Ready For The Bottle: Choosing Baby Formula for Your Baby:
While breast milk is always the best choice for babies, there will come a time when using formula milk becomes very necessary. For some babies and parents, that might come too soon – around a few weeks after birth. Other mothers only start introducing formula milk after a couple of months of exclusive breastfeeding, while some mothers even extend up to a year or so. Regardless of the time you choose to introduce formula, it all boils down to one thing: you will have to make a very important choice as to what formula milk to give to your little one. There is no perfect baby formula, and your choice is a highly personal one based on your baby's pediatrician's recommendations and your baby's needs.
Here are some standard types of infant formulas:
Cow's Milk Formula – This is the most common type of formula milk, and remains the closest type of milk to breast milk. The average baby does well with cow's milk, and this is usually the first type of milk recommended by pediatricians. Cow's milk should only be discontinued if the baby has a problem with the formula. Some examples of cow's milk based formula are Similac Advance, Enfamil Lipil, Similac With Iron, Good Start Essentials, Enfamil Lipil and NAN.
There are also cow's milk based formula milk that are made with less lactose, making it gentler on fussy tummies. Some examples of “gentle” formulas are Nestle Good Start Gentle Plus and Enfamil Gentlease Lipil.
Soy Formula – Soy formula is recommended for babies with milk protein allergies, galactosemia and lactose intolerance. While soy formula is safe and effective, the AAP states that soy formula should only be given to healthy full – term infants when medically necessary. Some soy based formulas are Goodstart Supreme Soy, Isomil, Isomil Advance and Enfamil Prosobee Lipil.
Next Step or Toddler Formula – Next step or toddler formulas are formulated for older babies. They are usually cow's milk or soy based, and contain higher levels of nutrients to meet the nutritional needs of older babies. Some next step and toddler formulas include Enfagrow, Isomil 2 Advance, Similac 2 Advance, Good Start 2 Essentials (and Essentials Soy version).
Aside from the three standard types of infant formulas, there are also specialty infant formulas to meet special needs of babies. These types of milk formula are only used in special cases as recommended by a pediatrician.
Lactose Free Formula – This type of milk is used to replace cow's milk formula for babies who are lactose intolerant. All types of formula milk that come out in the market are required to meet certain nutritional standards, which means that babies on lactose free diet do not miss out on any important when it comes to nutrition. Some lactose free formula milk include Enfamil Lactofree Lipil and Similac Advance Lactofree.
Added Rice Formula – Added Rice formula milk are commercially thickened formulas for babies who suffer from acid reflux. This type of formula thickens as it reaches the stomach, lessening the possibility of spit ups and regurgitation. Some brands of AR formula include Enfamil AR Lipil and Similac Sensitive RS.
Predigested/Elemental Formula – Some babies develop cow's milk and soy allergies. To manage these allergies, most pediatricians recommend hyrdrolized or elemental formulas, which are also known as prefigested formulas. Predigested formulas mean that the protein content of the formula has already been hydrolyzed or predigested so as not to irritate the baby's stomach. Most Predigested formulas are thrice as expensive as standard formulas. Some predigested or elemental formulas include Pregestamil Lipil, Nutramigen Lipil and Similac Alimentum. Neocate is a completely predigested formula and is only recommended in extreme cases.
Premature Baby Formula – Premature babies need more calories in order to grow, thus they are recommended to use premature discharge formulas until around 9 months of age. Premature discharge formulas contain more protein, calories and other important nutrients appropriate babies born prematurely. Some premature baby formulas include Similac Neosure and Enfamil Enfacare Lipil.
Make sure that you speak to your pediatrician before introducing any kind of infant formula to your baby. Once you start using infant formula, make sure that you follow preparation instructions carefully to ensure the health and safety of your child.
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