Why Not All Baby Formula Is Created Equal
Breast milk truly is the best source of nutrition for babies during their first year of life. It contains the nutrients needed to help them develop properly while providing needed protection from many illnesses. Breastfeeding is also great for moms as it can help shed the pounds gained during pregnancy more quickly and allow them to return to their pre-pregnancy weight. Breastfeeding can also lower the risk of developing diabetes, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. There are times, however, when breastfeeding isn’t an option or when moms need to supplement with formula. Parents want what is best for their child, but deciphering the seemingly endless varieties of baby formula available can be a daunting task. Since not all baby formula is created equal, it is important to understand how to choose the best one.
There are three types of formulas available: soy-based, cow milk-based and protein hydrolysate. There are also special formulas available for premature babies as well as those with specific medical conditions.
Most baby formulas are milk based and are made with cow’s milk. This is a good option for most full-term babies. Soy-based formulas are made with soy protein and are a good alternative for parents who wish to exclude animal protein from their child’s diet or for other special circumstances. It is also a good option for babies with lactose intolerance or for those with allergies to the protein found in cow’s milk. This is not a good option for preterm babies. Protein hydrolysate formulas are intended for babies who cannot tolerate cow or soy-based formulas.
So how do you know what’s best? All infant formulas sold in the United States must meet the standards set by the FDA. This ensures they meet the minimum requirements for nutrient content. Choosing name brand versus generic is not necessarily important. Instead, choose a formula that is iron-fortified. Never create homemade baby formula, as it can be very dangerous to the baby. It is also very important to not change formulas without first consulting a pediatrician.
The team at Rainbow Pediatrics wants to help you provide the best nutrition for your baby. If you have questions about breastfeeding or choosing the right baby formula, schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric providers today.