Published December 03, 2007 by
You're snuggled up with your little one and their little baby blanket getting ready to feed them. In this picture are you breastfeeding or bottle feeding? The decision to breastfeed or bottle-feed isn’t an easy one. There are many factors you must consider. Since you are going to be the one taking care of your baby, you must feel comfortable with the decision. Being pressured into one or the other feeding method only leads to discontent.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that, on the whole, babies do well whichever way you decide to feed them.
Mothers have fed their babies formulas for years. In the past, evaporated milk was the main component of formula. Doctors would recommend various additions to it in an attempt to make the formula more complete.
Large companies now manufacture many different types of formula. They are continually improving their products, trying to make them closer to breast milk. There are also a number of special formulas available for babies with certain problems.
The formulas most babies drink use non-fat cow’s milk as their base and source of protein, many different sources of fat are used; soy, coconut, and corn are the most common. Various vitamins, minerals, and trace elements are also added. There is, unfortunately, no way to duplicate the antibodies found in breast milk.
Some formulas use soy protein in place of non-fat cow’s milk as the main source of protein. These formulas are for babies with a milk allergy or intolerance.
Babies with digestive problems or acute, severe diarrhea often need formulas that are very easy to digest and absorb. These formulas are casein as their proteins source. They are used for only a few days, until the baby can get over the diarrhea.
Choosing a Formula
All the milk based formulas currently available are similar in composition and nutrient value. There are small differences between them, but they are more similar than different. Despite this, some babies seem to do better on one milk based formula than on another. If your baby has gas, vomiting, or bowel problems, with one formula, switching to another may help.
Most formulas are available either with or without supplemental iron. This element is necessary to prevent anemia. Most babies have no problem with the supplemented formulas, and many doctors recommend them. The most common problem from the added iron is constipation. If your baby is constipated, you might temporarily try giving him formula without the extra iron.
Most babies do well on any milk based formula. Many hospitals give out samples of formula when you leave the hospital. Just because your baby was started on one formula, doesn’t mean he needs to continue on that brand.
Ready-to-Feed, Concentrate, or Powder?
Formulas come in three forms-ready-to-feed, concentrate, and powder. All three forms contain the same protein, fats, and other nutrients. Which you choose is a matter of price and convenience. The most convenient, but the most expensive is the ready-to-feed in individual bottles or quart cans. The powder and concentrate are less expensive, but more of a hassle to use.