger’s Comforts for Baby also develops formula for infants with sensitive plus tiny tummies, prone to colic and those who have problems with digestion. These formulas are the Gentle, Sensitive and Tender ones. For other specific and special needs of your child, this brand also offers a formula for toddlers who need to grow strong and the Infant Soy for those babies who need to be lactose-free.
Member’s Mark Baby Formula
Member’s Mark baby formula was tagged to be a great alternative by most moms. When it comes to choosing a good baby formula, Member’s Mark makes it to the cut since it is nutritionally comparable to famous infant formula brands for a lesser price!
This brand offers different formulas which include Infant, Gentle, Sensitivity, and Advantage and each of these varieties offer all the things your baby needs for the first year. Member’s Mark formula offers complete and balanced nutrition during the first 12 months, nutrients that are naturally found in breast milk, nucleotides to help promote digestive health and calcium to promote strong bone development. Mothers claim to have used this baby formula and dealt with no issues at all with their babies.
Gerber Baby Formula
Gerber has grouped their baby formulas according to its purpose and use – the supplementing, routine feeding and feeding solutions. Gerber formulas not only provide expert recommended and age specific nutrition but are also designed to bring comfort to mothers and babies. This brand makes it also easier for mothers to choose the appropriate formula for the right age since Gerber groups their formulas into stages. Stage 1 is for newborns up to 12 months, stage 2 for babies who are 6 to 12 months old, and stage 3 for those babies who are between 12 to 24 months old.
Under the supplementing category is the Gerber Good Start Gentle for Supplementing with Iron, which is an ideal choice for those moms who are breast feeding but still need to supplement since this formula offers gentle nutrition and proteins that are easy to digest.
For the routine feeding group are Gerber Good Start Grow, Gentle Concentrated Liquid, Gentle Ready to Feed, Gentle Power Formula. All of those under the routine feeding group are provided with the complete nutrition made to be as gentle as breast milk. These formulas will work best if you are exclusively formula feeding your little ones as they are complete in nutrition with a blend of DHA and probiotics which are important components found in breast milk.
The feeding solutions are made to address and offer solutions to common feeding problems or concerns and intolerances. Under this category are the soy based formulas, formulas for excessive colic and fussiness, and a hypoallergenic formula for babies who are allergic to cow’s milk protein.
Gerber, with a wide range of products and formulas, is a well-known and reliable brand to give babies the right and appropriate nutrition they need.
Gerber Soothe Baby Formula
The Gerber Soothe baby formula is a famous variant from the Gerber line and can actually be used from birth until 12 months of age, which would mean that parents may be able to use this formula as their baby’s primary source of nutrients right from birth. This formula is made of comfort proteins that are made to be easily digested by babies and DHA to aid in brain development plus iron. Gerber Soothe
The rich comfort proteins in Gerber formulas soothe your baby’s digestive system to be able to sleep soon after digestion. Many mothers claim that this non-GMO variant of Gerber formula has been ranked the best solution to colic thanks to its probiotic L. reuteri and comfort proteins which work wonderfully on colicky infants. But since it is made to reduce gas, then it might actually cause constipation instead. But keep in mind that every baby is different so you need to look for the right formula to fit your baby’s needs.
Enfamil Gentlease Baby Formula
The Enfamil Gentlease Baby formula comes in powder and ready-to-use form, these milk formulas are marketed to help babies with fussiness and colic when using the regular Enfamil ones. They are known to ease discomfort caused by a developing digestive system.
This formula will work best for tummy sensitive infants who experience having upset stomachs, this also is lactose-reduced and made to be easily digested by babies. Enfamil Gentlease is also very similar to natural breast milk and this contains all the necessary ingredients which include protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals. This formula also contains DHA and ARA for eyes, hearts and nervous system health. Proteins in this formula are partially hydrolyzed or broken down to ease the digestion process for the baby, this ensures that the delicate digestive system of babies are not overwhelmed also to avoid common digestion issues on babies.
The ready-to-use plastic 8 ounce bottles are very convenient because you can directly feed them to your baby by just attaching a nipple on a bottle. While the powder form of the Gentlease formula also boasts on being able to be easily mixed well, not creating bubbles and leaving no clumps on the mixture.
Meijer Baby formula
This store brand, although underrated, is very good and cheaper than most name brands. Mothers who have tried the Enfamil products claim that the Meijer ones are the cheaper version of it, working as well as the good brands for a much cheaper price.
DHA, choline and prebiotics are also included in the ingredients of this store brand providing almost equal qualities that name brands can offer. When it comes to infant nutrition, quality is paramount and there is no compromise that is why even with a cheaper price, Meijer offers a good quality of formula that might work best for your baby.
A2 Baby Formula
The a2 Platinum infant and toddler formula range us the first and only products where the beta-casein protein comes from cows specially selected to produce the A2 beta-casein protein type (thus the name) and free from the A1 protein. Most formulas are based on cow’s milk where the ratio of whey to casein is changed so that the combination is closer to that of breast milk. Protein in cow’s milk are grouped into two, whey which consists around 20% of total protein and casein which consists 80% of the total protein. Beta-casein is one of the three major casein proteins in milks and makes up about one third of the total milk protein, it transports essential minerals and nutrients such as calcium and provides important minerals for building strong muscles and bones.
This milk formula is not lactose free since the brand trusts lactose to provide a good source of carbohydrate. The A2 baby formula includes nucleotides and prebiotics which support the developing immune system or the development of healthy bacteria to help support digestion.
Nestle Good Start Baby Formula
Nestle Good Start formula comes in all forms, the powder, concentrated, and ready-to-feed formulas. These well-known formulas are also divided into Stage 1 and Stage 2 formula groups. Stage 1 is suitable to be given from birth onwards while stage 2 is recommended for babies who are 6 months and older.
There are many reasons to love the Nestle Good start formulas. First, like any other infant formula, this one promises proteins that are broken down to smaller fragments for easy digestion. This formula also reduces the development of allergic reaction and because your little ones deserve the best, the Good Start formula contains probiotic B. lactis which is a beneficial bacteria that contributes to your baby’s healthy digestive flora and your baby’s protection. DHA and ARA helps in brain development that is why it is also included in this product.
The Nestle Good Start Baby formulas come in easy-to-use and convenient packaging with clear and easy to understand labels that will keep up with you and your fast-paced everyday life.
Up and up Baby Formula
Up and up Baby formula is Target’s store brand milk formula. Mothers claim that this store brand formula works as good as the Enfamil Gentlease one and is a lot cheaper!
This baby formula boasts on being able to help with baby’s tummy troubles and colic. The Up and up baby formula is very easy to prepare and is also easily digested, although some mothers complain of constipation that their babies experience. All in all, the Up and up baby formula gives parents a great way to save money and having good formula milk quality at the same time. This formula is definitely half the price and twice as nice!
Baby Orajel Naturals Nighttime Teething Gel Formula
Every parent knows that babies need a good night sleep, but when they are teething this could seem impossible. Teething makes babies have trouble in falling and staying asleep because of mouth pain and sore gums. But worry not since you can help them relieve pain through Orajel teething gel. Orajel is the number one teething gel used by pediatricians and relieves pain and discomfort safely, effectively, and almost instantly. The gel works by soothing painful gums to help your little ones to rest comfortably and stay asleep for the rest of the night.
This nighttime teething gel is made of benzocaine formula and recommended for children who are 2 years and older. Also, this comes in a pleasing cherry flavor so that your baby won’t have to suffer weird and medicine like tastes.
Baby Brezza Formula Dispenser
The Baby Brezza Formula Pro Dispenser uses worldwide patent-pending technology to measure and mix water and powdered formula to the perfect temperature of about 98 degrees and good consistency. With the convenience of just a push of a button, you can prepare a bottle within seconds with no clumps or air bubbles. The water and formula powder are stored in airtight compartments right in the machine, so it’s always ready when your baby gets hungry. The Baby Brezza Formula Pro works with all bottle sizes and all formula brands and types. You can also choose the amount of formula you want to make – 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 ounces. The easiest, most efficient way to prepare baby’s bottles is now right at your fingertips!
Most common problems that parents encounter is that the milk tends to overflow, remember to carefully follow manufacturers’ instructions to avoid confusion and troubles in preparing the milk for you baby.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING BABY FORMULA
The nutritional content for your precious little ones should be significant and carefully administered.
Intake of excessive protein for an infant could contribute to obesity. Baby formulas have different protein content; some are usually much higher than others. 10 Grams of protein per day is the right amount for infants aged between 0-6 months. Ensure that you look at the packaging for the protein content and choose a formula that has the according protein count per 100 ml.
Carbohydrates are the main energy source for each and every infant because they are essential for proper growth and development. Giving the right amounts of carbohydrates will help to maintain a healthy body weight and offer the most favorable growth for the infant. 95 Grams of carbohydrates per day is enough for the baby.
As mentioned earlier, baby formula comes in different forms. There are a number of different brands that are officially authorized and meet the required standards. Baby formula comes in three forms; ready to use formulas, liquid concentrate and powders.
Allergies are known to be genetic; therefore your baby is most likely to have the same allergies that came up in your family before. In such cases doctors advise to use hydrolyzed formula which is easy to digest and less likely to give your baby an allergic reaction.
It is important to consider your financial capability before deciding the type of baby formula you want for your baby. The most economical type of formula is the homemade baby formula. If you are not in a position to purchase baby formulas from the shop, a healthy well-nourished homemade baby formula can fill that void.
Ingredients Included in the Formula
There are 2 major controversial ingredients that can be found in baby formula. DHA (Omega-3) and ARA (Omega-6) are ingredients that are considered the best kinds of fatty acids for infants. These two ingredients are known for brain and nerve development. Naturally DHA and ARA are found in breast milk, fish oils and eggs. However, added DHA and ARA is usually processed with the toxic hexane. Manufacturers claim that only small amounts can be found in the formula, however, you should think about whether or not you want to feed it to your baby.
This factor is usually overlooked by many mothers. It is important to consider a baby formula that will fit your baby according to his/her age. It is advisable to introduce ready to use formulas to infants less than 6 months old. Whether the baby is fully formula fed or mixed fed, you need to use the right breast milk substitute until 12 months of age. Infants of up to 6 months usually use the same type of baby formula which contains 10 grams of proteins and 95 grams of carbohydrates every day. From 6-12 months you can use a higher amount of proteins and carbohydrates too.
Understanding the Label
Manufacturers and sellers are keen on making new products for baby formulas, because they want to make profit. There might appear formulas in the market, which seem to be an improvement to the previous products, but more than often the ingredients are usually the same or just slightly altered.
It is not advisable to keep on using different types of baby formula; therefore sticking to a specific one is advisable. Changing baby formula might interfere with the baby’s digestion and can cause allergies.
After choosing the best formula for your baby, make sure you maintain high standards of hygiene, which includes washing your hands before handling your baby’s formula. The feeding bottle should be rinsed with hot water before mixing powder or liquid concentrates for baby’s formulas.
FIVE FORMULA MISTAKES TO AVOID BY Sandra Gordon
- Putting an unfinished bottle of formula back in the refrigerator for another time. Harmful bacteria from your baby’s saliva can travel through the nipple to the formula and multiply in the bottle, possibly making your baby sick.
Instead: Throw out unfinished infant formula and start fresh. If your baby is likely to consume less than a full bottle, you can pour the amount your baby typically doesn’t eat into a clean bottle first and put that bottle in the refrigerator for later. Bottles of formula can keep in the fridge for up to two days. Keep track of freshness by labeling and dating bottles with time and date it was prepared. Instruct caregivers such as nannies, au pairs and grandparents to do the same.
- Buying infant formula secondhand. No matter how cheap infant formula is on eBay, Craig’s List, from online auctions or at a flea market, pass it up. You don’t know what you’re getting. The formula could be fine. But yet, counterfeit formula can be illegally relabeled to misrepresent its true content or quality, such as changing the “use by” date. It could happen in the secondhand market.
Instead: Buy store brand baby formula at mainstream retailers, such as CVS, Target, Sam’s Club, Walgreen’s, Walmart, Kroger and Babies R Us. It’s also regionally available at Albertson’s, BJs, Bloom, Dominick’s, Food Lion, Fred Meyer, Frys, Giant, Hannaford, HEB, HyVee, Meijer, Pamida, Raley’s, Ralphs, Randalls, Rite Aid, Safeway, Stater, Stop & Shop, Sweetbay, Tom Thumb, Wegman’s and Winn Dixie.
- Stretching infant formula by adding extra water. That’s a big no-no because diluted formula won’t meet your baby’s nutritional needs and can cause water intoxication, which is potentially life threatening. No cost savings is worth that risk. Similarly, don’t reduce your baby’s feedings to save money either. Babies grow faster during their first year than at any other time of life. Reducing feedings can have serious health and developmental consequences.
Instead: Save by buying store brand formula to save up to 50 percent* compared to the cost of brand-name formula. Follow the preparation directions on the formula package exactly every time.
- Buying formula in dented containers. Even if it’s being sold at a deep discount, formula in a dented container isn’t a good deal because structural damage to the package may allow air to enter, which causes formula to spoil and become unsafe for your baby to consume.
Instead: Inspect the packaging and put only perfect-looking packages of formula into your shopping cart.
- Feeding your baby a bottle of formula that’s been lingering in your diaper bag. After preparing infant formula, the clock starts ticking. If the formula hasn’t been in the refrigerator or an insulated cooler, you’ve got an hour to feed it to your baby.
Instead: Throw away formula that has been at room temperature for more than an hour and make a new batch.