Becoming a new parent means having to adapt to many changes. Sometimes, you may not be sure where to turn to find all the information you need on a particular topic. In this article, we present you with the ultimate (credible) guide to choosing the right infant formula for your baby!
Baby Formula Milk
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If you decide to formula-feed your baby, you must become knowledgeable about the various varieties of infant formula that are offered, as well as some of the benefits and drawbacks of each, so you can choose the ideal formula for your child.
Infant formula comes in these primary categories:
1. Standard (full-size) protein formula
The protein is not at all broken down in conventional formulations. They have maintained their original size since exiting the cow or soybean. That is a large size. Proteins from cow’s milk and soy are significantly larger than those from breast milk. They would be monster trucks if they were a car.
Full-size proteins are identified as “nonfat milk,” “milk protein isolate,” “whey protein” (a component of cow’s milk protein), or “soy protein isolate” in soy formulas on the list of ingredients. These formulas are typical formulas that contain whole proteins.
Most healthy infants can eat these large proteins without any problems! They do, however, need more intestinal effort to absorb.
Examples of standard protein formula:
- Similac Advance
- Enfamil Infant
- Enfamil ProSobee
- Similac Soy Isomil
2. Cow’s milk-based formula
Almost 80 per cent of all formula sold, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), is made using cow’s milk. Cow’s milk, as the name suggests, is the primary component of this kind of infant formula; however, the milk has been altered to make it safe and easier for newborns to digest.
Remember that certain infants may require a different kind of formula if they are allergic to the protein in cow’s milk.
3. Hydrolyzed formula
These formulae contain protein that has already been disassembled (hydrolyzed) into smaller, more easily digestible proteins.
These predigested formulations, which are frequently marketed as “calm” or “gentlease,” may either be entirely or partially hydrolyzed. These are intended for infants who cannot accept formulas containing cow’s milk or soy, as well as infants who have protein allergies, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Partially hydrolyzed protein formula
Smaller protein has undergone partial hydrolysis. Proteins in partially hydrolyzed formulae are broken down into smaller sizes, which are more akin to the sizes of proteins in breast milk. Hydrolyzed literally means “broken apart.” These proteins would be a Honda Civic if they were vehicles.
You will see the phrase “partially hydrolyzed” in front of the protein on the list of components. For instance, the ingredient list for Enfamil Gentlease lists “partially hydrolyzed nonfat milk” as one of the formula’s constituents.
The only reliable technique to determine whether a formula has been partially hydrolyzed is to scan the ingredients list for those words. For instance, the partially hydrolyzed soy protein in Gerber Good Start Soy formula differs from the soy protein in Enfamil ProSobee and Similac soy Isomil.
Examples of partially hydrolyzed protein formulas
- Enfamil Gentlease
- Gerber Good Start SoothePro
- Gerber Good Start GentlePro
- Similac Pro-Total Comfort
- Enfamil Reguline
- Gerber Good Start Soy
Certain newborns, infants who are having trouble digesting full-size proteins, or infants with a history of digestive problems may benefit from partially hydrolyzed proteins because they require less processing to be absorbed.
Fully hydrolyzed protein formula
Completely hydrolyzed proteins are quite small. You probably guessed it already, but if you can partially hydrolyze a protein, you can totally hydrolyze a protein! Fully hydrolyzed proteins are more like a skateboard in our car analogy.
Also hypoallergenic are fully hydrolyzed proteins. Because these protein fragments are so minute, they won’t cause an allergic reaction in a youngster who is sensitive to whole cow’s milk proteins. The word “hypoallergenic” is prominently displayed on the can’s front.
These formulae are intended for babies who are allergic to cow’s milk or who have experienced serious stomach problems. But these are not typical problems. For that reason, fully hydrolyzed formulas are specialised enough that you should not merely attempt them without a doctor directly advising it.
Examples of Fully hydrolyzed protein formula
These formulas should only be used after your doctor has given the OK.
- Similac Alimentum
- Enfamil Nutramigen
- Gerber Good Start Extensive HA
The primary source of carbohydrates in breast milk is lactose, which may be easily absorbed by all healthy infants. I advise starting with a lactose-based formula and observing how things go if your healthy kid is starting off on formula for the first time.
There are several explanations for why some newborns do well on lactose-reduced formula. Early-born children and those with undeveloped or inflamed digestive systems may produce less of the enzyme that breaks down lactose.
A lactose-reduced formula may be more comfortable for babies who are experiencing diarrhoea or who have been taking low-lactose formulas for a long time.
To guarantee that babies get enough carbohydrate energy if lactose is eliminated from a formula, another carbohydrate must be introduced. Only two other carbs are tiny enough for newborns to effectively digest them. They are glucose sugars and sucrose (table sugar).
Although both are thought to be safe for babies, I personally prefer glucose sugars. These days, a variety of glucose sugars, such as corn syrup, corn syrup solids, brown rice syrup, glucose syrup, and maltodextrin, are utilised in formulations.
The only way to tell if a formula is lactose-reduced is to check the ingredients list for these additional carbohydrate sources.
5. Soy formula
In soy milk-based formulas, a protein (soy) and a carbohydrate (such as glucose or sucrose) are both included. These are helpful if you want to keep animal products out of your child’s diet or if your child has trouble processing lactose.
6. Specialised formula
For infants who have certain medical requirements or who are preterm, specialised formula is offered.
Baby Formula Milk Variations
There are three variations of infant formula as well:
- Water must be combined with powdered formula.
- Water must also be incorporated into concentrated formula.
- Ready-to-feed formula, also known as ready-to-use formula, is pre-mixed and requires no additional water.
Which Infant Formula Is Best?
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The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that newborns should be breastfed throughout the first six months of their lives, if at all feasible.
Although it is advised to move to full-cream dairy milk once your baby becomes one year old, breastfeeding can continue for up to two years or later.
While breastfeeding is preferred and regarded to be best for babies, infant formula may be substituted or used as a supplement.
Although there are numerous types of infant formula available in Singapore, they all contain the same basic nutrients and hence offer largely comparable health advantages.
Also, all infant formula brands that have been approved for sale in Singapore must adhere to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority’s regulations. This involves adhering to set minimum and maximum nutrient composition levels.
Which Infant Formula Is Closest To Breastmilk?
Breastmilk is impossible to imitate in a laboratory or factory due to its numerous unique components and living organisms. As a result, no formula milk can truly compare to breastfeeding.
All newborn formula milk must also have ingredients that are quite similar to one another in order to meet the standards. It would therefore be challenging for a manufacturer to assert that its formula is the closest to breastmilk of any formula.
What Temperature Should Baby Formula Be?
It does take time to produce formula milk. Making up one bottle could take anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the formula you use and the sterilising technique you utilise. It can therefore require up to four hours per day to prepare your baby’s formula feeding if you give him or her six bottles each day.
But you can cut down on this time if you:
- Use your steriliser to sterilise multiple bottles at once, and store everything there until you need it.
- Measure out the formula powder ahead of time and keep it in sanitary, covered containers or dispensers designed for formula.
- Boil water for the entire day’s worth of feedings, then pre-pour it into sterile bottles, secure the lids, and keep the bottles in your refrigerator. When you need it, simply shake and reheat one of the bottles with formula powder (if your baby prefers warm drinks to cold ones).
- Calculate the appropriate amount of water to add to cooled, previously boiled water from the fridge to get your baby’s preferred drinking temperature (for example, adding 45ml of freshly boiled water to 55ml of cooled, boiled water in a bottle from the fridge will give you 100ml of water between 35 and 40 degrees C).
How To Choose Infant Formula?
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Baby formula that is on the shelves of pharmacies and grocery stores has received FDA approval and is thought to be safe for infants. But, not every baby will respond favourably to every formula, so go at your options, talk to your baby’s doctor, and see how things go.
The formula you choose is probably fine for your baby. When required, you can always experiment with other types and brands.
Most babies tolerate formula made with cow’s milk, so we rarely need to provide an alternative. Some infants who have a cow’s milk protein intolerance have gastrointestinal distress or even bloody faeces after consuming cow’s milk. A customised hydrolyzed formula is beneficial for these infants.
Contact your healthcare professional to rule out any medical causes and to talk about alternate formula options if your baby doesn’t seem to be responding well to their formula.
Mum’s ultimate Guide on Choosing Infant Formula
Step1: How old is your little one? Choose a group based on your child’s age (0-6 months, 6-12 months, >12 months).
Step2: Which type of formula should you choose? Choose a stage that your child belongs to. Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3
Step 3: Key nutrients to look out for
Step 4: How to choose a brand
Step 5: Let’s compare 5 stages of step 1 and 2 formula available in Singapore
Note of caution:
If your baby has allergies or special nutritional needs, consult a doctor for advice on specialised formula.
Want to know more mum? For detailed nutritional information on all the 8 infant formula brands available in Singapore, pleas refer to this guide.
Any infant formula you discover on shop shelves or that is available online is essentially the same and may give your child the nutrition they need.
Knowing this is helpful since, as a new parent, you will unavoidably encounter Singapore’s skyrocketing infant formula prices. Thus you may be confident that you may chose based on what your budget will allow.
To be absolutely certain, though, always speak with your doctor before introducing formula to your baby.
Updates by Matt Doctor
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.