Breast milk is a natural form of baby food which is perfect for a baby. But there are some people who for different reasons can’t breastfeed, or have chosen not to, formula milk is the next best thing. Scientists and medical experts have spent years developing high-quality formula milks that will provide babies with the specific nutrition that they need.
There are many different types of formula feed and there are many different factors to take into account before choosing the right formula feed. * Health
* Dietary needs
* Cost and preparation time of different formula milks.
There are three different types of formula:
* Cow’s milk-based formula
* Hydrolysed protein formula
* Soya-based formula
Most babies can have cow’s milk-based formula, however there are some who have a health or dietary reason why they can’t. The different range of formula milks are described below.
(information obtained from the baby centre website)
Cow’s milk-based formula
Most baby formula milks are based on cow's milk, which is modified to resemble breastmilk as closely as possible. Manufacturers modify cow's milk for babies by adjusting carbohydrate, protein, and fat levels and adding vitamins and minerals. There are also special types of formula manufactured for premature babies.
The protein in milk can be broken down into curds (casein) and whey. The ratio of casein to whey can vary according to the type of baby formula milk. There are two main types: First-stage formula. These milks consist of mostly whey, with a casein:whey ratio of 40:60, which is about the same as breastmilk. They are suitable for babies from birth up to about a year, and are thought to be easier to digest.
Second-stage formula. These milks consist of mostly casein, with a casein:whey ratio of 80:20. They take longer to digest and are often promoted as being for hungrier babies. Nutritionally, babies will only need first-stage formula, although we may decide to move the baby onto second-stage formula as they grow.
It is important to be cautious when changing a baby’s milk. Switching from first to second-stage milk too early can give a baby constipation. Although many milk manufacturers market their second-stage milk as suitable from birth, it’s best to wait until the baby is at least four weeks old. If the baby doesn’t seem content with the formula we first started them on, the parents should talk to their health visitor before changing formulas.
When the baby’s a year old, we can move them on from first or second-stage formula to cow's milk. Cow’s milk is not recommended as a main drink for babies under the age of one because it’s low in iron and vitamin C. But we can use small amounts in cooking for the baby when they’ve started solids, or on their breakfast cereal.
This is a formula milk which is specially designed for babies with an allergy or intolerance to cow's milk. If a baby has a cow’s milk allergy, the protein in the milk will cause an allergic reaction. And if they have a intolerance to cow’s milk, they will have difficulty digesting the lactose, or sugar, in the milk.
Hydrolysed-protein formula milks are based on cow's milk and have the same nutritional value as standard formula milk. But the protein in the milk is hydrolysed, which means it is broken down so the baby is less likely to react to it. These milks are also generally lactose-free, so babies with an intolerance to cow’s milk can digest them easily.
If you think a baby has a cow's milk allergy or intolerance, see your doctor or health visitor. Your doctor will be able to prescribe a hydrolysed-protein formula for your baby. You can buy these from your pharmacy, too. You can also buy special lactose-free formulas, which your doctor may suggest that your baby has lactose intolerance.