Choosing and Preparing Infant Formula

If breastfeeding is not the right solution for you and your baby, formula feeding provides baby with all of the nutrients he needs and also allows you to hold your baby and establish the same level of bonding as you would while breastfeeding. To ensure success with formula feeding, first discuss your child’s health and situation with a pediatrician to learn what she recommends.

Cow’s Milk-Based Formula

In the vast majority of situations, doctors prescribe cows milk-based formula for infants. There are both commercial and organic versions of milk based formula and there are differences to consistency and taste between brands. Your baby might prefer one brand to another, but switching formulas should always be done slowly and cautiously to avoid upsetting baby’s digestive system.

Milk based formula is derived from cow’s milk. The cow’s milk is broken down to remove harsh proteins that can harm the baby’s fragile system and many additional nutrients are added to make it as close to breast milk as possible. This is true of all formulas. Despite this, some babies still have trouble digesting cow’s milk-based formula and do better on a different formula.

Soy-Based Formula

Babies that don’t do well with cow’s milk-based formulas often switch to a soy-based formula. This type of formula is derived from soybeans and is dairy free. While soy-based formula can be gentler on the digestive tract for those babies that suffer from lactose intolerance, there is just as much likelihood of allergies with soy products as milk-based ones. Speak to your doctor about soy-based formulas if you think it is right for your child.

Lactose-Free Formulas

There are other formulas that might be suitable for a child with sensitivity to lactose but not a full-fledged milk allergy. Lactose-free formulas are made with cow’s milk proteins, but have the lactose carbohydrate removed and replaced with a carbohydrate that is easier to digest.

Elemental Formulas

Formulas made without milk or soy are created using hydrolysate proteins. This makes it easier to digest for babies with milk and soy allergies. Elemental formulas, like all formulas, are fortified with iron and all required vitamins and nutrients.

Preparing Formula

Once you’ve decided on a formula, you generally have three options of how to prepare it. There is a powdered form which requires you adding a certain amount of water, shaking up the bottle and then feeding it your child. Powered formula is usually the easiest to handle while on the go as it doesn’t require refrigeration. Concentrated formulas also require you to add water and shake to create formula in a bottle. The remainder of the concentrate should then be refrigerated.

Ready-to-use formulas are packaged in bottles much like milk and are ready to be used, as stated in the name. Simply pour the desired amount of formula into a bottle and you are ready for a feeding. There is no measuring involved. The unopened container of formula does not require refrigeration, but it must be refrigerated and used within 48 hours once opened. Ready-to use formula is typically the most expensive option available.

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