Although human breast milk is nature's ideal food for babies, it is not always possible for every family, so many mothers struggle to decide which option is best for their baby or toddler. Fortunately, the infant formula industry has grown and changed its inception since the early 1900s, and there are now several options to choose from.
There may also come a time when parents decide when and if their child should be given a healthy alternative to infant formula. For the safety and nutrition of your baby, it is essential to understand which infant formulas are appropriate to use and when and which options we should avoid.
What is Baby Formula?
Another alternative to breast milk is multiple "FORMULAS." Infant formula is a synthetic form of liquid nutrition designed to mimic breast milk's nutritional quality and composition closely. It provides the same amount of calories, fat, and protein per ounce as breast milk and must meet federal regulations. It can be plant-based milk, such as almond and cashew milk, or animal-based milk, such as goat's milk.
Several formulas are available, including milk-based, soy-based, and hypoallergenic or hydrolyzed protein formulas to suit your baby's needs. Infant milk formulas are offered in different forms, such as powder, concentrated liquid, and ready-to-eat.
Types of infant formula
There are many different types of infant formula. Some of the classes you may see in store aisles include:
- Powder: Many mixes come in powder form with instructions on how much water to add to different-sized bottles.
- Liquid: Some brands offer premixed mixes. They do not require adding water and can generally be used as is.
- Milk-based - Most infant formulas are made from cow's milk that has been modified to resemble breast milk and contain the nutrients that growing babies need.
- Soy-based - Soy-based products are made from soy proteins. (It is important to note that the AAP recommends using soy-based formulas only in certain situations, so you should talk to your child's doctor before choosing these formulas).
- Hydrolyzed/homogenized: The milk proteins in these formulas are split into smaller ones. Portions Milk-sensitive babies tolerate these milk formulas better. (Amusingly, at least one study has shown that this formula may have other developmental benefits).
What ingredients to look for, and how does it compare to breast milk?
Before deciding on infant formula, you need to understand exactly what ingredients to look for and how it compares to breast milk.
Breast milk contains a long list of nutrients, vitamins, essential proteins, and more. It has millions of living cells consisting of immune-active white blood cells and stem cells.
It is impossible to reproduce this precisely in the formula, but repeating as many essential ingredients as possible can help make the procedure as close to breast milk.
Which organic infant formula is the nearest thing to breast milk?
Anything artificially produced or not directly derived from its natural/living source cannot be called organic. So breast milk produced from an actual human breast may be the only organic form here.
All infant formulas contain artificially synthesized nutrients (vitamins, amino acids, minerals, etc.) designed to satisfy the needs of babies (daily needs). It all depends on the quality/purity of the ingredients used.
When you look at the nutrition labels on bottles, they all look the same because they only list the amount. You should be able to evaluate and choose a well-known brand or company established in infant formulas. So, we should read the ingredients on bottles and what they contain.
There are many formula options available. Breast milk is always recommended for optimal baby health, but all infant formulas meet your baby's basic nutritional needs. The most important thing is to prepare them safely.
Still, need to decide which formula to choose? Ask your pediatrician. Your child's doctor can guide you in the right direction based on your child's health history or personal preferences. The same applies to changing formula symbols or types. You can read here for more information about SUBSTITUTE BREAST MILK WITH FORMULA.