A Guide To Choosing The Right Baby Formula For First-Time Moms

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Raising a baby is a 24-hour job that requires your full attention. As a new parent, you must have a million questions on how to take care of your child in the best possible way. 

The first thing you want to do is figure out your baby’s nursing and bottle-feeding. This depends on your personal preferences and your baby’s allergies or other conditions. Additionally, if you are not breastfeeding due to personal or medical reasons, it becomes all the more important to choose the best baby formula for your child to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients and vitamins. 

In this article, we have highlighted a comprehensive guide for first-time moms and other parents who want to learn everything about baby formulas in order to make the right choice for the health and wellbeing of their child. 

What Are Your Options

It is best to know all the available options before choosing a baby formula. Whether you prefer a dairy and soy free formula or a specialized formula to address specific health conditions, we have got you covered. Below are the five main types of baby formulas that are on the market.

Cow’s-milk-based formula

Doctors often tend to recommend a cow’s-milk-based formula since it is quite easily available on the market. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) cites that it makes up around 80% of baby formulas sold on the market. 

This type of formula is mainly made of cow’s milk after it has been modified to make it more digestible. However, if your baby is allergic to cow’s milk or is lactose (a type of carbohydrate) intolerant, you may want to explore other options. 

Soy-based formula 

Soy is a legume of Asian origin that is rich in protein and carbohydrates such as glucose or sucrose. It is a great alternative for parents who want a baby formula that doesn’t contain any animal products. It is also usually suggested to parents whose child is unable to tolerate the lactose found in cow’s milk. 

Protein Hydrolyzed formula

Protein hydrolyzed formulas contain hydrolyzed or ‘broken down’ protein to make it easily digestible. They are a great alternative for babies who can’t tolerate either cow’s milk or soy-based formulas. Sometimes, these types of formula are also recommended for babies who have a protein allergy since the protein in these formulas closely resembles that found in breast milk.  

Protein hydrolyzed formulas usually come as partially or fully hydrolyzed. The latter is usually indicated as hypoallergenic and caters to babies who have severe digestive issues.  

Plant-based baby formula 

In case you want to avoid animal and dairy-based formulas, plant-based formulas are a great option for vegan households. This is a dairy-free, soy-free, and non-GMO baby formula that addresses any ethical concerns you might have.  

Specialized baby formula 

If your baby has certain pre-existing medical conditions such as reflux or baby eczema or disorders such as galactosemia, it is best to opt for specialized formulas that address those concerns. Specialized baby formulas are also great for premature babies. 

Choosing The Right Formula For Your Baby

Baby formulas mainly come in three types:

  • Powdered Formula: This type of baby formula can be easily mixed with water to instantly feed your baby. Usually, they are the least expensive type.
  • Liquid Formula: This is a concentrated liquid that also needs to be mixed with water as per the instructions on the label. 
  • Ready-to-use Formula: These are a little heavy on the pocket as they come premixed and can be given to your baby directly without any additions. 

When choosing the right formula, you need to account for what is available on the market, the price points, and importantly, what kind of formula will benefit and address the needs of your baby.

It is highly recommended that you use an iron-fortified formula if you are only relying on baby formulas and not breast-feeding your child. This will ensure that they don’t develop an iron deficiency or anemia as they grow older. 

If your baby suffers from a chronic case of reflux, which is spitting up the formula, it is advisable to get a formula that has a high whey content. In case your child has baby eczema, consider feeding them a partially hydrolyzed baby formula. And if your baby is prone to constipation, it is usually recommended to steer away from formulas that contain palm oil. 

Choosing the right formula, therefore, is a highly individual process as there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Ideally, you should consult your doctor to ascertain which formula will be best for your baby. 

Always remember that when you are selecting baby formula, you need to pay attention to what kind of protein and carbohydrates it contains since they are the most important ingredients in your baby formula. 

How To Make Formula The Right Way

Your baby requires 2.5 ounces of baby formula for every pound of body weight per day. It is, however, best to allow your baby to determine the ideal amount rather than strictly obeying a fixed schedule. 

When preparing baby formula, it is best to check if your tap water is filtered or not. If you are not sure, opt for bottled water. Secondly, skip heating the baby formula in the microwave and instead warm it in a double boiler to ensure it is evenly warmed. It is also recommended that you discard the baby formula within an hour of preparing it even if your baby hasn’t had it. Similarly, if you have made the formula and stored it in the refrigerator, make sure to throw it after 24 hours. 

You should thoroughly sterilize the bottle, nipple, and cap the first time you use them for at least five minutes using an electric steam sterilizer. After that, make sure you wash them regularly after every use. Remember to also keep air out of your baby’s bottle so that your child can easily have the formula. 

Parting Thoughts

Always remember to consult a professional before choosing your baby’s formula. Even if you feel overwhelmed, just remember that your doctor has all the answers. 

In time, you will become a pro at being a parent. We wish you all the best in your parenting journey!

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