Making Everyday Buying Decisions Easier
I am not a mother. Yet. There was a time that I thought it is way too early to bother knowing all the motherly stuff. But still you just realize that it is better to be aware of the details before that time comes. If you are in the same shoes as I am or about to become a mom, then you are in the right place to know what it takes to feed your newborn baby.
A question I found myself asking more than once because I feel that I need to be prepared. And I’ve found that Similac NeoSure Formula Babies (click here to view on Amazon.com) is the best formula to use for babies. It provides more protein, vitamins, minerals and calories than typical ones. In addition, it contains Docosahexaenoic acid and Arachadonic Acid, which means it includes omega-3 fat acids that support brain and eye health and development for babies. Similac’s NeoSure Formula is perfect for newborn babies.
Now, I’m sure you’ve seen in the stores the wide variety of formulas available for your baby. The question then becomes, what is best for my baby. It is a general truth that the most healthful way is breastfeeding. Yes, breast is best, as its nutrient-rich contents provide babies with exactly what they need when they’re developing an immune system. But many moms get exhausted, achy, ungenerous or become out of commission due to many factors reflecting on the ‘good’ milk. Of course, it’s better to have a helping hand to take care of a baby, especially when you are out of milk or are experiencing some issues. And that is all okay, because there is such a thing as baby formula.
If you’re taking the formula feeding route or simply want to have some on hand in case of an emergency, it can be hard knowing which formula to buy. As I went deep on this subject, I can tell you what is best for you and your baby, but let’s find it out together.
YES, there are a ton of different types, but let me go the straightway and keep you away from dizziness. There are only three overall types of baby formula of the multiple formula options from various brands: powder, liquid concentrate and ready-to-feed. As a matter of fact, you can point out advantages and disadvantages for each of them, so moms have a variety of choice and find the best fit of the situation.
You probably already have an idea of how to use a powder formula: just add a specific amount of water and all set. This formula is usually sold in cartons and canisters and belongs to easy-to-use type. You can see more powder formulas here on Amazon.com. But what types of advantages and disadvantages are there by using powder?
If you cannot afford to buy baby formula every now and then, baby powder is exactly for you. And it comes with a free scoop. Plus, the powder has long expiration date, so you can keep it as long as you add some water to it.
Do you travel much? It may be not comfortable to carry it with you as it can be spilt on your luggage. On the other hand, you can buy single-use travel packets with an additional price.
Another thing to mention is that it is not recommended for premature newborns whose immune systems are still forming, since powder food is not quite sterile.
Liquid formula is also about adding water, but unlike the previous one, there is no need for a scoop.
The mixture of water is easier and more customer-friendly.
Liquid formula is more expensive than powder. Also, once you open it, you need to keep it cool in the fridge and use the entire container within 48 hours, which means you may waste it if your using it as a supplement to breastfeeding.
As you may guess from the name, this baby formula is super easy to use: you just open and feed your baby. You can find different sizes of them.
It is the most user-friendly formula out of all of them. No scoops, no keeping in the fridge, just easy-to-use and reliable product. Sounds great, right?
It is legit that ready-to-feed is way more expensive than the previous two ones. For instance, Enfamil Premium Ready to Use formula costs 27 to 35 percent more than its powder version.
Once the ready-to-feed bottle is cracked open, it needs to be finished or discarded after 48 hours of refrigeration.
1. Cow’s Milk Based Formula
The main ingredient is the cow milk, logical. Anyhow, some labels try to change the milk, its protein. The purpose is to make it easier for a baby to digest.
2. Soy-Based Formula
In soy-based formulas, the modification is made in plant protein. This formula is better for babies that have problem with cow-based milk formula.
3. Lactose-Free Formula
Lactose can be troublemaker for many babies, but it is not that common. However, if your baby has that issue, it is better to turn to your pediatrician for recommendation. Usually the substitute to this is corn syrup.
4. Extensively Hydrolyzed Formula
This formula is noted as it breaks down the protein into smaller parts to make it easy for babies to digest. If a baby has difficulties in digesting nutrients or have some allergy, focus on buying this formula.
5. Metabolic Formula
This formula is required upon some occasions: when your baby is sick or needs particular nutrition. Its constant use is not recommended.
Before turning to baby formula, just make sure you know what you are buying. We can consider a few cases that your baby may need, and find out the best formula for that demand.
Breast milk is particularly crucial for very newborn babies. And the reason to that is the ingredients that it contains. They change on and on to satisfy the needs of the newborn, helps to boost its developing immune system and builds muscle strength. When it comes to baby formula, it is hard to claim to be completely substitute to the breast milk. This is why it is highly recommended to feed natural milk to infants. Even though in cases of very premature babies: born at 28 to 32 weeks, the Neonatal intensive care unit can prescribe donor breast milk if the mom can’t supply it. Afterwards, there are special feeding regimes that will give appropriate nutrients to a baby. Things are different in case of older preemies, that are born at 32 to 37 weeks, or underweight term babies. As there are some formulas for them. Let’s find out what.
Both formulas provide more protein, vitamins, minerals and calories than typical ones. In addition, they contain Docosahexaenoic acid and Arachadonic Acid, which means they include omega-3 fat acids that support brain and eye health. These ingredients are beneficial not only for babies, but grown-ups as well. Each baby formula has similar nutrients arranged in a slightly different formulation. Anyhow, you can include them in the ‘diet’ of your child.
There is a common knowledge that there is no need to seek a special baby formula, they are all the same. However, you’ll find some formulas designed especially for supplementing that give you extra points. But what exactly? Here is an example.
Similac for Supplementation Infant Formula
This baby formula has 10 percent more prebiotics than the brand’s basic Similac Advance formula. Prebiotics help soften baby’s poop, which can be useful since many breastfeeding mothers are worried about harder stools when supplementing with baby formula.
What matters most is the best baby formula for breastfed babies is less about the name of the product, but more about the protocol. As you don’t feed baby from the breast, your organism gets the signal that there is less demand and produce less milk. In order to prevent a dip in your supply, pump when you can to make up for the missed breastfeeding session.
Organic baby formula, which is based on cows raised on organic diet, means there are no pesticides and no antibiotics, use natural vitamins instead of petroleum-derived ones. But keep in mind that just because it is organic does not mean it has no other notorious ingredients, such as corn syrup, palm oil or hexane-sourced Docosahexaenoic and Arachadonic acids. In case you do not know what Hexane is, it is a byproduct of petroleum refining, which does not sit properly with some parents, though the FDA has considered its use as a processing agent safe. From a strictly scientific standpoint, it is not ascertained that organic baby formula is better than conventional. What we are sure about is that it is more expensive and fuller of nutrition. Approximately it costs you 20 per cent more than non-organic package.
You can find no perfect infant food other than breast milk, so even with organic baby formula, you need to parse out your priorities. We can consider my top 3 list of the best organic baby formulas depending on initial needs and preferences of baby formula.
1. Plum Organics Infant Formula
I have chosen this one because this baby formula uses only lactose as its carbohydrate. Just know that this no corn syrup solids contain hexane-sourced omega-3s.
2. The Honest Company Organic Infant Formula
Unlike the first one, this baby formula has no hexane-extracted ingredients, but it does contain glucose syrup. It is USDA organic and non-GMO sensitive.
3. Similac Organic Baby Formula
This baby formula is rich in organic sugar, which may concern some mothers. However, it contains palm oil, DHA, Lutein and Vitamin E. All these ingredients make it taste sweeter.
You still can have your favorite baby formula if not these three. And whatever you choose, it is crucial to know that organic cannot always be satisfactory for your baby and you can pick another baby formula.
Let us define what is colic first. Your baby is colicky in case it cries more than usual, even though it is healthy and under three months of age. And what is more than usual? Every child cry, right? But if there is no apparent reason, their moms or caregivers hear the cry three times more. What bothers even more is that medics cannot tell what causes colic, so it is logical to consider baby formula as well, like in case of gastrointestinal issues.
But before you switch your baby formula, be sure about that and give it some time to see if any tips and tricks for relieving a gassy or constipated baby may help. So, consider not only crying, but also other factors, such as child vomits, coughs, wheezes, hard breathing, unexpected rash or red spots or maybe diarrhea, being itchy, having watery or swollen eyes and others. In these cases, yes, you should think that your baby is sensitive to that particular formula. However, it is better to consult with pediatrician, and do not forget ask about hydrolyzed proteins. And also consider my recommendations for formula in case of colic.
Gerber Good Start Soothe Powder Infant Formula (Amazon.com)
Among the best baby formulas for colic, this one contains protein which is partially broken down, which is simpler to digest than casein proteins. Soothe also contains comforting probiotics (L. reuteri), theoretically described as the only probiotic that helps in case of colic.
Similac Alimentum Infant Formula (Amazon.com)
Another product for colic with thoroughly hydrolyzed proteins. The proteins in this baby formula are broken down into even smaller units. The purpose of this is baby’s immune system so as not to revolt against them. This brand has a special feature: it contains no palm oil: an ingredient thought to stiffen stools in some infants and reduce the amount of calcium and oils absorbed into baby’s system.
It is common that babies have gas. After all, babies get to learn how to fight it themselves. Which means, if your baby has gas, it is not necessarily connected with the baby formula factor. So, make sure your baby isn’t excessively gassy for other reasons. Have you considered the position of a baby while feeding? In case of powder formula, there should be no bubbles unsettled. Unlike it, liquid or ready-to-feed formulas can be better to reduce gas.
In very rare cases, gassy babies may be sensitive to lactose: a sugar naturally found in milk you give. Lactose can also be found in breast milk, but this milk contains other compounds that help babies digest it making it safe. We can say that the best baby formula for gas may be a partially hydrolyzed option with no lactose or the one without it. Here is an example product:
Similac Total Comfort Non-GMO Infant Formula (Amazon.com)
It is a magic formula when it comes to sensitive tummies, because it is low in lactose and the protein for easy digestion. As mentioned in the description, is the number 1 Infant Formula brand recommended by pediatricians. Reviews claim the same. However, it has one point: in spite of being a no-lactose product, it still contains a smidge of lactose. If your child is not tolerant to lactose, we highly recommend consulting with your pediatrician.
Does your child make a lot of efforts when it comes to pooping? Well, do not bother, it is not unusual. However, if this process lasts more than 10 minutes with less ‘results’, than it may be constipated. If you are still not sure, take into account occasional fussiness, hard stools and unusually frequent spit-up. You should help your baby out while pooping, also you can add a smashed apple or pear juice to the formula. If it does not work, consider changing the baby formula. Do not exclude iron-fortified baby formula, as it does not cause constipation. To guide you through a product, here is one:
Enfamil Reguline Infant Formula (Amazon.com)
This is a good product among the best baby formula for constipation, at least according to its reviews. What makes it stand out is partially hydrolyzed protein ingredient, which makes it easy to digest food, as well as two prebiotic ingredients that boost the good bacteria meant to absorb any tummy issue, and promotes soft, comfortable stools within the first week of usage. With this formula your baby’s trouble is solved.
In the end, let us talk about price, as many may find it the most important factor. It is great to find a product that is both effective and not that expensive, let’s admit. However, avoid buying baby formulas that have no label and description on it that points out the list of ingredients.
The best cheap baby formula is impossible to single out because there is as much variation in generic formulas as there are in name brands, but here is one to try, if you are looking for a generic version:
Kroger Comforts for Baby Tender Formula (Amazon.com)
Tender contains initially the same ingredients as other popular products, only there is more lactose and less corn maltodextrin, also known as corn syrup. The savings here: more than $10 for a 23.2-ounce container on Kroger Comforts.
Have you made up your mind? I know, I know, it is not an easy decision. Well, just bear in mind that breast milk is an absolute winner in this race, so if you have the luxury to feed your newborn baby with your breast, do not hesitate. To determine the silver in this competition is really hard, because few experts will tell you which brand of formula comes next.
Another note in this subject: do not switch from one formula to another again and again. It would be better to stick to the one that is best for your baby. So, try not to panic or experiment with all the products. If there is a problem, always contact your pediatrician.
Whichever baby formula you buy, always follow the mixing instructions. And never try to save money, it is your baby’s health we are talking about.
by Darion Robinson