If back in the day, feeding the infants was pretty simple: mothers had the option to breastfeed or employ a wet nurse to feed the baby, today things got a little bit more complicated. There are so many infant formulas, that choosing the best one for your baby is quite a challenge.
Of course, your research should start with a visit to the pediatrician, and not with Google. Once the first step is followed and you’ve asked the opinion of your pediatrician regarding the best formulas available on the market, you can do some extra research on forums and see what mommies have to say about the recommended brands.
The most recommended formulas belong to brands like Nestle, Similac, Enfamil or Heinz, that have proven their ingredients are high quality and that their formulas are similar to breast milk.
The formulas appropriate for your infant’s first months of life have low potassium and sodium levels, so they can protect your baby’s immature kidneys. The most common type of formula used for feeding an infant is the cow’s milk-based formula. This is basically the closest thing to breast milk, and can be found in products like Nestle Good Start Gentle Plus, Similac Advance, Nurture Stage 1, Enfamil Lipil.
For babies who need less lactose in their formula, especially babies who have gas from the milk-based formula feeding, it is advisable to buy a “gentle” formula, for example the Nestle Good Start Gentle Plus or Enfamil Gentlease Lipil. Those with lactose intolerance should be fed with formulas like Similac Sensitive or Enfamil LactoFree Lipil.
Premature babies have to be fed with formulas adapted to their needs (Nestle Pre Nan, Similac Neosure or Enfamil EnfaCare Lipil).
There are also soy formulas, but you shouldn’t use this type of baby formula unless absolutely necessary. Don’t feed your infant with a soy formula only because they spit up the cow’s milk-based formula or to treat colic and fussiness. You should first consider a hypoallergenic formula. Also, make sure you don’t forget to consult with your baby’s pediatrician about this matter. If you have a baby with milk protein and soy allergies, you should choose to buy an elemental formula like Similac Alimentum or Nutramigen Lipil. If they are intolerant to elemental formula too, your alternative is an amino acid based formula.
Regardless the type of formula you choose, you should know that all the approved baby formulas available on the market meet your baby's basic nutritional needs. Of course, there are some differences between the ingredients used by different brands. For example, Enfamil Lipil uses palm oil olein as a source of fat, while Similac Advance uses soy and coconut oil. Also, Enfamil Lipil uses a combination of whey and casein proteins (proteins found also in breast milk), while Nestle Good starts is made exclusively of whey proteins. Unfortunately, few specialists can tell you which is the better source of fat or proteins that a baby formula should contain, the discussions regarding these aspects being quite confusing.
So, the burden of choosing the right formula for a baby has to be carried by the parents. Of course, they should also consider the price they are willing to pay for their baby’s formula. One thing is sure though, you baby deserves only the best and you shouldn’t compromise when it comes to his or her feeding. Once you’ve chosen a formula and your baby is happy about it, you shouldn’t change it with other formulas just because they are the latest discovery or they have a more beautiful wrapping or commercial. Your baby needs constancy and routine.