Also sometimes called infant formula or baby formula, formula milk is typically made using cow’s milk that has been specially treated in order to make it suitable for babies to consume.
Go to any grocery store or pharmacy and you will see that there are many different types and brands of formula milk available to purchase. It is important that you always carefully check the labels on them prior to purchase to ensure that what you are buying isa milk that is suitable for your baby.
Formula milk comes in two different forms. It can either be in a dry powder form that you add water to in order to make it up, or it can come in a ready to consume liquid form. Although the latter is much more convenient, it is also the more expensive option, and once it has been opened, it then needs to be consumed quickly.
Formula milk has everything in it (in terms of nutrients etc) that a baby needs in order to develop and grow. That being said, it does not come with the same set of health benefits that breast milk has. Breastfeeding is not only good for the baby but can also be beneficial to the nursing mother too. Breast milk has actually been known to protect babies from infections, which is why health professionals prefer to go down this route before turning to formula milk.
First Milk / First Infant Formula
This type of formula milk is the very first kind that you should give to your baby. It has a special formulation that contains only the protein whey from cow’s milk as this is much easier for babies to digest without causing problems.
This should be the only type of formula milk that your baby requires – that is unless your doctors, midwife, or other health professional states otherwise. Your baby can continue to consume this type of formula milk even when you start to begin to add solid foods to their diet at the six month mark and can continue drinking it all the way up to their first birthday.
There is no evidence out there to suggest that changing over to a different brand of formula does any harm or any good. So if you find it to be the case that your baby does not agree with a particular brand of milk formula, then it can be OK to change, but only after speaking with your doctor, midwife, or any other health professional. They may even be able to help you decide which brand would be best for them.
From the age of one year old, your baby can proceed to drink whole goat’s, sheep’s, or cow’s milk – providing that it is pasteurised of course.
Goat’s Milk Formula
Stores and pharmacies now stock a range of different types of goat’s milk formula that are all produced to the exact same standards (both for safety and nutrition) as cow’s milk formulas are.
The good thing about goat’s milk formula is that it is much less likely to cause an allergic reaction in your baby than what cow’s milk is. That being said, you should not give your baby goat’s milk formula if they are allergic to cow’s milk as it contains similar proteins.
An example of this is HiPP HA Stage 1; more information can be found here. It can be given to your baby right from birth – that is providing your baby is under suitable medical supervision.
Most of the time it is prescribed to those babies that are allergic to cow’s milk as all of the proteins within the formula milk are already broken down for them. Most stores and pharmacies stock this type of formula milk nowadays.
Be sure that you do not give this type of formula milk to a baby that is younger than six months old and only do so under the strict supervision of a medical professional.
As the name suggests, soya formula milk is made from soya beans as opposed to from cow’s milk. It is often used as an alternative source of food for those babies that are allergic to cow’s milk.
However, some concerns have been raised about this type of formula milk and that it contains phytoestrogens – something that is naturally found in lots of plant species. The chemical makeup of these compounds is very similar to the hormone found in women called oestrogen. It is this that has some scientists and medical experts worried that drinking soy formula could potentially affect their reproductive development.
Because babies weigh so little, it means that they absorb much greater quantities of phytoestrogens than what toddlers or older children do when consuming soya. Additionally, soya formula has glucose in it which can potentially harm the teeth of your baby.
It is for these reasons why you should only use soya formula milk when it has been recommended by a doctor, midwife, or other medical professional.
Toddler / Growing Up Formula Milk
This type of formula milk is suitable for those babies that are one year old or over. It is often marketed as being an alternative to cow’s milk for toddlers. However, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that it provides any more nutrients for your baby thanwhat whole cow’s milk provides.
Children that are between the ages of 1 year old and 2 years old should stick to consuming whole cow’s milk. Over the age of 2 years old, it is fine to give them semi skimmed cow’s milk, providing they are eating a healthy, balanced diet alongside of this.
In order to get the nutrients that they require, it is recommended that all children between the ages of six months old and five years old should be given drops that contain vitamins A, C, and D on a daily basis.
Milk To Avoid
Any baby under the age of one should not be given dried milk, evaporated milk, or condensed milk.