If you are planning to feed your baby formula, you might have a few questions in mind. Should you choose cow milk or soy milk? Are generic brands OK? Which brand is the best? Here’re what you need to know about infant formula.
What are the main types of infant formula?
All infant formulas are under legal regulations. In which, there are three major types of infant formula available:
- Cow’s milk protein-based formulas. This is the most common formula as they resemble mother’s milk the most. The cow’s milk used in this formula has been altered to have the right amount of nutrients as well as easier for the baby to digest. Most babies do well on cow’s milk formula. However, if your child is diagnosed with an allergy to cow’s milk, you will need other types of infant formula.
- Soy-based formulas. To babies who are allergic to cow’s milk or lactose intolerant, an option is to use soy based formulas. Soy-based formulas can be useful if you want to exclude animal proteins from your child’s diet.
- Protein hydrolysate formulas. For babies who are allergic to both cow’s milk and soy-based milk, protein hydrolysate formulas are the best option for them. This type of formula contains broken down (hydrolyzed) proteins – partially or extensively – into smaller sizes than are those in cow’s milk and soy-based formulas. Because children with allergy to cow’s milk and soy-based milk are actually allergic to the protein particles in them, protein hydrolysate formulas can give the child their much-needed proteins while avoiding an allergic reaction.
In addition, specialized formulas are available for premature infants and babies who have specific medical conditions.
Other types of formula that are more suitable for these babies are now available. Your GP or health visitor can give you advice.
First infant formula
For many infants under 6 months old, this type of formula is the most popular one. This formula is easy for babies to digest. Your baby can take this formula until they are ready for solid foods. There are many manufacturers for this type of formula, so unless you already have a specific brand preference in mind, you can discuss with your doctor for the best brand for your child.
Casein-based infant formula
This formula is a bit harder to digest compared to infant formula, so they are a good transition between first infant formula and solid foods. Some people said casein-based infant formula can keep the child full longer, but there is no evidence that babies are less hungry when fed this type of formula.
Goat’s milk formula
Similarly to cow’s milk formula, goats’ milk-based formula is available and produced to the same nutritional standards as cow’s milk-based formula. Goats milk is a good source of protein, contains less sugar (lactose), 13% more calcium, 25% more vitamin B6, 47% more vitamin A, and 134% more potassium than regular cow’s milk.
What infant formula preparations are available?
Depend on the manufacturer, there are three possible types of formula preparations for the mentioned formulas:
- Powdered formula. Powdered formula is the least expensive. Each scoop of powdered formula must be mixed with water.
- Concentrated liquid formula. This type of formula also must be mixed with water.
- Ready-to-use formula. Ready-to-use formula is the most convenient type of infant formula. It doesn’t need to be mixed with water. It’s also the most expensive option.
Be sure to wash your hands before handling formula and carefully follow any mixing and storage instructions.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.