Baby formula, powdered baby formula, first milk or baby formula, or powdered baby milk or first milk are all different terms for the same product, manufactured and sold for feeding to infants and small children under the age of 12 months, usually prepared from powdered or pasteurized liquid or powder. There are various brands of this product and they vary in ingredients, nutrients, costs, and safety. The most common of these is powder baby formula. It has been a staple of the baby feeding world and continues to be the best option for many families.
Most infant formulas are nutritionally balanced and generally contain the right mix of vitamins, minerals and proteins that babies need for healthy growth. However, there are sometimes concerns over the additives included in some formulas and others over the amounts of certain ingredients. While some of these concerns are legitimate, others are exaggerated and simply caused by marketing hype, especially when new formulas are introduced. Here are some of the key ingredients you should look for in your baby formula:
– Vitamin E. Protect your baby’s health at six months of age by adding Vitamin E to his or her infant formulas. This powerful antioxidant acts as an immune system booster and can ward off infections. To make sure you comply with the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin E, add one teaspoon of it per day to your baby formulas. If you add Vitamin E to your baby formulas during the first six months, follow-on formula may need to be adjusted to a stage 1 formula.
– Iron. Babies get enough iron from their mothers’ breast milk but baby formula manufacturers use an iron-free blend of herbs and other ingredients to provide the necessary iron for baby’s absorption. Iron is especially important if your baby has anemia. Look for iron-fortified baby formulas. To meet baby’s nutritional needs, add one teaspoon of iron per ounce of baby formula. If you add iron to your baby formula during the first six months, follow-on formula may need to be adjusted to a stage 1 formula.
– Healthy protein. Studies have shown that babies who have adequate sources of healthy proteins, such as cow’s milk and goat’s milk have a healthier body weight and are less likely to suffer from calcium deficiencies. To meet baby’s nutritional needs, add one tablespoon of protein per four ounces of infant milk. Some parents find that the powder-based baby formulas are better for their infants because they do not pose the potential threat of botulism or other harmful ingredients.
– Soy. Baby formulas are becoming more soy-based to help meet the growing demand for more nutritious foods. Most soy-based formula contains rice, nuts, flax, and other nutrients that are better absorbed by babies. The baby’s digestive system is not likely to be negatively affected by these nutrients, although you should still check with your baby’s doctor to make sure. Be sure to read the label on soy-based formula. In some cases, these babies may be allergic to soy.