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Everything You Need to Know About Infant Formula
Buying infant formula can be overwhelming if you don't know what to look for. Luckily, here's everything you need to know right here!
Having a baby can be so exciting and rewarding, but also a bit stressful. When it comes to infant formula, no doubt you have a lot of questions.
For instance, you might be wondering which formula is best. Is soy better than cow's milk formulas? Or should you go for generic brands instead?
To answer all your questions, we've come up with a small guide to help you understand things better. So, without further ado, let's jump right into it.
The Three Major Types of Infant Formula
To start with, there are three major types of infant formula. They are all regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Here are a few baby formula reviews you can take a look at.
Protein-Based Cow Milk Formulas
Most infant formulas now are made with cow's milk that has been altered so that it's similar to breast milk. Not only does it give the formula the perfect balance of nutrients, but it also makes it easier to digest.
While most babies take to these cow's milk formulas well, some might be allergic to the proteins present in the milk. For them, it's recommended to go with other types of infant formulas like soy-based ones.
Soy-based formulas can be best for your baby if you're thinking about cutting out animal proteins from their diet. Not only that, but it's also a good alternative for babies who are allergic or lactose intolerant.
That being said, there's also a possibility for babies who are allergic to cow’s milk formulas to be allergic to soy-based formulas as well.
Protein Hydrolysate Formulas
Protein hydrolyzed formulas contain protein that is broken down either partially or extensively into smaller sizes as opposed to cow's milk and soy-based formulas.
This type of extensively hydrolyzed formula is best suited for babies who can't tolerate both soy and cow's milk-based formulas because of their protein allergies. Moreover, if your baby is premature or has a specific medical condition, there are specialized formulas for them as well. So don't worry too much!
The Three Forms for Preparing Infant Formula
Moving on from the types of infant formulas, it's time to know about the three forms they come in. Of course, the best choice will always depend on your level of convenience and budget, so figuring those out first will minimize a lot of confusion.
Powdered Formula and Concentrated Liquid Formula
Parents who already have experience with formulas will tell you that powdered formulas are the least expensive. They are also very easy to prepare—each scoop of powdered formula has to be mixed well with water first.
This is also the same for concentrated liquid formulas as well. Mixing with water is a must!
Ready-to-use formulas are deemed the most convenient because you don't need to mix them with water to feed them to your baby. However, it's also the most expensive kind of formula you'll come across.
Remember to always wash your hands thoroughly before handling formulas. Read and follow the directions before you do any mixing, and don't forget to read the storage instructions as well!
Essential Tips for Feeding
Now that we've learned about the types and forms of infant formulas, let's take a look at some of these essential feeding tips:
No Need for Force
While as a parent it might fill your heart with joy to see your newborn infant finish a full bottle, the truth is they will only eat about two or three ounces every few hours.
It's not a good idea to force-feed them when they're no longer interested, so avoid doing that at all costs.
Always Read the Instructions First!
It's in both of your interests to read the instructions on your baby's formula before you feed it to them. They provide detailed and precise instructions on how much water you need to add to powders and concentrates. If you end up adding too little water, there's a chance it can cause dehydration and even diarrhea as well.
Avoid Watering Down the Formula
Formulas will run out, and while we understand that not all parents have the budget to keep up with it, don't try to water the formula down. Not only will it deprive your baby of getting the necessary nutrients, but there's also a small but serious risk of water intoxication.
What this means is that the overconsumption of water can harm an infant's electrolyte balance. This can cause brain damage and seizures.
If your budget is tight, then try looking for social service agencies, food pantries, or county health departments. They can help you get the funds or formula you need for your baby.
Slowly and in Small Amounts
If your baby has a persistent problem with spitting up, then practice feeding them a little less formula. It also helps to feed them slowly; there's no need to rush.
Always remember to limit your baby's playtime and keep them upright after you've fed them.
When it Comes to Cow’s Milk
It's recommended that you avoid giving regular cow's milk to an infant who is only a few months old. The protein present in cow's milk formula has been processed or cooked so that it's easier for babies to digest than regular milk.
If you have an infant over the age of one, and if they enjoy it, then it's safe to give them regular cow's milk. But keep in mind, it should only be whole milk and not nonfat or reduced-fat milk. Neither of these types has the calories or fat that your growing baby needs.
In conclusion, we'd like to say that we know how precious your infant is to you and how you want to give them the best of everything. With a little bit of research and asking the right questions to your pediatrician, we're sure you can find the formula that best suits your tiny one.
We hope everything we've provided here helps you understand infant formulas better.