With so many options in the market, choosing what baby formula to feed our newborns can be an overwhelming task. Whether it’s organic, plant based or animal based, it is important to know what we’re feeding our babies. Here are five facts you need to know about when switching baby formula which best suits your needs and your baby’s needs.
- Baby formula is different from regular milk
Nursing mothers produce milk for their babies to drink. Infant formula, on the other hand, is a combination of processed cow’s milk and other ingredients that are specially formulated for babies who are not breastfed. Compared to regular milk, baby formula has different nutritional needs and is formulated to be easier on an infant’s digestive system. It is ideal for the first year of life, when mother’s milk may not be readily available or safe to drink.
- Baby formula comes in two main versions – animal based and plant based
Baby formulas of both versions come in liquid and powder form but are as different as night and day. Animal based baby formula is made by extracting casein and whey proteins from cow’s milk, while plant based formula contains soy protein isolate, which is derived from soybeans. Both versions contain other ingredients like vitamins and minerals but studies show that animal based formula has more calcium, protein, sodium and cholesterol than plant based baby formula.
- Plant based baby formula is better than its animal counterpart for babies with allergies
Infants are often allergic to certain food ingredients, and animal based baby formulas can make things worse. Plant based formulas, on the other hand, are free of cow’s milk protein. Also unlike animal based formulas, they’re free of artificial colors and preservatives, making them best suited for babies with allergies.
- Switching from animal based to plant based formula is a good option for parents with dairy allergies
For parents with dairy allergies, the switch from animal to plant-based formulas is ideal because they are virtually allergy-free. Vegetarians who do not consume any type of dairy products can also rely on these types of baby formulas as well as their other options like soy or rice-based ones. Infant formula is a complete replacement when breastfeeding is not possible or fails due to inadequacies in one or both mothers’ diet.
- It’s not just about nutrition for the baby
The nutrients in infant formula are important, but what about the taste? Let’s face it, many of us choose to have formula on hand simply because we don’t like the taste of breast milk. Baby formulas have been formulated to taste like cow’s milk and not just a watered down version. The artificial flavors used to make these formula palatable include pineapple and vanilla, whereas breast milk does not contain flavorings at all because its natural composition makes it unpalatable. It is best to stick with feeding your baby what she likes or what you know your baby will eat without any fussiness or fuss. If a breastfeed is unsuccessful, so are many of your parenting choices.
With so many options available, it’s easy to see why baby formula is one of the fastest growing and most profitable industries in the world. It’s important to know your baby’s nutritional needs as well as his preferences before you choose which baby formula is best for your family.