While many babies are breastfed, there is a certain percentage of babies that are given formula, either partially or fully. This could be for various reasons. Choosing the right formula for your baby can be quite a challenging task. That’s because there are several brands with varying nutritional value.
Before you go ahead and buy baby milk formula, there are plenty of things you need to keep in mind. In this article, we outline some of the top things you need to have in mind when buying baby formula. Let’s delve into them.
- Know your options
Before you figure out the best baby formula for your little one, you need to understand the different types of infant formulas available.
There are plenty of infant formulas available, including:
- Cow’s milk-based formula
Cow’s milk-based formula makes up to 80% of all baby formula sold in the market. That’s according to the American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP]. As the name implies, cow’s milk is the main ingredient in this type of baby formula. The milk is modified to make it safe and more easily digestible for babies. However, you should note that some babies may be allergic to the protein in cow’s milk and may need another type of baby formula.
- Hydrolyzed formula
This is a type of formula that has already been broken down [hydrolyzed] into smaller proteins that can be digested easily. This type of formula suits babies who cannot tolerate cow’s milk or soy-based formulas or babies who have a protein allergy.
- Soy formula
This type of formula is made from soy milk and contains protein [soy] and a carbohydrate such as glucose or sucrose. They are perfect if you don’t want to include animal products in your baby’s diet or if your baby can’t digest lactose.
- Specialized formula
This is a type of formula that is available for babies with specific medical needs or preterm babes. They are generally more expensive compared to other types of formulas.
It is also worth mentioning that formulas come in different forms: powdered formula, concentrated liquid formula, and ready-to-use formula. So you need to determine the type of formula and in which form you want it before you go ahead and buy it.
- The baby’s age
This is a factor that many mothers usually overlook. If you want to get the best baby formula that is suitable for your baby, then it is crucial to consider his or her age. Ready-to-use formulas are usually ideal for infants less than six months. Whether the baby is partially fed or fully formula fed, you need to use the right baby formula. Infants of up to 6 months usually use the same type of baby formula which contains 10 grams of proteins and 95 grams of carbohydrates each day. From 6 months up to 12 months, you can use a higher number of proteins as well as carbohydrates.
- Consider your child’s nutritional needs
Newborns and infants have specific nutritional needs that must be met for them to grow healthy. If you can provide your baby with adequate nutrition, whether through breastfeeding or formula feeding, then you can be confident that you are doing everything in your power to ensure that your child will grow healthily.
Babies need adequate supplies of macronutrients, such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats just like adults. In addition to that, infants need enough iron, calcium, and vitamin D to ensure that their bones and bodies develop rapidly.
So, when buying baby formula, make sure that it contains all these things so that you can avoid any dietary deficiencies in your baby’s diet. It is also important to purchase infant formulas that contain enough DHA fatty acids, which are crucial for the development of your child’s brain.
- Make sure you understand the label
It is no secret that most baby formulas manufacturers and sellers are after making profits, and so, they can use sub-standard products to make infant formulas. These formulas may appear like regular formulas if you are not keen. But their ingredients may be slightly altered. To ensure that you get the right baby formula for your baby, make sure you read the label and understand it.
- Identify if your baby has allergies
This is also another crucial factor that you need to keep in mind when looking for baby formula. Allergies are mostly genetic. That means your baby is most likely to have allergies that you or your family has. If you suspect that your baby might be having allergies, it is a perfect idea to go for hydrolyzed formula, which is easy to digest because it is already broken down into smaller proteins. It is also less likely to give your infant any allergic reaction.
Availability is also another important factor you need to consider when looking for the right baby formula for your child. If you go for baby formula that is difficult to obtain from the store or when you travel out of town, that may cause unnecessary stress. That may force you to change your baby’s formula, which may interfere with your baby’s digestion or even cause allergies. The best thing is to stick to a specific formula that can meet all your baby’s nutritional needs and is readily available. That will save you a lot of unnecessary headaches.
Finally, another crucial factor you need to put into consideration is the cost of the baby formula. Baby formulas can be very expensive depending on the type and the forms they come in. So, you need to determine your budget and see how much you are willing to spend on baby formula.
Powdered formula is the least expensive infant formula available. It is also more convenient to store. However, you need to measure and mix it appropriately whenever you want to feed your little one. Concentrated formula is more expensive than powdered formula. Ready-to-feed formula, on the other hand, is the most expensive formula but the most convenient since it doesn’t require any additional water or any mixing.
Choosing the right baby formula can be pretty easy if you know what to look for. We hope that by considering the above factors, you will arrive at the right baby formula that will help your child grow healthily.