How to choose infant formula?
This article will help young mothers to know, how to choose infant formula baby food. Selection of infant formula is based on the types, brand, size of the pack and price.
Breast milk is the best and natural, for any child. Breast milk contains carbohydrates, amino acids, fats, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antibodies, probiotics and prebiotics.
But there are situations where breast feeding is not possible and you have to go with the alternate solution, which is Infant formula baby food.
Infant formula (or Infant milk substitute) provides a wide range of nutrients that will help your baby to grow healthy, even without breast milk. Also helps working mothers, who are unable to breast feed their child on time.
And Infant formula is different from cereal based baby food.
So, how to choose infant formula for your child?
1. Types of formula
Following are the types of baby formula available.
Cow milk-based infant formula
These formulas have cow milk as its main ingredient. It is easier to digest and best formula among all in this list. Cow milk-based infant formula is the most widely used infant formula.
DHA & ARA
DHA is docosahexaenoic acid and ARA is arachidonic acid. DHA and ARA play very important roles in early brain and eye development. DHA and ARA are found in cold water fish oil, some algae, fungi, eggs, and in human breast milk. Some manufacturers make dietary supplements containing DHA and ARA.
Probiotics & Prebiotics
These are the components in infant formula which contribute to a healthy digestive tract of the child.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that live in the intestines. Some of the infant formulas have probiotics, to keep baby’s intestines healthier, as like the breast fed babies have.
Prebiotics are compounds in food that induce the growth and activity of good bacteria. Some infant formulas have prebiotics, which helps the good bacteria to stay and grow in your baby’s intestines.
Lactogen and Medomil are the examples for infant formula having prebiotic and probiotic.
Soy based or Lactose free infant formula
Soy infant formula uses processed soybeans as its source of protein. These are the best alternative for Cow milk based formula and also best option, if you want to exclude animal proteins for your baby, and also if your child develops allergy when consuming cow milk based formula. Soy formula contains glucose, which may affect your child’s teeth. Use soy formula only if it is recommended by your doctor.
Similac Isomil Soy Infant formula is milk free and lactose free. Also it has special nutrients for infants suffering from lactose intolerance, milk allergy and diarrhoea.
Protein hydrolysate infant formula. (Hypoallergenic Formula)
These formulas contain protein that is broken into smaller sizes than are those in cow's milk and soy-based formulas. These are for kids those who are allergic to milk and soy based formulas. Do not buy this formula without your Doctor’s recommendation.
Abbott EleCare does not contain milk protein, soy protein, fructose and lactose. EleCare is a non vegetarian product. It is hypoallergenic formula.
Low lactose infant formula
Low lactose formula contains lactose, not more than 5%. This formula should not be used in case of galactosemia or glucose galactose malabsorption.
Nestle NAN Lo Lac is low lactose infant formula.
Goat milk infant formula
It is under clinical trial but available in the market.
Premature and low birth weight babies Infant Formula
These are cow milk-based and formulated for the need of a premature/low birth weight babies. These have more protein, calories, vitamins, and minerals to allow the baby to gain extra weight.
Size of pack varies from 200 Gms to 800 Gms. Most of the products are 400 Gms pack. You can buy number of packs depending upon your monthly need.
Check for use by date (expiry date) in the pack, before buying.
After opening the pack or container, manufacturer recommends to use within 3 weeks or before expiry date, whichever is earlier.
Make sure the container/carton pack is sealed and in good condition. If there are any leaks, puffy ends, or rust spots, do not feed it to your infant.
3. Age of the child.
The nutrition requirement for a child depends upon age. Baby formula manufacturers add nutrients as per the age requirements. So, strictly follow the age recommendation mentioned on the formula pack.
4. Price & Cost
There is no much price difference between the stages. Lactogen is cheaper among all cow milk based formula.
The average money spending for infant formula per child per month will be around Rs.3750. However it will vary depending on the quantity of formula powder per feed, number of feeds per day and price of the formula used.
5. Brands (Familiar brands in alphabetical order)
Select a formula suitable for your baby, considering your baby’s age and weight. Do not use formulas, other than cow milk based, without doctor’s recommendation.
Things to follow while preparing baby food.
- Wash your hands and utensils used for preparing baby food.
- Clean and sanitize the work place, used for preparing food.
- Do not use microwave oven to heat water or the food mixture.
- Prepare only one feed at a time.
- Use prepared infant formula within 1/2 hour of preparation; otherwise harmful bacteria may grow in the feed. Throw away unused feed, if any.
- Feeds can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours
Note- This article is not a medical advice. Consult your doctor before buying and using infant formula.
So, now as you learnt, how to choose infant formula, which infant formula you are going to buy?
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