Choosing the right baby formula

We all know about the benefits of breastfeeding, and as new mothers we relish the idea of having bonding time with our little ones. But, realistically life creates complications that often make it difficult to breastfeed, and we have to go with baby formula instead. This creates a whole new set of questions, since there are as many types and brands of formula as there are questions about which is the right one. Read on to learn about the different types and ingredients in formulas, so you can better choose the one that’s best for your baby.

The different types of formula

There are three basic types of baby formula: powder, liquid and ready-to-use. The biggest difference among these three is the amount of preparation involved. Powder is the least expensive, and requires you to mix powder formula and water. Liquid, or liquid concentrate, means the formula is already in liquid form and only needs to be diluted with water. Finally, there’s ready-to-use, which is bought ready to go with no preparation required, and is also why it’s the most expensive.

Thanks to FDA regulations, we know that ,no matter which type of formula is used, they all have the vital nutrients that are essential for a baby’s growth and development. The final decision comes down to your budget, and of course, which ingredients your baby requires.

Formulas have different ingredients too

Depending on your baby’s needs, there are three basic types of ingredients that create the make-up of baby formula: milk-based, soy-based, and specialty-based. Milk-based (or formula that’s made mainly from cow’s milk), is the most commonly used, since it contains the vitamins, minerals and added vegetable oils are perfect for a healthy, full-term baby.

Soy-based formula (or formula made with soy protein), also contains the vegetable oils that supply growing babies the calories they need. They tend to be given to lactose intolerant babies who have difficulties with standard milk-based formulas. They’re also used for babies on a vegetarian diet or who may have allergies to cow’s milk because of the protein. This type of formula is not recommended for babies who were born prematurely or with a low birth-weight.

Specialty-based is the biggest category where formula exists for babies with all kinds of needs. Low birth weight babies, or babies that require low sodium, would fit here. These formulas tend to be more expensive ,and may not be necessary for your baby to develop normally. You should always ask your baby’s pediatrician before using these.

How to choose

With so many choices on the shelves, it may seem impossible to make a decision, especially if you’re already a stressed-out mom. A good place to start looking for an answer is with your pediatrician. They can offer you an unbiased opinion about different formula brands available, while keeping your baby’s medical history in mind. It also helps to talk to family and friends with kids to see what worked for them and why. Sometimes the best teachers are those who have gone through what you’re experiencing and have some wisdom to impart.

Regardless of which baby formula you use, don’t feel like you’re locked into that brand. With some transition, you can change to another type until you find one your baby likes. With a little help from your newborn and your support system, you and your baby will have it figured out fast.