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Choosing the Right Infant Formula for your Baby


June 22, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Food & Nutrition


Choosing the Right Infant Formula for your Baby | Baby & Beyond

I have often spoken about the benefits of breastfeeding, however the truth is that many mothers need to opt for formula milk for various reasons – a preterm baby who has specific nutritional needs, a medical problem due to which the mother’s body is not able to produce sufficient milk, when the mother needs to go back to work, is having trouble pumping or just wants an occasional break. A mother’s primary responsibility is to ensure that her baby is well-fed and nourished. For mothers who are unable to breastfeed or decide not to, infant formula is a healthy option which provides babies with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.

 

If you have decided to supplement with infant formula, you would agree that the decision to choose the right one can be quite overwhelming. It can be confusing with so many different brands out there making lofty claims and all the medical jargon they use. I recently had a chat with formula-feeding moms on my Instagram and almost all of them said that they did not really research before choosing the right infant formula for their baby, they went with what was suggested by their paediatrician. This is fair, because as a new parent, you trust your paediatrician the most. However it is good to know what factors go into choosing the formula, so that you can take an informed decision. So here I am going to try to break it down for you.

 

Choosing the Right Infant Formula for your Baby | Baby & Beyond

Choosing the Right Infant Formula for your Baby | Baby & Beyond

 

These are some of the parameters to consider while making choosing the right infant formula for your baby:

 

Premature / Full-term birth:

Preterm babies have certain specific nutritional needs and hence your pediatrician may recommend a brand offering a formula specially created for preterm babies, such as Aptamil Preterm, PreNAN or Similac Neosure.

 

Age:

As your baby grows, her nutritional needs change based on her developmental stage. Many brands offer formulas specific to baby’s age. For example, Similac Advance comes in 3 stages for babies up to 6 months, 6-12 months and 12-24 months.

 

Allergies:

Most formulas are made with cow’s milk as a base, however in case your baby is found to be lactose intolerant, your pediatrician may advise you to avoid cow’s milk. For such cases, soy milk based formulas are available as well. Similac Isomil is one such formula which is soy-based and lactose-free.

 

Frequency of feeding baby formula:

If you plan to supplement breast milk with an occasional formula feed, which baby formula you choose won’t make a significant difference. However if the baby will be exclusively formula-fed or receive more formula than breast milk, then you need to look for one that will closely resemble the profile of breast milk, while ensuring all of baby’s nutritional requirements are fulfilled. For example, it is very important to make certain that the formula is fortified with iron. NAN Pro infant formula contains probiotics which promote digestion and immunity.

 

Brand:

Though generic formulas are available in the market at a lesser price point, I would personally have more trust in one that is backed by a reputed company that is well-established and trusted in the infant nutrition space. A baby’s nutrition is not something I would want to risk with an unknown brand name.

 

So how do you know what to look for in the formula?

 

Ingredients in Infant Formula:

There are 4 main components to formula: protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.

Protein: As I mentioned, the choice of protein would depend on whether your baby is able to accept cow milk base, else you would opt for soy based formula

Fatty Acids: Look for a formula that contains the fatty acid DHA which is found in breast milk too. DHA is responsible for majority of the development of brain and eyes.

Essential vitamins and minerals: Look for a baby formula which contains:

  • Iron, folic acid, zinc, iodine, choline, taurine: for boosting baby brain development, cognition and memory. The first 3 years of life are most crucial for brain development, hence it is important to ensure the presence of these 6 nutrients
  • Vitamin A: promotes vision development
  • Vitamin E: antioxidant, important for brain health because it prevents damage to DHA from oxidation
  • Calcium, Vitamin D, phosphorus – support bone development
  • Potassium – for muscle strength
  • Vitamin C – to develop immunity and improve absorption of iron

 

In the end, the formula you choose will depend on the baby’s specific needs and how often you will be feeding the formula.
Did you opt for formula feeding for your baby? What factors did you consider while choosing the right formula for your baby?


Disclaimer: This is a general information post. This post should not be mistaken for professional medical advice. Please consult your pediatrician before choosing a formula for your baby.

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Comments
  1. Alpana Deo said on June 27, 2018 1:33 am:

    Yesy son was formula fed. I chose the formula as per his age, and I used Similac. It suited him.well so didn’t change it until I shifted him to regular milk.

  2. Amitoj Kaur said on June 28, 2018 2:13 pm:

    Yes.. I used to give formula to my baby too along with breastfeeding. Our paediatrician told us to buy the formula which has DHA as an ingredient as u mentioned it is responsible for brain development. You have compiled some useful points to consider while buying formula for infants.

  3. Priya said on June 29, 2018 1:02 pm:

    You have created a very informative post here. My daughter was partially formula fed, after 6 months to account for emergencies when I am not available.

  4. Pooja Kawatra said on June 29, 2018 6:08 pm:

    I feel this is quite an informative post for all the mommies who look for formula feeding along with Breastfeeding or for any reason can’t breastfeed.

  5. Gurjeet Chhabra said on June 29, 2018 7:31 pm:

    Nice informative article. My baby is lactose intolerance , I am too giving soya formula to my baby. Going to try similac isomil

  6. Gunjan said on July 1, 2018 10:31 am:

    That’s such an informative post Mahek, glad I could be a part of your chat and got to know other moms feedback too

  7. Amrita Basu said on July 2, 2018 1:27 pm:

    Infant formula is a sensitive topic .I am glad you are spreading awareness.

  8. Shub said on July 2, 2018 7:48 pm:

    As a mom of a micro preemie, I know how important it is to choose the right formula. In fact for all babies, this is a crucial topic for moms.