Buying Baby Formula
Baby Formula 101: How to buy the right formula
Types of Baby Formula
Lactose-Reduced or Lactose-Free
Amino Acid-based Formula
Extensively Hydrolyzed Cow’s Milk Protein Formula
Baby Formula Formats
Formula Dos and Don’ts
- DO sterilize bottles, nipples and equipment
- DO follow the preparation instructions on the formula package carefully
- DO use the formula before the expiration date on the label
- DO wash your hands before handling baby bottles or feeding your baby
- DO throw away any unused formula left in a bottle after a feeding. Germs and bacteria from your baby’s saliva can live and breed in the warm liquid.
- DON’T heat formula in a microwave. The microwave creates an uneven temperature in the liquid that could burn your baby’s mouth.
- DON’T put cereal in a bottle. It could cause choking.
- DON’T leave your baby to feed unattended by propping up the bottle. It could make the baby choke.
- DON’T let your baby fall asleep with a bottle in his/her mouth. This can cause tooth decay. If your baby falls asleep while feeding, gently remove the bottle from your baby’s mouth.
Baby Formula Features
Natural human breast milk contains roughly 40% casein protein and 60% whey protein. Many formulas contain similar protein ratios, though some can contain up to 100% whey protein. Soy-based formulas contain soy protein isolate, and many brands have partially-hydrolyzed soy protein for better digestibility.
DHA & ARA (Omega-3 & 6) +
DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) and ARA (an omega-6 fatty acid) are both long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (considered the “good” kinds of fat) that may be important building blocks of brain and eye tissues. The brain and nervous tissue undergo the most rapid growth from the last trimester of pregnancy to about the first 18 months of life. During this time, a good supply of fatty acids is helpful to meet these needs for growth.
Probiotics (considered “good bacteria”) are live microorganisms which can provide health benefits to your infant. Probiotics naturally contribute to baby’s healthy digestive tract flora and are found naturally in breast milk.
The primary carbohydrate in both natural breast milk and formula is lactose. Some formulas also use corn maltodextrin as a secondary source of carbohydrates. Some specialized formulas (lactose-free or soy-based types for example) may contain additional carbohydrates like modified corn starch, corn-based solids and sucrose.
Natural breast milk contains a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fat. Baby formulas employ a wide range of different oils to match this important fat content. These can include palm oil, soy oil, coconut oil, and sunflower oil.
Vitamins and Minerals +
The vitamin and mineral content of formula can be found on the packaging. It is recommended that infants who are not breast-fed receive an iron-rich diet, which many formulas can accommodate.
Feeding Cues & Concerns
- Satisfied after eating
- Sleeping well
- Lots of wet/poopy diapers
- Spitting up
- Vomiting after feeding
- Stomach pain
- Excessive gas
- Seems hungry after feeding
- Fussy and crying at the beginning or end of feeding
- Colicky behavior
- Isn’t gaining weight (after 2 weeks)
- Isn’t wetting five to six diapers a day
- A rash, hives or eczema
- Is gagging or gulping formula
- Trouble sucking from the bottle
- Won’t take a bottle
- Constipation, or stool is unusually hard
- Diarrhea, or stool is loose, watery or foul smelling
- Stool that is mucus-like and mixed with blood
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How to prepare ready-to-feed & liquid concentrate
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when storing baby formula
- Secure lid tightly and store powdered formula in a cool, dry place
- Refrigerate unused formula at 4° C (39° F) or below
- Refrigerate unused ready-to-serve formula after opening and discard after 48 hours