Breast milk has been seen as the best source of food for babies between 3-6 months and WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding of infants for 6months. However, there are many challenges associated with breastfeeding that some mothers prefer introducing baby formula. Sometimes you don’t produce enough breast milk and the baby becomes irritable and unmanageable because of hunger. Are you a lactating mother who is always busy at work traveling a lot and has no time to breastfeed? Well, introducing a baby formula to your bundle of joy isn’t a bad idea.
Considerations when buying a baby formula
The nutritional content of the formula
The right baby formula should contain both proteins and carbohydrates. Babies between 0-6months should have only 10grams of protein and 95 grams of carbohydrates. These nutrients are essential in the healthy growth and development of the baby.
The form of the formula
Baby formulas come in three forms mainly powdered, concentrated liquid, and ready to use. The ready-to-use formulas are the best to be given to infants of 6months and below and can be used even when weaning is introduced. The powder formula is suitable for babies older than 6months and can only be given to newborns under a doctor’s prescription. Choose the form suitable for your baby.
Cost of the formula
Before picking a bay formula for your baby, consider your financial status. Choose a baby formula that is economical and affordable to you, and if purchasing one is expensive for you, use a homemade formula.
Birth weight of the child
Children who are born underweight are best given formulas that are enriched with nutrients for required healthy growth. However, these should be given in moderation to avoid overweight.
The ingredients in the formula should be baby-friendly and enhance brain and nerve development. Some formulas contain omega-3 and 6 which are nutritional for the child. Only buy what suits your baby.
Age of the baby
Choose the right formula for your child’s age. Children below 6months should be given formulas containing 10grams of protein and 95grams of carbohydrates a day and a higher amount for older children. Seek your doctor’s advice before deciding.
Read the label on the formula carefully and keenly to ensure the right ingredients and nutrients are in the product. Don’t just buy formula because of an appealing advertisement you saw on Tv. Seek help and guidance from a qualified professional. Also, check for the expiry dates to ensure you don’t stock expired products.
Every child needs iron for blood enrichment and healthy growth. Iron deficiency causes anemia which can interfere with the child’s growth; therefore, baby formulas should be iron-enriched.
Availability of the formula
Use a baby formula that is easily available at your outlet. Changing formulas due to unavailability can bring allergic reactions to the infant. Go for a formula that you can easily find every time you want to buy.
Some children may exhibit protein allergies, therefore hydrolyzed baby formulas can be used since these are easily digested and non-allergic.
Probiotics and prebiotics.
Consider a formula with probiotics to help in boosting the baby’s immunity and eases digestion. Choose a formula that has prebiotics added to promote the growth of probiotics.
Before buying a baby formula, seek advice from your doctor or any other qualified professional to choose the right formula for your baby. In case of formula changing, seek the pediatrician’s advice.
Things to avoid in a baby formula
Not all baby formula advertised in the market is good and healthy for babies. Most of these companies are in business and are out to make gains. When buying baby formula for your child, here are some key features you ought to watch out for and avoid.
This is a metal used to prevent batteries for corrosion, therefore even the smallest amounts in baby formula can cause serious health problems and interfere with the kidney functionality
Iron is required by the body to prevent anemia, however, faux iron which is in powder form is not good for babies. It’s difficult for babies to absorb and may pose health risks.
The baby needs carbohydrates for energy to function and grow but high carbohydrate levels aren’t healthy for babies since they can result in overweight. Go for baby formula with low carbohydrates.
Preservatives can increase allergic reactions in babies and cause digestion problems. These are used to make food last longer and are in the form of Sulphur dioxide and additives. These ingredients aren’t natural, therefore, check the baby formula label carefully to avoid purchasing one with preservatives.
Artificial Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Arachidonic Acid (ARA)
Babies need these fatty acids for brain development. However, the ones added to baby formula are synthetic and have no proven health benefits. Instead, these acids can cause vomiting, stomach upset, and pains in babies.
Rice-based baby formula can contain this chemical and when consumed in large amounts can lead to cancer in the long run. Be careful to read labels correctly when doing your purchase.
This protein is not good for babies who are less than a year old. Babies can be allergic or intolerant to gluten, therefore, select a gluten-free formula.
The ingredients used to manufacture mineral oil are not healthy for the baby’s body. These may cause problems in the intestines and cause diarrhea in babies. Choose a baby formula with no mineral oil in it.
It is used in baby formula to make it non-sticky. Soy is a nutritious food but soy lecithin should not be added to baby food. It can start allergic reactions in babies that can last a lifetime, therefore, avoid baby formula with this ingredient. Soy-based formulas cause potential reproductive health risks and they contain glucose syrups that are dried and may pose risks of tooth decay to children.
Manufactured vegetable oils are bad and unhealthy for a growing infant.
Corn syrup is sweet just like sugar therefore, it is advisable in baby formula. It can as well lead to health issues including weight gain and may increase the baby’s appetite for more sugar. It also has no nutritional value to the baby. The best baby formula should be low in sugar.
High Sugar concentration
Too much sugar in baby formula can lead to weight gain and obesity. Babies who consume a lot of sugar in the formula get used to the taste so much that they can’t feed on anything else that is not sugary. Choose a formula with low sugar content.
First and second stage baby formulas
First stage baby formula, also known as infant formula, is given to babies between 0-6 months and can be given until the baby is 1 year old. The main protein component of stage 1 formula is whey which is easy for infants to digest completely. Stage 2 formula also called follow-on formula, is given to children above 6 months but its nutrition content and that of stage 1 are the same. The second stage formula contains casein protein which stays in the baby’s stomach for a long time before being digested fully.
Types of baby formula
Cow milk-based formulas
These are made from cow milk which is purified to taste like and contain the same nutrients as breast milk. Most baby formulas are made of cow milk protein which has essential nutrients needed by the baby and is easy to digest. Many parents prefer giving children this type of formula unless the baby has allergies to cow milk protein. The best formulas under this category include:
1. Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease Baby Formula
This is a powdered formula that is non-GMO and good for mothers who can’t breastfeed. It is claimed to resemble breast milk with MFGM and DHA components. It also has nutrients that help in brain development. The formula also contains probiotics that boost the baby’s immunity. Research has also established that it can also reduce fussiness, gas, and crying babies.
2. Similac pro-sensitive infant formula
This non-GMO baby formula has been made with nutrients supporting the immune system, eye, and brain development. It is perfect for babies with sensitive stomachs.
3. Similac Go and grow toddler drink
This gluten-free baby formula contains 25 essential vitamins and minerals that help support the baby’s growth and development. It is unique since it can be given to toddlers from age 1-4 years.
4. Enfamil Reguline Infant Formula
This formula contains omega-3 and other nutrients that promote required development and growth during the first year. This formula is made specifically for soft comfortable stools.
These formulas are made of soy protein. This can be good for babies who are lactose intolerant and are allergic to cow milk formulas.
5. Enfamil prosobee
This ready to use plant protein bay formula is suitable for babies who are allergic to lactose and milk protein formulas.it is claimed to boost children’s learning capability and deal with sensitive tummies. It is recommended for children from the age of 6months to 3years.
These are made of proteins that are partially or fully broken down into smaller units, making it easier for the baby to digest compared to cow milk and soy-based formulas. Parents can give these to babies with allergies to soy and cow milk protein. The best hydrolyzed formulas include:
6. Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic
It contains proteins that are broken down into smaller pieces and it is suitable for babies with protein allergies. This lactose-free powdered formula helps babies deal with colic.
7. Enfamil Nutramigen Infant Formula
This formula is lactose free and has probiotics and nutrients that boost the baby’s immunity and enhances eye and brain development.
8. Neocate junior
this contains essential nutrients that support growth and development in babies. It is said to be less allergic than all other baby formulas available and it also resembles breast milk.
Goat milk-based formulas
These are infant formulas made from purified goat milk protein. The formulas offer the same growth and nutritional contents as the cow milk formula containing whey protein making it easy to digest and absorb by the baby.babies can still be allergic to goat protein formulas.
9. Meyernberg whole powdered goat milk
This formula is natural and contains no additives or growth hormones. This kosher certified formula contains no gluten or soy making it perfectly healthy. It is a perfect option for those sensitive to soy and cow milk formulas.
These are baby formulas made with no hormones promoting growth, preservatives and are free from artificial additives. Organic formulas are made from milk. Check with your doctor before purchasing any organic formula for the baby. The best organic formulas include:
10. Gerber good start non-GMO
This is an organic easy to digest baby formula that is friendly to the baby’s stomach. It also has natural nutrients required for general growth and development. It is suitable for babies up to 1 year old.
11. Earth’s best organic dairy infant powder
It is suitable for the first 12 months and has nutrients such as iron needed for the baby’s eye and brain development. This formula is good for immune development and contains omega -3 and omega-6 just like breast milk. It has natural non-GMO ingredients with no additives or growth hormones.
12. Similac Pro-Advance Non-GMO
This is an organic formulathat contains complete nutrients for the baby’s general growth and development of the brain and eye. It contains a blend of DHA, lutein, and vitamin E that are also in breast milk making it to be preferred by many.
13. Happy baby organic infant formula
It has been designedlike breast milk and contains essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients contained naturally in breast milk. The formula contains 4 times, GOS and FOS, bacteria than other formulas for the best immunity.
These are baby formulas made at home either because a parent can’t afford commercial baby formula or due to shortages. However, this formula is not recommended since attaining the right nutrient and ingredient balance remains a big issue. When nutrients are not balanced as required, then this may negatively affect your baby’s growth and development.
These available for babies with certain conditions or premature and are only given under a doctor’s prescription. This formula is also for babies with medical conditions such as fat metabolism disorders, allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, and insufficient renal. These babies require close monitoring by the required professionals.
Benefits of using baby formula
It is easy to use and anyone can be trained to bottle feed the baby when you are not around. The procedure of mixing the baby food is very simple and some formulas are also ready to use, therefore, no hustle in mixing.
When breast milk is the only source of baby food, it means you have to be with the baby most of the time. And if not so, you have to struggle with a breast pump to produce milk. The baby formula gives mothers the freedom to go about doing their things without worries since the child will easily be bottle fed.
Eases life for working mothers
It is easy for mothers who use the baby formula to go to work and you no longer have to deal with the stress of pumping breast milk for the baby. All you have to do is buy a baby formula that suits your baby and the caregiver will feed the baby-making you worry less and concentrate on work.
The baby formula takes longer to be fully digested compared to breast milk, therefore, be rest assured that the baby will stay full for long. A satisfied baby is a happy baby.
Feeding the baby formula doesn’t hurt even one bit compared to breastfeeding. At times during breastfeeding, the nipples become so painful and you still have to feed it o the baby. This is painful and stressful for mothers.
For babies with allergic reactions, for example, to proteins, can be fed bay formula versions that are baby-friendly. The formula contains proteins and nutrients that can easily be broken down by the bay’s digestive system completely. So, the mother doesn’t have to be on a diet.
Calorie intake awareness
For every baby food given, you can know the number of calories the baby is consuming. When buying baby formula, read the labels carefully to know how many calories are in the food.
Baby formula contains essential nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates vitamins, and iron that is required by the baby for healthy growth and development.
Every parent aims at raising a healthy and happy baby without worries about his/her health. When it comes to baby formulas, you need to be watchful of what your baby consumes. The focus should be on raising a healthy and happy baby. I would recommend the following three baby formulas for any mom who wants to supplement breastfeeding or stop breastfeeding completely.
 Fewtrell, Mary S., et al. “Optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding: what is the evidence to support current recommendations?” The American journal of clinical nutrition 85.2 (2007): 635S-638S.
 Dodds, Rosemary. “Choosing a formula–what is the evidence for different milks and added ingredients?.” New Digest 51 (2010): 24-9.
 Zhou, Shao J., et al. “Nutritional adequacy of goat milk infant formulas for term infants: a double-blind randomised controlled trial.” British journal of nutrition 111.9 (2014): 1641-1651.
 Green Corkins, Kelly, and Teresa Shurley. “What’s in the bottle? A review of infant formulas.” Nutrition in Clinical Practice 31.6 (2016): 723-729.