How to Choose the Right Baby Formula for the First Time?

How to Choose the Right Baby Formula for the First Time?
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

FoodFindsAsia | How to Choose the Right Baby Formula for the First Time? | Every parent wants their child to grow up healthy. There is no need to tell anyone how significantly nutrition affects the baby’s development. Mother’s milk is the best food a newborn can eat. 

Although the shelves in stores are full of various baby formulas that are an alternative to mother’s milk, remember that breastfeeding is the best and healthiest choice for a mother and her baby. This does not mean that the baby formula is harmful. However, this solution is rather advisable when, for some reason, a woman cannot feed naturally.

Feeding a Newborn

The first thousand days in a baby’s life are the period of the most intensive development and growth. At this time, eating habits for life are formed, metabolism is programmed, the brain is intensively developed, the immune system is formed, and the digestive system is maturing. Adequate feeding in the first three years of a baby’s life can prevent many diseases, such as obesity or various infections. Breastfeeding for at least the first six months is believed to be one of the best investments in a baby’s health and development.

Composition of Baby Formulas

The composition of baby formula should be as close as possible to human milk. The basic ingredients of baby formulas include skimmed milk powder (a source of protein), vegetable oils (a source of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins D and E), lactose (except lactose-free milk), oligosaccharides that act as prebiotics, i. e. nutrients for the intestinal microflora, choline (a building block for cell membranes), calcium, potassium, sodium, iron, zinc, vitamins C, A, K, and B vitamins.

Baby Formulas for Different Ages

According to WHO, the baby formula ensures the proper development of the baby development. During the modification, the excess of certain ingredients is removed so that they do not burden the baby’s digestive system, kidneys, and liver. The ingredients for which there is the greatest need are added. However, it is important to choose the right formula for your child.

When choosing a product, you should always consult a pediatrician or a children’s dietitian to choose the food that suits your baby’s needs. Information on the age use is presented on the packaging in a visible place. These are numbers from 1 to 4 and additional descriptions from which month of life the baby can be fed with a given mixture. 

1 — Formula for newborns from birth to 6 months of age

2 — Formula for infants older than 6 months

3 — Junior milk for babies older than 10 or 12 months

4 — Formula for kids over 2 years of age

Types of Baby Formulas

Another critical criterion for making the right choice is the formula adaptation to the baby’s special needs. When choosing a product, always read the label carefully to avoid confusion and buy the right one. Here are the most common baby formula types available on the market:

  • Regular baby formula without any additional markings. It is intended for healthy babies with proper birth weight, not suffering from any gastrointestinal ailments or food allergies.
  • Eco, bio, organic formulas. Formulas like HiPP organic formula are made from cow’s or goat’s milk from controlled organic farms, where the cows and goats eat certified feed.
  • For premature babies (PRE, Premature, Neonatal). It is dedicated to babies with low birth weight. They help them gain weight faster thanks to their high protein and fat content.
  • Hypoallergenic (HA) baby formula is intended for babies from the group of increased risk of allergic reactions (mainly to cow’s milk proteins). It is recommended to choose such products for babies with a family history of allergies.
  • Special mixtures for allergy sufferers. These products should be used when a doctor diagnoses a specific food allergy. These formulas have a high degree of hydrolysis, i.e. milk, in which the allergenic protein has been broken down into smaller molecules. There are two types of such formulas: whey (for babies allergic to cow protein) and casein (for those allergic to cow protein with lactose intolerance at the same time). 
  • Anti-reflux (AR) baby formulas are designed for babies who tend to vomit food. They contain the addition of potato starch or locust bean meal, i. e. thickening ingredients that reduce the frequency and abundance of regurgitation in infants.
  • With the addition of rice or rice and buckwheat gruel (R or GR). These products are intended for toddlers with a big appetite.
  • Anti-colic (e. g. Comfort, AntiColic, Sensitive) formulas are designed for babies suffering from colic, flatulence, or constipation. They have a reduced lactose content and shredded protein chains. They can have a special lipid structure and fiber to relax the stools.
  • Lactose-free or low-lactose (e.g. 0-Lac) formulas are designed for babies with lactose intolerance.
  • Special formulas for diarrhea treatment (HN, MCT) are intended for babies with chronic, recurring diarrhea and serious diseases, e. g. chronic malabsorption syndrome. They contain easily digestible fats and do not irritate the intestines.
  • Formulas supporting brain development. Due to the fatty acids (DHA, ALA) in the composition, they positively affect the nervous system and organs of sight development. 

There are also liquid formulas available on the market. They are intended for consumption directly (ready to feed — RTF), without prior preparation of the bottle or teat, measuring and dissolving the powder. They must be stored at room temperature and do not require heating. Once opened, such a formula should be used within an hour. Liquid baby formula is very convenient to take on a trip or be used when there are no suitable conditions for the proper formula preparation. However, it is less economical compared to powdered baby formula.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash