Baby formula, first milk or simply baby formula or baby food, baby formula, is commercially manufactured food specifically designed and formulated for feeding infants and babies below the age of 12 weeks, typically prepared from liquid or powder and meant for daily feeding. The process of preparing infant formula for consumption has become one of the major challenges for modern parents. With more babies being born prematurely every year, baby formula manufacturers have come up with improved formulations that hold up longer and provide richer formulas for their consumers. There are also powdered varieties that are ideal for those who wish to make it at home. But what exactly is baby formula and what are its different types?
As we all know, human milk or mother’s milk is the most commonly used in feeding babies under the age of six months. It contains all the essential nutrients needed by the baby from the five main nutrients: iron, calcium, zinc, copper and vitamin D. Another variety of baby formula available in the market is soy formula, popularly known as baby tofu or organic baby formula. It is made from soy beans, making it more eco-friendly and hypoallergenic than other brands. However, soy is not appropriate for babies who are allergic to milk.
One variety of baby formula that is widely available is lactose-free or lactose-reduced formulas. These formulas remove lactose intolerance from the list of nutrients for infants. In fact, research shows that babies with lactose intolerance may develop allergies and are at higher risks of developing health conditions like asthma and diarrhea. Fortunately for these babies, there are alternatives to lactose-reduced formulas. Soy and organic baby formula have lesser instances of lactose intolerance.
Other baby formula types are those produced with rice and other legumes. These formulas are usually used for babies who drink breast milk. Experts recommend these formulas for infants who drink breast milk because it is easily digestible. However, they have low absorption rates compared to other milk protein formulas. Still, rice and beans provide proteins and calcium to these babies, making them healthy.
There are still many other baby formula types available in the market. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the age of the baby. Babies may require a different nutritional support according to their stage of physical and mental development. These formulas may also come in varied prices, depending on the ingredients included in the formulas and the brand name.
Most parents choose to breast milk as their babies’ primary source of nutrition. However, there are always alternatives for babies who don’t exclusively rely on breast milk. These alternative formulas have proven to be beneficial for most babies. With so many baby formula types to choose from, picking the right one can be quite challenging.