Baby formula, baby food or simply baby milk or formula, baby formula for babies or infants below 12 months of age, baby formula shake or sip-able, or baby formula powder, are commercially prepared food designed and distributed for breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, usually from concentrate or powdered milk or powder and heated in a microwave or stovetop, for faster or easier intake into the mouth of the child. Depending on the brand, some baby formula is blended with other ingredients for taste or added nutritive values; sometimes, baby formula is made with organic products and other specialty ingredients. The composition of baby formula varies depending on the manufacturer and the product, while serving the same purpose, some baby formula brands contain only water, minimal amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and electrolytes. Generally, all commercially available baby formula is pasteurized at low temperatures to destroy bacteria and germs, before being used in preparing baby food or drinks.
There are two-fl oz. bottles of baby formula available for breastfeeding babies at different times – right before and after nursing. Most brands of baby formula are sweetened using either sucrose (sweetened condensed milk or other similar sweetener) or xylitol (a natural ingredient like maple syrup or honey). Some baby formula manufacturers claim that their products are nutritionally complete and do not use artificial sweeteners, whereas others do use artificial sweeteners to give the powder a distinct, “real” flavor.
If the baby is not breastfed, most brands of formula are available in ready-to-use powder form that can be mixed with breast milk for feeding. However, most mothers complain that baby formula is too thick or greasy to mix well with their breast milk. Most formulas have a small amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in addition to the sugar. In addition, most brands of baby formula are nutritionally incomplete because they do not contain any beneficial vitamins or minerals that would be present in human milk. Allergies to the formula may also be a problem. For these reasons, it is a good idea to choose a different brand of formula if you are concerned about these possible drawbacks.
The best choice for a healthy baby is still breast milk. However, there are brands of infant formula on the market that provide more health benefits than breast milk alone. In addition, the American Association of Food processors and manufacturers of infant formula tout that their products are “nutritious choices for infants.” However, it is up to the new parents to decide what is best for their little one. It is important to choose a healthy baby formula that has been processed to make it more digestible and less likely to cause allergies and health problems.
If you decide to purchase a store-brand baby formula, there are a few things that you should keep in mind before purchasing. First, make sure that the product is certified as being free of any preservatives. Look for the International Formula Association certification seal because this seal indicates that the formula has been processed to meet the standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Also, look for the words “plastics-free” on the label.
There are also some foods and drinks that should be consumed along with formula. For example, you should limit the number of soft drinks that your little one consumes because these drinks are not as pure as breast milk. Similarly, it is advised that you limit the consumption of fruit juice because it contains natural sugars that may affect the absorption of infant formula. Finally, you should give your baby plain water instead of flavored water. Water is the best source of hydration for infants and thus the recommended drink for them. You can read more about choosing the right baby formula by visiting the website Babynutritional Mastery.