How to Choose the Right Baby Formula
Scientists say that breastfeeding is a better choice than feeding your baby with formula, but breastfeeding may not be an option for some mommies.
Choosing the right baby formula can be a real ordeal for many moms. How do you know which one will be best for your baby? With hundreds of brands to choose from, the task doesn’t get any easier.
To end your suffering, we’ve decided to give you a hand with a few tips on what to look for when deciding on a formula. We’ll also give you a selection of the best organic formulas on the market today, so let’s begin.
Cow’s Milk Formula
Doctors usually recommend formulas made with cow's milk because these have the nutritional value that is the closest to breast milk. These are usually fortified with vitamins and minerals, all which can help prevent diseases in your newborn.
Most of these outline the fact that they contain DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid) added to them. These are considered to be important in the development of the eyes and the brain, but there simply isn’t enough research to confirm this.
Soy Milk Formula
There is a chance your baby might be lactose intolerant or cow milk is simply too harsh on your baby’s digestive tract. Or maybe you want to give your baby a vegan diet and you’re looking for an alternative, in which case soy milk formula is a good option.
While many parents pick soy milk formula because it’s considered to be more ‘natural’ and want to avoid giving their baby a formula that contains animal products, doctors say that this type should be given if the baby has difficulties processing a cow’s milk formula or suffers from galactosemia - a genetic condition which affects the ability to dissolve galactose, a milk sugar. But of course, you can resort to soy milk formula if you want to raise your baby vegan, but make sure you consult with a pediatrician before doing so.
Hydrolyzed formulas are specifically made for babies who are allergic to cow's milk protein, or who have difficulties breaking down the protein on their own. They aren’t free of cow’s milk proteins, they just contain them in a smaller, broken downsize, making them easier to digest.
You might come across hydrolyzed formulas that have some things written on them like partially hydrolyzed and extensively hydrolyzed, and these don’t have anything to do with the amount of nutrition they have, but rather with the milk proteins in them. Partially hydrolyzed means that the proteins are broken down to smaller sizes in order to ensure easier digestion. Extensively hydrolyzed are broken down to an even smaller size, and these are considered to be hypoallergenic.
Prescription And Specialized Formulas
There are some specialized formulas, some of which are available only through prescription. These shouldn’t be your first choice, as they are very expensive. Try them out only if your pediatrician suggests it and if regular formulas are unsuitable for you baby.
Formulas For Different Age Groups
Read the instructions written on the formula. There are formulas that have ‘starter’, or ‘stage 1’ written on them, meaning they are suitable for babies that were just born, so newborns to up to 1 year olds.
Then there are formulas that say ‘stage 2’ or ‘follow-on’, and these are suitable for babies aged 6 months and more.
The nutritional needs of the baby change as they grow, so make sure you get the appropriate formula.
Look For Formulas With Added Nutrients
Formulas usually contain most nutrients that your baby needs, but some of them may lack some essential nutrients. Most formulas try to mimic breast milk, but breast milk doesn’t contain a lot of iron. Look for formulas that are fortified with iron and which contain less of some potentially unwanted chemicals. Also, the iron (and other nutrients) from formulas is not 100% absorbable, so with that said, avoid formulas low in iron.
Simply said, look for organic formulas.
See How Your Baby Reacts To The Formula
Having the most popular or the most expensive formula on the market doesn’t mean that it’s the best one for your baby. Every baby reacts differently to formulas. After finding the formula you think will satisfy your baby’s nutritional needs, the next step is seeing how your baby reacts to it and if he’s developing and growing properly.
Some formulas might cause some changes in digestion, and your baby might need some time to adjust to it, but if your baby has problems digesting the formula, in the long run, it’s best to contact a pediatrician.
Instead of running around and reading label after label, we did the footwork for you. Having looked at all the reviews and their composition, we’ve compiled a list of the best 6 organic formulas
, ones who are just as delicious as they are nutritious.