Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, feeding a baby is hard work. If you’re using baby formula, you might be overwhelmed trying to decipher all the long lists of ingredients and distinguish among the dozens of brands and types available.
There are several options available when it comes to baby formula, and we are here to navigate the landscape. Once you’ve used the guide below to settle on a formula for your little one, check out these Fawn diaper bags to make feeding on the go even simpler.
What’s in Baby Formula?
There are certain essential compounds and nutrients that are naturally found in breast milk. Many baby formulas today are made with these ingredients, as well as non-GMO and organic ingredients to closely mimic breast milk.
Iron is crucial for blood formation. In the early years, especially for premature babies, iron supplementation can be helpful.
DHA is essential for healthy eye, brain, and nervous system development
Prebiotics and probiotics are necessary for immune support and for healthy digestion through gut microbiome maturation.
Antioxidants also support the immune system and help decrease inflammation.
· DHA and ARA
· Milk fat globule membrane (MFGM)
Types of Baby Formula
There are three main types and preparations of baby formula, which we’ll explore here.
Baby Formula Preparations
This type of formula is the least expensive and must be mixed with water.
This type of formula is a liquid but, like powder, also needs to be mixed with water.
Ready-to-use formula is the most convenient type of formula, which means it’s the most expensive. However, since it doesn’t require water, it’s the best type of formula to add to your diaper bag essentials when you’re on the go.
Baby Formula Types
All commercial infant formulas, whether name brand or store brand, are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There are three major types available:
Cow Milk Protein-Based
The majority of baby formula is made with cow's milk, which has been altered to resemble breast milk. This special formulation delivers the right balance of nutrients while making the formula easier to digest. Most babies are fine with cow milk protein-based formula. However, some infants have digestive issues or allergies and need other types of infant formula.
Soy-based formulas are a useful option for parents who want to exclude animal proteins from their baby’s diet or for babies who are allergic to or intolerant of cow's milk formula.
Protein hydrolysate formulas are ideal for infants who can't tolerate cow milk-based or soy-based baby formulas. This type of formula is made from broken-down or hydrolyzed protein. Extensively hydrolyzed formulas are another option for infants with protein allergies.
There is No “Best” Formula
It’s important to understand that all formulas – store-brand and name brand – are safe. Store-brand formulas are safe and inexpensive. All infant formulas sold in the United States are required to meet the FDA’s nutrient standards. While manufacturers may make formulas that vary in their recipes, it’s required by the FDA that all formulas contain the minimum recommended amount of nutrients that infants need.
Choosing the Best for Your Baby
Every baby is different, which is why some do better with some types of formula than others. Healthy, full-term infants typically start with a cow-milk–based formula. While most babies will do well with the traditional cow’s milk protein formula, there are many formulas available that have different or added components.
Remember, the best formula is one your baby will accept. Signs of formula intolerance include:
· Unexplained fussiness
· Spitting up
· Excessive gas
· Diarrhea (which may be bloody)
· Poor weight gain
If you notice your little one struggling with their formula, it could help to try another type. Always get your pediatrician’s advice before changing formulas.