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Niche Topics (Pregnancy and Kids) is all about practical parenting advice and parenting
skills to help you deal with common parenting challenges from toddlerhood to teen
years. You’ll find tons of healthy food ideas and easy-to-make kids meals, fun activity
ideas and creative crafts projects that kids love to do and play!
If for some reasons you're unable to breastfeed your baby or decide not to, the next
best alternative is commercially prepared iron fortified baby formula.
The kind of formula you choose depends on the needs of your baby and your budget.
Formulas are prepared according to FDA regulations, nutritionally complete and safe
for your baby.
However, some babies (premature babies or babies with allergies) require special
infant formula. Your pediatrician may recommend you get a formula with certain additives
or nutrients. Request for any new parent packets which your pediatrician received
from formula companies. They often contain coupons that you can use to save money.
How Do I Know Which Formula Is Right for My Baby?
Selecting infant formula can be daunting for most parents. In general, there are
3 main types of infant formula – milk-based, soy-based and specialty formulas for
specific infant problems.
In addition to basic formula types, you can also find lactose free formula, formula
supplemented with DHA and ARA, and formula for premature babies. All formulas are
fortified with iron, Vitamin D and contain lactose.
Many brand-name formulas are also available as store brands, but you should read
and compare nutritional labels to ensure that the generic brand offers the same nutritional
value as the more expensive brand-name formula.
When possible, choose powdered infant formula over liquid infant formula. Powdered
formulas have lower rate of BPA (Bisphenol A) leaching than liquid. If you're using
ready-to-feed prepared liquid formula, choose Similac quart size plastic containers
as these are BPA-free.
If not, then consider a glass container over canned for prepared liquid formula.
According to a Enviromental Working Group (EWG) report, metal cans of liquid prepared
formula had the highest concentrations of BPA while glass containers will only have
BPA lining in the metal lid.
Milk Based Formulas
Milk based formulas are manufactured from cow's milk. They're available as basic
formula and as a predigested formula for lactose intolerant babies.
Cow's milk based infant formula is developed from modifying and treating regular
cows milk. The protein quality is improved and has reduced salt levels. A range of
different fats is added and the milk is supplemented with 13 essential Vitamins and
11 essential minerals including iron and calcium.
Goat's milk is slowly gaining in popularity among parents as they feel it's better
for both baby and the environment.
Using goat's milk is probably fine but goat's milk only contain about 10% of the
folic acid in cow's milk. If you plan to use goat's milk, go for a brand that has
been fortified with folic acid. On the plus side, goat's milk formula contains higher
levels of copper and antioxidant, selenium.
Some parents believe that lactose intolerant babies will fare better when switched
to goat's milk. Whilst it's true that goat's milk does contain lower levels of lactose,
it's probably best switching to soy based formula or a lactose free formula of cow's
Soy Based Formulas
Soy based formula is also becoming more popular these days as an alternative to milk
based formulas for lactose intolerant babies or for babies that are raised vegetarian
Strictly speaking, soy is not milk as it's derived from whole soy beans or soy protein
isolates. When soy based infant formula is produced, it's supplemented with essential
fatty acids, vegetable oils, and carbohydrate in the form of maltodextrins, corn
syrup solids or sucrose. Other essential Vitamins and minerals, including calcium
and iron are then added to soy based formulas.
You can find brands such as Enfamil ProSobee, Similac Isomil, and Nestle Good Start
Supreme Soy available on the market.
Usually, specialty formulas are only prescribed when the baby has a specific health
condition such as heart disease, malabsorption, an inability to digest fats or other
conditions that neither regular milk-based or soy formula can address the problem
Specialty hypo-allergenic formulas are available for babies with Cows Milk Protein
Allergy (CMPA) or Milk, Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI). In most countries these specialty
formulas require a doctor's prescription.
Some babies may have a tough time ingesting certain types or brands of infant formulas.
If that happens, you might want to experiment around until you find a formula that
best satisfy your baby's needs.