Baby formula, ready-to-feed baby formula or simply ready-to-eat baby formula, baby milk or first milk or formula feeding, is a commercially manufactured food meant for feeding infants and babies below twelve months of age, generally prepared from either powder or condensed liquid or powder-based mix. Formulated to meet the diverse needs of a wide variety of babies, it is made up of various ingredients intended to promote milk production and enhance the texture and consistency of the food. The most common ingredients are cow’s milk, water and various vitamins and minerals. Common baby formulas have sugar, carbohydrates, casein, lactose, hydrolyzed whey, egg, meringue, casein hydrolysate, protein concentrate, Vitamin E, aspartame hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid, silicon dioxide, Vitamin D and many other ingredients. As its composition varies according to brand and formula, there is also considerable variation in the nutritional level of various brands. It is therefore important to choose the right formula feeding baby formula for your infant.
Breast milk is the most commonly fed infant formula feeding in the world. This means that, if the mother is able to provide all of the necessary nutrients to her infant through breastfeeding, then this option is considered to be the most ideal for the new born. In addition to being the most easily digestible, breast milk provides the healthiest food for infants as it contains antibodies that are needed by the body to fight diseases and infections. However, many pediatricians recommend that this option should only be used as a temporary substitute for breastfeeding, as the antibodies provided by formula feeding are not always compatible with those produced by the mother’s breast milk. Another possible problem occurs when a mother switches to formula feeding after having given birth to a healthy baby and then decides to breastfeed her infant. Over time, breast milk may lose some of its beneficial antibodies, while formula feeding will restore these.
The duration of lactation varies according to age and general health of the individual. A woman who is able to breastfeed exclusively for six months or more before delivering her infant would likely be encouraged to continue breastfeeding for longer, provided her body can adjust. Likewise, women with a history of recurrent serious illnesses such as cancer or diabetes are advised against introducing formula feeding early on. They should instead focus on practicing good hygiene and taking care of their nursing infants by breastfeeding them until they are ready to begin avoiding some of the commonly encountered illnesses. For example, a baby girl who has been infected with breast milk warts must be discouraged from breastfeeding until her skin clears up and her warts have disappeared.
Bottle Feeding Your Newborn
Infant formula feeding is the best choice for those mothers who have made the decision to breastfeed their infants exclusively for at least six months but who are not yet ready to give up breast milk completely. It is also a good choice for new mothers who have recently given birth to a healthy baby but who are wary of the potential dangers of using formula. This is because most formulas are processed with high levels of chemicals that can cause harm to an infant’s health. The average amount of chemicals used in making formula is about twenty times higher than what it is found in drinking water. Moreover, babies who are fed with formula tend to be smaller than those who are fed with breast milk.
Most experts recommend that before introducing formula milk to a newborn, he or she should be introduced to the benefits of breast milk first. In other words, they should become familiar with the physical characteristics and attributes of breast milk. These include its smell, taste, and texture. Mothers should make it a point to thoroughly rub their breasts while breastfeeding and should gently massage the infant’s head. This will ensure that they are familiar with the feel of breast milk and will be able to identify it at a glance when the time comes. Such foresight makes bottle feeding a much safer prospect for both mother and child.
It is important for mothers to remember that breast milk is highly susceptible to bacteria and infections. In addition, it contains less than ideal amounts of lactose and fats. Hence, formula feeding is more ideal in this case. Moreover, most experts suggest that nursing is better than breastfeeding since the former provides much needed antibodies, which are essential in ensuring the survival of infants in the womb. Furthermore, babies who are exclusively breastfeed for at least six months are less likely to suffer food allergies and are far less prone to respiratory illnesses. All these advantages make formula feeding a much better option for new born babies.
The decision to switch to formula feeding for your newborn should not be taken lightly. This is especially so if you have had a history of breastfeeding your child. This is because there are certain issues that come up when one switches to formula milk such as: the baby may refuse to nurse, the mother’s milk may lack the necessary nutrients, and the infant may become lactose intolerant. Such instances are easily countered by learning the proper technique of breast milk feeding and by consulting your family doctor.
In the End
However, there are certain mothers who swear by formula feeding. One of the main reasons why women resort to this is that they are unable to breastfeed successfully. If this is the case with your baby, then there is nothing wrong in giving him or her formula. However, there is no need to go for formula feeding if your newborn can get along fine with breast milk. As a matter of fact, formula feeding is not really advisable for very small babies.