Around the time of the National Breast Feeding Awareness day, I saw alot of the hashtag #breastisbest, my wife told me of another hastag #fedisbest. This got me thinking about a previous post Reasons I Love My Wife’s Decision to Bottle Feed in the post I explain how I think you would be hard pushed to find someone who does not think #breastisbeast However ALOT of scientific research has gone into making formula milk as nutritious as possible, as a result personaly I think they are a viable alternative. I have joined forces with reviews.com , using research to elaborate on this.
How To Choose The Right Baby Formula
Babies need to eat, and parents want to make sure that they are providing the best nutrition. However, many parents have preferences when it comes to specific ingredients. Sifting through the nutrition information on a label of formula can be confusing. The components and price of formula are the primary factors involved in most parents’ decision to select a particular brand.
Proteins in Baby Formula
Often, it is recommended to breastfeed exclusively until a baby is at least six months old, but some mothers can’t breastfeed or choose not to. Baby formula manufacturers try hard to make their products mimic breast milk to provide adequate nutrition and minimize digestive distress.
The majority of formulas contain cow’s milk protein, but there are two primary types of this protein. Whey empties out of the stomach more quickly and is less likely to cause an allergy. Casein takes longer to digest and is the culprit in most milk allergies.
A formula that has more whey than casein better mimics human breast milk. However, the label won’t specifically list the ratio of whey to casein. If the ingredients list cow’s milk as the sole protein source, there is probably more casein than whey in the product. If whey protein as listed a separate ingredient, the ratio of whey to casein is closer to that of breast milk. Some formula is made from 100 percent whey protein. This type may be digested more quickly, which can reduce digestive troubles in some babies.
Soy-based formula is an alternative for babies who don’t tolerate cow’s milk protein. Soy is a complete protein, which contains all essential amino acids. However, it is fortified with methionine, one of the amino acids that is available in adequate quantities in cow’s milk.
Some parents shy away from soy because of its phytoestrogen properties. The plant-based protein can mimic estrogen in the body. Some studies have found that eating too much soy can lead to undesirable consequences, like early puberty and longer menstrual cycles, in older children and adults.
What Are Hydrolyzed Proteins?
Most baby formulas are made with hydrolyzed proteins. These proteins are pre-digested and broken down so that they make it through infants’ systems with fewer negative reactions. Research shows that hydrolyzed proteins in formula may lower the risk of a baby developing skin conditions like eczema. Formulas that contain fully hydrolyzed proteins may be better for sensitive tummies than those that have partially hydrolyzed proteins.
Sugars In Formula
Human breast milk is sweetened by lactose. This carbohydrate helps to fulfill an infant’s energy needs. Some formulas use lactose as a carb source. Others use corn syrup, maltodextrin or sucrose. These alternative forms of carbohydrates may be harder for a baby to digest.
Babies make lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose. Other types of sugar don’t use this lactase system. Plus, corn syrup and sucrose may negatively affect insulin levels. Lactose is beneficial for the body. The lactose that isn’t digested remains in the digestive tract and helps cultivate the balance of probiotics in the system. It also helps the body absorb calcium.
Although some parents believe that their babies are lactose intolerant, the children are more likely to be sensitive to a milk protein, not the milk sugar. Even more importantly, many babies are fussy because of factors that are completely related to their digestive systems or what they eat.
When they’re introducing formula to a healthy infant, parents might want to start with a cow’s milk product that contains partially hydrolyzed proteins. These types of formulas tend to be more affordable and are tolerated well by most infants. If parents notice a sensitivity, they can move on to a specialized formula. However, some experts warn that switching frequently between formulas can cause digestive distress in infants. Working with a medical professional and paying attention to their instincts can help parents choose the best baby formula.