For any number reasons, many women choose to formula-feed their child. Women who formula-feed can be overwhelmed by the number of options out there. Sometimes, it’s like learning another language. Here is a cheat sheet to help you navigate the shelves of formula at your local market.
Powder: When people think of formula, this is usually the kind that comes to mind. It comes with a measuring cup (always use the measuring cup that comes with the container). Follow the instructions to put the appropriate amount in the bottle, add water and mix. Don’t try to skimp on it to save some money; it may hurt your child.
Liquid concentrate: This will either come in a can or a bottle. Like the powder, you would measure the appropriate amount out into the bottle and add water.
Ready to feed: As the name suggests, this one is ready to go out of the bottle. They can be more expensive, but they are certainly more convenient.
Cow’s milk-based: For a healthy, full term baby, this is often recommended to try first.
Soy-based: Useful if it is important to you for the child to be vegetarian/vegan or if your child has a sensitivity or allergy to milk. Not really any better or worse than cow’s milk-based. Usually more expensive.
Organic: Useful if it is important to you for the child to only eat organic. Not really any better or worse than regular and usually more expensive.
Anti-reflux, anti-colic, or sensitive formulas: Acid reflux is more of an issue with formula-fed babies, but usually a special formula is not needed or shown to make any real difference. Your mileage may vary, however, and if your child has a big issue with the normal stuff, you can try these options. These are also options if your child has a sensitivity to milk, but you don’t want to give them soy-based milk since they are usually low in lactose.
Differences among brands are often superficial, but for some odd reason, sometimes babies have preferences. If the baby doesn’t seem to take to one brand, feel free to switch.
If your child is born premature or has some other special medical issue, ask your pediatrician for guidance and follow it.
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