When you’re picking baby formula for your infant or toddler for the first time, you might feel stressed and frightened because of all the baby food products available in the market today. It’s sometimes hard to understand the difference between brands, types, and stages of formulas. But it’s extremely important to know which baby formula suits your precious one and will be the most beneficial for his/her health. This post will hopefully help you understand baby formula options better and become confident in your choice.
Organic vs non-organic baby milk
The difference between organic and non-organic formulas is in the ingredients. The former is made from the best organic ingredients (at least 95% of the composition) and according to strict regulations established by the government and food safety organizations. The latter is produced from both organic and non-organic ingredients, they can still be high-quality and totally safe, but you should choose respectable brands to be certain of the quality.
Types of infant and toddler formulas
There are 3 types of formulas: powdered, liquid, and ready-to-feed. Each has its advantages and drawbacks.
Powdered baby formula is cost-effective and eco-friendly. Storing and transporting it is easy and convenient. To prepare the baby milk, just measure the right amount of powdered formula from a canister and add water. Knowing from the experience how much your child eats at a time, you’re able to prepare the needed portion and have no leftovers to throw away.
Liquid concentrate baby formula is similar to powdered baby milk because you need to prepare the formula by adding some water. Although, liquid formula is sterile, unlike powdered formula. You also can measure the right amount of infant milk individually for your little one.
The most expensive but convenient in use is the ready-to-feed formula. It is available in single-use bottles, so you can easily feed your baby when you’re not at home and have no conditions to prepare the formula. Ready-to-feed formulas are perfect for traveling and parents with a busy lifestyle. It’s not very environmentally friendly, as you have to throw away bottles after feeding your infant or toddler, but sometimes you don’t have another choice. The ready-to-feed formula is sterile and already prepared, you just open the bottle and give it to your baby.
Varieties of infant and toddler formulas
Parents also need to know that there are 3 main varieties of baby formulas: based on cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or vegan (doesn’t contain animal milk proteins).
Cow’s milk-based formulas are the most common and popular among parents, especially in Europe and America. High-quality cow’s milk, adjusted to nutritionally resemble breast milk, is used to manufacture this baby food. Different brands of infant and toddler formulas have a somewhat different composition – for example, some manufacturers use whole milk, others – skimmed milk (adding vegetable oils to balance the fatty acid profile). The main proteins in this formula are casein and whey which provide the baby with energy and a building material for the muscles. Most babies digest cow’s milk-based formulas without problem, however, some infants and toddlers can develop an allergy to cow’s milk proteins.
Goats’ milk-based formulas are similar to cow’s milk foods, but the composition of goat’s milk differs a bit. For instance, it has a higher nutritional value, as levels of protein are naturally higher in goat’s milk. Also, it is A1 casein-free (like breast milk) and contains less lactose. When a baby has a mild cow’s milk allergy, he/she might be able to digest goat’s milk formula, however, you need to consult a pediatrician before trying it.
Vegan baby formulas are free of animal proteins, so they can be recommended to infants with allergies and other dietary restrictions. Usually, vegan baby foods are based on soy, but other options exist as well.
Baby formula stages
In general, baby formulas are divided into 3 stages, depending on the child’s age.
- Stage 1 formulas are created for infants from birth to 6 months old
- Stage 2 formulas are for 6 months – 12 months old babies
- Stage 3 formulas are designed for toddlers 12 months old and older
This division into stages isn’t random. It’s important to feed your little champ with a baby formula created for his/her age, as the composition of first and second milk differs to provide the needed nutrition specifically for an infant or toddler of a certain age. The development of a baby goes on and various systems of his/her little body need the right nutrients, so always pay attention to the stage of baby formula you’re giving to your child.
Special formulas for kids with health issues
It’s not uncommon for infants and toddlers to have different health issues, as their digestive system isn’t yet fully developed. So, such conditions as acid reflux, colic, constipation, flatulence, lactose intolerance, animal milk allergies, and more can become a real problem for parents. But don’t worry, there is a solution to any issue. And first of all, its special formulas, like HiPP Combiotic (improves baby’s digestion, contains natural probiotic lactic acid cultures originally extracted from real breast milk), HiPP Anti-Reflux Special Formula, and Bebe M Organic Anti-Reflux Rice-Based Infant Formula (helps reduce acid reflux in babies), or HiPP Comfort Formula (for babies who suffer from flatulence, lactose-related colic, and constipation). There are hypoallergenic formulas for babies with animal milk allergies.
Remember that these special formulas are designed for infants and toddlers with health problems, so they’re not suited for babies with normal digestion. Before giving your little one any specified formula milk, consult with a pediatrician.
The baby food market today offers a wide variety of infant and toddler formulas. Each manufacturer tries to attract customers and provide good nutrition for babies of different ages, dietary needs, health conditions, and even family financial capabilities. So, to pick the right formula for your little one, you need to understand at least the basics of formula composition and variations. In this post, we’ve done our best to help you learn more about different baby formulas, their peculiarities, and their specific features. We hope this info will be useful for you.