What is Baby Milk Formula?
Baby milk formula is an artificial substitute for breast milk. It is used to feed the babies aged between 0-12 months. Although breastfeeding is the best and healthiest way to feed an infant at least until 6 months from birth, Doctors may recommend Baby milk formula depending on the baby and mother’s health condition while Mothers/caregivers may prefer the baby milk formula for specific reasons.
Composition of Baby Milk Formula:
Composition of infant formula is designed to be roughly based on a human mother’s milk at approximately three months post-delivery.
- Protein: The standard source of protein in baby milk formula comes from cow’s milk. Cow’s milk contains two types of proteins- casein and whey. Whey proteins remain “liquid” in the stomach; they empty the stomach into the intestines faster than the casein proteins. Whey proteins are also less likely to be the trigger for an allergy. However, both casein and whey contain several bioactive peptides that have been shown to benefit the baby’s immune and digestive systems. Hence milk formula is prepared including whey and casein in different percentages.
- Fat: blend of vegetable oils
- Carbohydrate: lactose
- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid): These are naturally found essential fatty acids in human breast milk. Since the human brain is more advanced and sophisticated, cow’s milk may not contain all the essential fatty acids required for the development of the brain and central nervous system. This is more important for premature babies to include DHA and ARA in the infant formula. Almost all infant formulas nowadays include DHA.
All ingredients are listed in the order of the amount of composition. In other words, the first ingredient, Protein takes up the most volume in the baby formula recipe. The second, Fat is the second largest by volume, and so on. The alternative source to any cow’s milk-based baby formula is a soy-based formula. The protein in these infant formulas will appear on the ingredients list (as the first or second ingredient) as “soy protein isolate”.
Baby milk formula is recommended for Mothers and Babies in the following cases:
- Lactation problems: Sometimes, the mother may not produce enough breast milk for an infant.
- Some women are unable to breastfeed or find it too difficult due to surgeries, inverted nipples, pain or social issues that make breastfeeding or pumping difficult.
- Mother’s health: The mother is infected with HIV or has active tuberculosis.
- She is extremely ill or has had certain kinds of breast surgery, which may have removed or disconnected all milk-producing parts of the breast.
- She is taking any kind of drug that could harm the baby, including both prescription drugs such as cytotoxic chemotherapy for cancer treatments as well as illicit drugs.
- Absence of mother.
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- Very low birth weight babies, under about 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz), often need extra protein, calcium and phosphorous, so a fortifier (baby milk formula) is given to them along with mother’s milk.
- Babies having birth errors like Galactosemia (cannot digest lactose present in breast milk or any formula milk which contains lactose). These babies are fed with soy-based formula.
Myths about formula feed
- Baby milk formula should be low in iron.
- Formula-fed babies are less healthy than breastfed babies.
- Formula can lead to obese babies.
- Formula can’t be fed along with breastfeeding.
- Formula-fed babies don’t bond with their moms.
- Moms that formula-feed will take longer to lose the pounds.
- Moms that formula-feed are more likely to suffer from certain symptoms.
- Moms that formula-feed are more likely to become diabetic.
- Moms that formula-feed are less protected from cancer.
Advantages of Baby milk Formula
- Mothers who choose to bottle feed their baby doesn’t have to worry about altering their diet to meet the needs of their baby. Caffeine, alcohol, and calorie intake are more flexible. Nursing mothers are advised to take in about 500 calories per day, which can make weight loss difficult.
- Formula-fed babies will generally eat less often than breastfed babies because baby formulas take longer to digest than mother’s milk.
- When feeding your baby with milk formula, you can measure exactly how much food your little one is getting per feeding. This is useful in understanding how much food is necessary for your baby to feel full.
- Baby milk formula helps parents share the work of feeding. Bottle feeding allows anyone in the family to help out when it comes to feeding little one.
Disadvantages of Baby milk Formula
- Lack of antibodies: None of the antibodies found in breast milk are in the manufactured formula. So, formula can’t provide a baby with the added protection against infection and illness that breast milk does.
- Can’t match the complexity of breast milk: Manufactured formulas have yet to duplicate the complexity of breast milk, which changes as the baby’s needs change.
- Planning and organization: Unlike breast milk — which is always available, unlimited, and served at the right temperature — formula feeding your baby requires planning and organization to make sure that you have what you need when you need it. Parents must buy formula and make sure it’s always on hand to avoid late-night runs to the store.
- And it’s important to always have the necessary supplies (like bottles and nipples) clean, easily accessible, and ready to go — otherwise, you will have a very hungry, very fussy baby to answer to. With 8-10 feedings in a 24-hour period, parents can quickly get overwhelmed if they’re not prepared and organized
- Expense: Formula can be costly. Powdered formula is the least expensive, followed by concentrated, with ready-to-feed being the most expensive. And specialty formulas (such as soy and hypoallergenic) cost more, sometimes far more than the basic formulas.
- Possibility of producing gas and constipation: Formula-fed babies may have more gas and firmer bowel movements than breastfed babies.
- Possibility of overfeeding: There is a chance of over-feeding the babies if the baby seems to be more demanding which may lead to diarrhea and other complications.
- Mixing challenges and Hygiene maintenance: Baby milk formula should be mixed with the right amount of powder and water in very hygienic and sterile containers. This may be cumbersome.
How to choose the best formula milk for babies?
- Most doctors recommend the formula made from cow’s milk. Most baby milk formulas available today are made from that.
- If a baby has a milk allergy, doctors may suggest formula made from soy milk.
- The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that all babies who aren’t breastfed should get a formula with iron until they’re 1 year old. It helps prevent anemia, which is low iron levels in their blood.
- It will be
written on the pack about the stage of the baby milk formula you are
choosing-Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3. Carefully choose the right stage.
- Stage 1 is for 0-6 months.
- Stage 2 is for 6-12 months of babies.
- Stage 3 is for 12-24 months old.
- Formulas come in three types of preparations:
- Ready-to-feed (the most expensive)
- Liquid concentrates (less expensive)
- Powder (the most economical)
- Read and follow the mixing directions on the package carefully.
- New-borns start out with a stomach that can hold only a small amount at first. One to 2 ounces per feeding is usually enough early on, but by the time your baby is 2 months old, for example, she’ll need 24 to 32 ounces a day and about six to seven feedings in a 24-hour period.
Here’s a rough idea of how much formula your baby needs, and how often she needs to be fed:
Note: These details are mentioned for informational purposes only. Please read the product label and instructions leaflet for accuracy. Never consider these details as medical advice.
|Age||Amount per feeding||Feeding frequency|
|Newborn||60 to 90 ml||Every 3 to 4 hours|
|1 month||90 to 120 ml||Every 4 hours|
|2 months||120 ml||6 to 7 feedings/24 hours|
|4 months||120 to 150 ml||5 feedings/24 hours|
|6 months||120 to 180 ml||5 feedings/24 hours|
|1 year||180 ml||2 to 3 feedings/24 hours supplemented with baby food|
Brands available in India
Following are some of the widely used Baby Milk Formula available in the market and are commonly prescribed by Doctor’s:
- Aptamil Stage 1 Infant Formula
- Nestle Lactogen 1 Infant Formula Powder
- Enfamil A+ Stage 2 Follow-Up Formula
- Farex 1 Infant Formula
- Nutricia Dexolac
- Neocate LCP Infant Formula Powder
- Similac Advance Infant Formula
- Nusobee Soya Infant Formula
- Similac IQ+
Aptamil Stage 1 Infant Formula
Nestle Lactogen 1 Infant Formula Powder
Enfamil A+ Stage 2 Follow-Up Formula
Farex 1 Infant Formula
Neocate LCP Infant Formula Powder
Similac Advance Infant Formula
Nusobee Soya Infant Formula
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Dr. Divya has been pursuing Dentistry for about 5 years now. Endodontics and Orthodontics are her areas of interest and she holds a BDS degree from Govt. Dental College, Vijayawada, AP. Besides pursuing her career as a Dentist, she is passionate about Technical writing and is spending her free time in writing medical articles to bring awareness and share medical knowledge to the public.