Baby Formula - What's the Best Baby Formula to Buy?
What could possibly have more influence on baby health than the baby food you feed your infant? With this in mind, do you know already whether you wish to breastfeed or bottle feed your newborn using baby formula? If you have already been breastfeeding, are you now considering weaning your baby to the bottle only, or to a mixture of breast and bottle? Have you thought about the different baby formula brands on the market, or about baby formula costs?
What Is Baby Formula?
Baby formula is a manufactured food which is designed to be a full source of all the nutrients your baby needs for the first 6 months of her life. Formulas are made to imitate the composition of real mother's milk as closely as possible.
Baby formula is usually based either on cow's milk or on soy beans. Some parents prefer to use soy milk formula because they wish to avoid feeding animal products to their children. Other parents have to purchase soy-based baby formula because their baby is allergic to dairy. When choosing which type of baby formula to buy, baby health should always be the deciding factor in your purchase.
Baby formula is sold as a powder, which has to be mixed with water before use, and in ready-to-feed form.
To Breastfeed Or Buy Baby Formula?
The proponents of the "breast is best" philosophy say that nothing can give your baby a better start in life than mother's breast milk.
On the other hand, manufacturers of baby formula products argue that breastfeeding is simply not an option for all mothers, and that baby formulas on sale in the US have all been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as a baby's sole source of nutrition. Millions of formula-fed babies grow up into healthy young kids, there's no reason why yours won't too.
Baby Formula Brands
Some of the most popular baby formula brands sold in the United States are: Similac baby formula, Enfamil formula, and formula by Nestle. All these brands are sold in grocery stores around the country and also online. (There are a number of other baby food producers who sell products of equal quality, but they simply don't sell as much as these major manufacturers, and are therefore less well known.)
Enfamil baby formula products include formula specifically designed to reduce gas and spit up. Enfamil also has a product designed to nourish premature babies and help them grow, and another type of formula which makes your baby feel full up for longer. This company also sells a breast milk fortifier to help breastfeeding mothers ensure their babies get everything they need.
Nutramigen - Nutramigen is Enfamil's hypoallergenic product for babies with multiple allergies. There are two types: Nutramigen - recommended for babies with allergies generally - and Nutramigen AA. Nutramigen AA is made from amino acids and is recommended for babies with severe allergies to cow's milk and soy. You shouldn't feed nutramigen to your baby unless your pediatrician has told you to do so.
Similac baby formula is another popular choice - this manufacturer produces baby formula variations similar to those of Enfamil, including baby formula for babies who're allergic to cow's milk. Similac also produces organic baby formula.
Organic Baby Formula
Organic baby formula is made from ingredients produced without the use of conventional pesticides, antibiotics or growth hormones. Some parents prefer organic baby formula because it is more eco-friendly, or because they believe organic formula is better for baby health. However, the official position of the American Academy of Pediatrics is that organic formula is no safer, nor is it more nutritious for your baby, than conventional baby formula.
Organic baby formula prices may be significantly higher than those of "regular" formula.
Baby Formula Prices
How much baby formula will cost you depends on what type you buy, where you buy it and whether or not you buy in bulk. Purchasing online can be a good way of finding some discount baby formula deals, especially if you buy a few packs at a time.
The websites of many baby manufacturers provide the most up-to-date price information. It may be possible to order products directly from the manufacturers' sites.
Recent scares about dangerous baby formula being sold in China sparked baby safety fears even in the USA regarding the ingredients of baby formula products sold in North America. The FDA did some research, and found that none of the baby formula brands on sale in the United States contain ingredients imported from China.