What Is the Best Baby Formula to Supplement Breastfeeding?

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Stroll the aisle of any grocery store, and you’ll see numerous baby formula brand options from Enfamil to Similac. These are two of the biggest milk brands on the market. However, since no two children are the same, no infant formula brand is best for all babies. Therefore, you must choose a formula that suits your child’s needs. 

How to Choose an Infant Formula

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulates commercial infant formulas to meet the minimum nutritional needs and safety requirementsBelow are the things you need to look for when choosing a baby formula to supplement breastfeeding: 

Check the Label and the Packaging

Commercial infant formulas come in powdered and liquid forms. When choosing an infant formula, make sure it isn’t expired. Don’t forget to inspect the container. It must be sealed and in good condition. If you see any puffy ends, leaks, or rust spots, don’t get it. 

Choosing an infant formula with a 100% safety record like a2 Platinum is something you will want to look into. If you have any questions regarding formula, it’s best to talk with your child’s pediatrician. Speaking with a doctor is essential, especially if you’re thinking of switching formula type or brand. 

Select Iron-Fortified Baby Formula  

Generally, the best baby formula is iron-fortified. This is why most commercial infant formulas sold in the United States contain iron. A study from the Paediatrics and Child Health stated that babies and children need iron for their brains to develop normally. When your baby doesn’t get enough iron, they may show one of these signs:     

  • Pale skin
  • Slow weight gain
  • Lack of appetite
  • Irritability 

Infants with an iron deficiency may be less active physically. They may also develop more slowly. Not having sufficient iron may lead to a shorter attention span and poor academic performance.

Consider Soy Formulas for Lactose Intolerant Infants 

Soy formulas are often recommended for children unable to digest lactose, the main carbohydrate in cow’s milk formula. Many children have brief periods when they have difficulty digesting lactose, especially after bouts of diarrhea that can damage the digestive enzymes in the lining of their intestines. 

When your baby has a milk allergy, it means that their immune system overreacts to proteins in cow’s milk. In this case, you can consider soy formula as an alternative. Unfortunately, half the infants who have milk allergies are also sensitive to soy protein. Thus, pediatricians may give these babies specialized formulas, such as amino acid-based, if the mother has an insufficient milk supply. 

Amino acid-based formulas have their proteins broken down into amino acids (building blocks of proteins). These much smaller components are no longer allergenic. Strict vegan parents can also opt for a soy formula because it’s free from any animal products. Still, it’s best to speak with your pediatrician to help you find the best infant formula if your child is lactose intolerant.

Choose Specialized Formulas for Preemies 

Certain health conditions, such as heart disease, severe reflux, metabolic disorders, and premature birth, may need a specialized formula recommended by a physician.

Formulas designed for premature infants contain:

  • More calories per ounce
  • Higher levels of vitamins and minerals
  • More protein than milk formulas meant for full-term babies

If your baby is experiencing developmental delays they may not be ready to start solids and yet, they may be too old for infant formula. If that’s the case, you’ll want to consult with your pediatrician and discuss your options. 

Is Homemade Infant Formula Safe?

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and the FDA warned against using various recipes to make homemade baby formula. Using homemade infant formula can cause serious health problems for your baby. Remember that your child’s nutritional needs are specific, especially in their first year of life.

The homemade baby formula may have too much or too little of various components, such as vitamins and minerals. In addition, if it doesn’t undergo a quality check, it may also have an increased risk of contamination. Although commercial powdered formulas aren’t guaranteed to be sterile, the FDA regularly inspects these baby products. They may also check the manufacturing facilities where they are made, which increases the chances of safety.  

Is Organic Milk Formula Better Than Non-Organic? 

Many parents opt for certified organic formulas over conventional options. This is because certified organic formulas are hormone and pesticide-free. Their production standards are also more stringent, which unfortunately also makes them more expensive than their conventional counterparts. 

Conclusion 

“Fed is best.” There are several high-quality formulas on the market that can nourish your little one and mimic your breast milk. Talk to your pediatrician about which one might be best for your family. Remember that when you feel good, your child is more likely to thrive as well. So if supplementing with formula is the best decision for your given situation, then go ahead and do it.

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