If you are currently breastfeeding but want to transition to formula for whatever reason, you’re probably wondering whether some are better than others, and therefore which you should choose for your baby. There are so many different brands out there, all at different price points. As well as this, you may be wondering whether switching is a good idea, and what you need to know before you start. Here is a short guide that will answer any questions you have about baby formula.
Most baby formula is made using a base of cows’ or goats’ milk. Whether the milk is in powder or liquid form, it will usually have a careful balance of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and proteins. These can be derived from vegetable oils, fish oils and soy, so it is always best to read the label if your baby has any allergies. Reputable brands like Alula add an extensive list of vitamins and minerals that are vital to your child’s development. Visit Me and My Child to read the label of their popular S26 Gold newborn formula and see whether any of their formulas are suitable for your baby’s needs.
As mentioned, most baby formula products are made with milk and fish oils, so your options if you are a vegetarian are unfortunately limited. If you are vegan, there are some baby formulas that are made using soy, but it is not recommended to feed your baby with these products until they are at least six months old. Even then, experts recommend that you exclusively breastfeed until they are at least 12 months old so that you can safely move them onto an alternative milk product.
Once you transition from breast feeding to formula, it helps to know that the advice to stick to one brand is now outdated. There are slight variations in the makeup of each formula on the shelves, and if one brand doesn’t agree with your baby, try another. If your baby has certain nutritional needs, you’ll usually find that there is a formula that caters to them for example hungry baby milk, anti-reflux milk, lactose-free and hypoallergenic.
Some mums will decide that they want to combine breastfeeding with formula feeding to either make sure their babies are getting enough milk, or simply so that their partner can help with the night feeds. However, this can unfortunately have an impact on your milk supply, since this is driven by the frequency of your baby feeding. If you do want to continue with mixed feeding, it’s best to consult with a breastfeeding counsellor or your health visitor.
It is important to make sure you are following the correct steps when making up baby formula. Since it is not sterile in its powdered form, you’ll need to use slightly cooled boiled water. It’ll need to be at least 70°c to kill any bacteria, and make sure to use a sterilised bottle. As well as this, you should always read the label to ensure you are making the milk up as it should be; too diluted can mean your baby isn’t getting the nutrition they need, and too strong can make them ill.