I’m feeding my baby with a bottle. Which formula is better?
It is easy to feel overwhelmed in the supermarket in front of the huge variety of formulas available. Choosing the best food for your baby is a very important decision, and there is plenty to choose from. When choosing the formula, consider the type of protein you are using (the formula based on cow’s milk is the most popular, but there are other options), and what other ingredients are available (ready to be taken, concentrated or powdered) Are included (such as DHA and iron).
Note: Also note the concern that exists about a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) contained in cans and bottles. The powder formula is considered a safer option, because it contains much less BPA.
Here’s what you need to know:
Physical forms of the milk of formula:
The formulas come in three basic forms: ready-to-drink, concentrated and powdered.
Formula ready to use : this is undoubtedly the most convenient because it should not be mixed or measured, only open and serve. It is hygienic and very practical, especially in circumstances where you may not have access to safe drinking water. It is also a good choice if your baby was born with very little weight or your immune system is delicate, because it is sterile. But for everyday use, the convenience of the ready-to-use formula has its price: it costs about 25% more per ounce than the powdered formula. Containers also take up more space in your pantry and in the trash can, unless you can recycle all cans or bottles. Once it is open, the formula ready to use lasts a short time in good condition: Should be used within 48 hours. Also, because their color is darker than that of powdered formula, many moms complain that they stain clothes more easily.
Concentrated liquid formula : requires that you mix equal parts of water and formula, so read carefully the instructions that come in the container. Compared to the ready-to-use formula, concentrated liquid formula is more economical and takes up less space. Compared to the powdered formula, it is a little easier to prepare, but more expensive.
Powder formula : it is the most economical and the best for the environment. Take up less space than any other in your pantry and your trash can. It takes longer to prepare the powdered formula than any other and you must follow the instructions exactly, But it lasts nine months without spoiling once opened. In addition, you can mix the exact amount when you need it – as much or as little as you want – which is particularly useful if you are breastfeeding your baby and need only supplement with a bottle from time to time.
There is a formula that meets the needs of each baby.
Formula based on cow’s milk : Most of the formulas available today contain cow’s milk as the main ingredient. Milk proteins are altered considerably to make it easier to digest because your baby will not be ready to digest normal cow’s milk until after his first birthday.
Soy-Based Formula : If you are vegan, or if your baby is having difficulty digesting cow’s milk proteins, the doctor might suggest a soy-based formula. These are made with a vegetable protein that, like cow’s milk proteins, is modified so that babies can easily digest it. It would also be good to talk to your pediatrician about trying the soy-based formula if your baby has colic . There is no conclusive evidence of its effectiveness in decreasing colic, but some research suggests that it is worth trying.
Lactose-free formula : If your baby is lactose intolerant or can not digest lactose, which is the sugar that naturally contains milk, your doctor will recommend that you take a formula in which the lactose is replaced with a different sugar, such as corn.
Exhaustively Hydrolyzed Formula : In this type of formula, proteins break down into smaller particles that are easier to digest than larger protein molecules. Your baby may need a hydrolyzed formula if he has allergies, or if he has difficulty absorbing nutrients. Your doctor may also suggest that you try a hydrolyzed formula if your baby has colic.
Formula for premature and low birth weight babies : These formulas often contain more calories and protein as well as a type of fat that is more easily absorbed called medium chain triglycerides.
Breast Milk Fortifier : This product is used to enrich the nutrition of breastfed babies with special needs. Some were designed to mix with breast milk and others may also alternate with breast milk.
Metabolic formulas : If your baby has a disease that requires a very specialized diet,
What does the formula contain? How do formulas differ?
There are six main ingredients in the formula: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. What makes one formula different from another are the specific carbohydrates or proteins it uses, as well as the other ingredients it contains. For example, casein and whey are two types of cow’s milk proteins found in varying proportions in different brands of formula based on cow’s milk.
It is very easy to get confused with all the ingredients that are listed on the labels. Next we guide you through the maze of ingredients found in baby formulas and compare them to those in breast milk.
Carbohydrates : Lactose is the main source of carbohydrates in breast milk, And also in formulas based on cow’s milk. Maltodextrin is sometimes used as a secondary source of carbohydrates. Lactose, soy and specialty formulas contain one or more of the following carbohydrates: sucrose, corn maltodextrin, modified corn starch, or corn syrup solids.
Proteins : Breast milk contains about 60 percent whey and 40 percent casein. Most formulas have a similar protein content. Others contain 100 percent serum. Some studies indicate that whey proteins are digested faster than casein, which would be beneficial for babies with gastroesophageal reflux .
Soy formulas contain soy protein isolate. Some brands use partially hydrolyzed soy protein to facilitate digestion.
Sometimes the proteins contained in the formulas are partially hydrolyzed or decomposed into smaller particles. Partially hydrolyzed formulas are not hypoallergenic: do not use them if your baby is allergic to proteins, or even if you suspect it may be. However, one study showed that partially hydrolyzed whey formulas reduce atopic dermatitis, compared to the standard formula for cow’s milk.
The fully hydrolyzed formulas contain decomposed casein into very small particles with additional amino acids, which are the basic components of proteins.
Fat : Breast milk contains a mixture of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fat. In the formulas, different oils are used to match the fat in the breast milk. These include soybean oils, coconut, corn, palm or palm olein and sunflower oil with high oleic acid content. Although palm oil and palm olein oil are widely used, research has shown that these fats can reduce the absorption of fat and calcium from the formula. In other words, your baby might not absorb as much fat and calcium as you would a formula that does not contain these oils.
Medium-chain triglycerides require less effort to digest and are more easily absorbed. They are used in special formulas for premature babies and for those who have difficulty digesting or absorbing nutrients.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the addition of two long chain fatty acids to baby formula: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA). Both substances are found in breast milk when the mother’s feeding is adequate, and both are important for brain development and vision. Babies get DHA and ARA from their mother during the third trimester of pregnancy, but the transfer is discontinued when the baby is born prematurely. All babies need a constant supply of these two substances during their first year of life.
Two studies published in April 2005 support the addition of DHA and ARA to infant formula as a supplement. One of them, a report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , showed that term infants fed formula containing DHA and ARA had a markedly greater visual acuity than those who did not take such supplements. And a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics states that DHA and ARA enhance both cognitive and physical growth in premature babies.
There are no long-term studies confirming the safety of these substances, although there is no evidence to suggest that these additives are harmful to babies. Formulas that include DHA and ARA cost approximately 15 percent more than the standard formula. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has not taken a stand on whether these fatty acids should be added to formula for babies or not.
Vitamins and Minerals : Most of the words on the list of ingredients on the label describe vitamins and minerals. These words can be difficult to understand, for example, ferrous sulfate is iron, sodium ascorbate is vitamin C and calcium pantothenate is a vitamin B.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all healthy babies who are not Give them exclusively breast milk are given formula strengthened with iron until they turn one year. It is important that infants receive the minimum recommended amount of iron (4 mg iron per liter) to prevent iron deficiency anemia.
Anemia inhibits the blood’s ability to circulate oxygen, which all cells in the body need to function properly. Studies have shown that it is important to ingest enough iron in the first year of life to achieve success in school later. A baby’s iron stores are established in the third trimester of pregnancy, so it is especially important that premature babies consume enough iron.
Most formulas contain at least 4 mg of iron per liter, although “low iron” formulas are still sold. These were developed years ago in response to the misconception that iron causes constipation. The American Academy of Pediatrics would like to see low-iron formulas discontinued, or labeled to indicate that their nutritional content is insufficient.
Other Ingredients : This is where the different brands change their formulas a bit to differentiate them from the others.
Nucleotides: These are the basic components of DNA and RNA, naturally present in breast milk. They have several functions and can help the development of the immune system. Different formula tags contain varying amounts of nucleotides.
Rice starch: Rice starch is added to the formula “anti-regurgitation”. Some studies show that the thick formula causes babies to regurgitate and drown less. However, other studies indicate that there may be the same amount of acid reflux , no matter what type of formula you take. Consult your pediatrician before using an anti-regurgitation formula to help your baby regurgitate less.
Dietary Fiber: soy fiber is added to the soy formula for the temporary treatment of diarrhea. The only fiber-containing formula is Isomil DF, which has been clinically proven to reduce the duration of diarrhea.
Amino Acids: Amino acids such as taurine, methionine and carnitine are added to soy formulas, and sometimes to cow’s milk, to match the amount of amino acids found in breast milk.
Do generic formulas provide adequate nutrition?
Generic formulations must meet the requirements of the Food and Drug Administration for nutrients in baby formulas, so in many cases the only difference between generic formulas and brand formulas is the price . But whether you buy generic or branded formula, take a moment to read the label before you buy it. Specific ingredients vary from brand to brand, so choose the one that is best for your baby.
Can I prepare my own formula?
No. It would be impossible to include all the ingredients in the right amounts for your baby. Homemade formula may cause your baby to not gain weight , be malnourished or even die.
Is it advisable to add cereal or milk to my baby’s formula?
Never add vitamins, cereal, fatty acids, olive oil, cow’s milk or any other ingredient to your baby’s formula, unless your pediatrician recommends it. The formula is a carefully developed substance with precise amounts of dozens of nutrients. Adding anything to the formula could endanger the health of your baby .
Olive oil, for example, can cause permanent damage to the lungs and even death, due to the danger of inhaling oil into the lungs when regurgitating. Because it is very difficult for babies to digest cow’s milk, never mix cow’s milk with formula or give it to your baby until he’s at least a year old.
What if I’m still not sure?
If you have decided to give formula to your baby and you are still confused with the many options available, or if you are considering changing formula, check with your baby’s pediatrician, who will consider your child’s health status, age and Nutritional needs and will recommend you what is appropriate. You will also be able to observe your baby’s reactions and investigate any symptoms that may be present. Do not try to diagnose an allergy or sensitivity on your own: you may not notice a serious underlying disease or even cause your baby to not receive adequate nutrition.