Infant baby formula is a substitute for breast milk. If, for any reason, breastfeeding does not work for a baby, infant baby formula comes into the picture.
Understanding different types of Infant Baby Formulas:
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To provide the best infant baby formula to your child, you should deeply understand the different types of infant formula available in the market. There are mainly three types of infant baby formula that come in three forms: powder form, liquid concentrate form and ready-to-feed form.
Three main types are;
- Cow’s milk-based
- Specialised formula
Of these three types, 80% of the total sold formula is cow milk-based. In this type, the milk of the cow is treated to make the protein more digestible by the babies and some amount of lactose is added to make it similar to breast milk. If babies are intolerant to lactose in cow milk, then you can switch to soy-based infant baby formula. The last type is designed for babies with special conditions, for example, premature babies.
Benefits of using Infant Baby Formula:
New moms often get confused about whether to feed their children breast milk or infant baby formula milk. You should not feel guilty about choosing any of the above. Here are some benefits of choosing infant baby formula for your child:
- Your partner can also come into the picture and feed your baby when you are unavailable.
- As infant baby formula is difficult to digest, it will keep the baby full longer.
- You can drink wine or alcohol without worrying about your child because alcohol is a complete no if you are breastfeeding.
- There is no need for dietary restrictions as a mom because your food choices are not affecting your baby’s health as you are not breastfeeding.
Choosing the right formula for your baby’s needs:
Protein, carbohydrates and fats are the three main ingredients of any infant baby formula. So you need to know how much of these nutrients and what type of these nutrients have been used in the baby formula. Of these three ingredients, protein is the most important as it decides the digestibility and comfort of the infant formula.
Before choosing the right baby formula for your child, you must know that every baby is unique. So, there is no such infant formula as the perfect Formula. So you must know your baby’s health conditions and nutrient needs and choose the best for her. For this, you can consider taking suggestions from doctors.
Comparing powdered, liquid and ready-to-feed formulas:
As mentioned above, infant baby formula comes in three different forms. The powdered formula is to be mixed with water per the instructions given in the packages to feed the baby. Similarly, liquid formula must be mixed with water according to the instructions before feeding the baby. To save time, you can prepare enough for an entire day and refrigerate it. But you need to provide the formula within 24 hours of making it. You can not feed it after 24 hours, even refrigerating it.
Another thing to keep in mind: if your baby doesn’t finish a bottle, do not reuse the bottle or mix it with more formula. Because your baby’s saliva has been mixed with the formula, it can create germs that can make your baby sick.
Ready-to-feed formulas are different from these two. Once opened, it needs to be used carefully. It is the most expensive option out of these three. But it is convenient and takes less time.
Essential safety tips for preparing and feeding Infant formula:
- Buy products with longer expiry times.
- Sterilise every part of the bottle before you start feeding your baby; it will help protect against germs.
- Wash and sanitise your hands before preparing the formula milk.
- Use clean water. You can boil and disinfect tap water to make it safe to use.
- Testing the temperature before feeding your baby is necessary because it can burn your baby’s mouth.
- If boiling the water, let it cool and come to room temperature before adding the formula.
Organic and Non-GMO formula: What you need to know:
Organic formulas are those infant baby formulas that have met higher standards to get that certificate. The ingredients used in the preparation of the formula are grown in organic conditions without much use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers. So clearly, it is beneficial for your baby as it exposes them less to chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
Non-GMO formulas are those in which there are no genetically modified organisms. All organic baby formulas are non-GMO, but not all non-GMO baby formulas are organic.
Supplementing with Formula: When and How to introduce:
Due to various reasons, you may have to supplement your baby’s nutrition with infant baby formula and breast milk. It may be due to less breast milk production, less breast milk consumption by the baby or any other reasons. But if it happens, how do you introduce it to the baby?
Start with nursing and then give your baby the pumped milk. Then, use formulas to make up for the difference. It is advised not to mix breast milk with formula. It leads to the wastage of formula if your baby does not finish the bottle. Also, it affects your child’s protein intake and retention of various micronutrients and the digestibility of the mixed milk. So, instead of mixing these two, try alternating with one another.
Caring for your baby’s digestive health with the right formula:
As mentioned above, every baby is unique. So you can not choose any one infant baby formula and say that it is the best. Rather, you should choose the formula that suits your child the best. So, if your child has any special conditions or specific digestive issues, you should consult your doctor before feeding your baby any formula milk.
You should be aware of what nutrients or ingredients your baby can not digest properly and choose a baby formula that does not contain those ingredients. So, choose the right formula according to your baby’s health.
Breast milk and Formula: Achieving a balanced feeding routine:
Do not completely switch one day from exclusive breastfeeding to infant baby formula feeding. It will affect both your and your baby’s health. So, slowly introduce formula feeding into your baby’s routine. Start with one or two bottles a day and gradually build it up. Also, formula feeding can change your baby’s bowel movements. He can also refuse breastfeeding at times.
So be patient. Once you start combining both, you will find out your sweet spot and the best combination according to you and your baby’s needs. No one can tell you the balanced routine for your baby; rather, you can find it out by slowly adding it to your baby’s feeding routine.
Common Myths and facts about infant baby formula:
- Baby won’t bond as closely as with you as a mother if you start formula feeding
- Combining breastfeeding with formula feeding will cause nipple confusion
- Formula feeding will not affect your baby’s sleep.
- Infant baby formula is not milk. It just tries to mirror the nutrients available in the breast milk in the best way possible, keeping the baby’s digestive health in mind.
As a mother, you know your baby the best. So stop listening to everybody. If you want to formula-feed your baby, go for it. Consult your doctor, find the perfect formula for your baby’s health, and start feeding. Motherhood is bliss; do not be confused. Rather, embrace it the way it is!