There are many reasons why a Mother chooses to formula feed her baby; from personal preference to medical reasons. Whatever the reason you choose to formula feed, it can be a positive, bonding experience for you and your child. One of the main benefits is that other members of the family can help out a lot more with the feeding, giving Mum some valuable freedom and support.
Choosing formula can be more complicated than simply going for the most popular option; there are so many different types of formula ? just looking at the shelves stacked high with options can be rather daunting. This is especially true for new parents, but even for families with older children, you may find that the options have changed considerably since last time you were buying infant formula.
Types of Formula
Powdered formula comes as a powder that you make up into liquid formula by adding water. This means boiling fresh water and letting it cool before making up the feed. Powder has to be mixed with water for each feed as manufacturers no longer recommend that bottles are made up in advance and stored.
Ready-to-feed formula comes made up as a liquid. It is available in bottles and cartons as serving sized portions or as larger quantities. The formula is sterile and can be kept for a limited amount of time when opened. It tends to be more expensive than powdered formula.
Formula for various ages ? from newborn formula to follow-on milk for older children, always check the age recommendation on the packaging of the formula you are considering to make sure it is suitable for your child.
There are many different types of formula, including options for babies who have allergies or intolerances. Babies with lactose intolerance are often prescribed soya based formula but this should not be used unless recommended or prescribed by a health professional. If you are unsure of anything to do with feeding your baby, have your doctor, health visitor or midwife address your concerns. If at any time you feel that your baby is not having the right formula, talk to a health professional for advice on changing. Signs that your baby is intolerant to the formula you are using may include rashes such as hives, excessive wind and bowel problems; both diarrhoea and constipation can be signs that your baby is not digesting the formula well. Every child is different and any sign that makes you feel that your baby is not getting the right formula for his or her needs should be taken seriously.
Other Types of Milk
It is important to choose baby formula designed for babies; never give your baby condensed, evaporated or dried milk. Oat milk, coconut milk, almond milk or rice milk are not suitable for babies either and should be avoided. Cow’s milk is not suitable for babies until they are a year old.
This is the expert advice because until they reach 12 months old, your baby cannot digest complex cow’s milk very well. It contains high levels of protein and other minerals which can be hard on your baby’s kidneys which are not mature enough to handle cow’s milk before they reach the 12 month point. Cow’s milk does not contain enough of the nutrients that your baby needs so to make sure that you are giving your baby the best start in life, choose a formula that it designed to meet their needs fully.
If you have any concerns or queries, speak to your GP or Health Service professional.