Choosing the best baby formula to give your baby is a major decision. After all, formula or breast milk is the only form of nourishment your baby will be getting for the first 4 to 6 months!
Of course, breast milk is the best option for most babies, with very few exceptions. If you can breastfeed at all, it is highly recommended to do so.
Some moms are unable to breastfeed however, and that’s OK. If you are a mom who cannot breastfeed for whatever reason, don’t feel bad about it. This does not make you a bad mother. Obviously you care enough to come searching for the best baby formula, so let’s get started!
When choosing the best baby formula for your baby you need to know the difference between them in order to make an educated decision. First of all, please understand that the FDA regulates all infant formulas for sale in the United States, and there are certain standards that all formulas must meet. Therefore, regardless of which formula you choose for your baby you can rest assured your baby is receiving everything he needs and the formula is safe for consumption.
When deciding which infant formula is best for your baby, you need to first decide if you want to make the formula or choose one that is completely ready to feed. The three forms of formulas available are powder, where you add water, concentrated, which comes as a liquid where you add water or ready to feed, where you just give it to your baby exactly as it comes.
Powdered formula is the least expensive of the three types, and should be made with boiled water or nursery water to decrease the risk of infection. Formula is measured with a scoop which is in the can. Most formulas need 1 scoop of powder to 2 ounces of water, but you should always check the directions to make sure. A baby formula mixer is a great tool to use to mix the formula because it eliminates air and allows the formula to be made in large batches of up to 32 ounces at a time. Click here for detailed directions on mixing powdered baby formula.
Powdered formula is not recommended for preemies or those with immune problems, and if you are unsure of your ability to mix and measure your own formula, it may not be the best idea. It’s very important you measure precisely so your baby is getting exactly what he’s supposed to. Most organic baby formulas only come in powdered forms.
Concentrated formulas must be mixed with an equal amount of boiled or nursery water and is often a good compromise. These formulas are more expensive than powdered formulas but less expensive than ready to feed formula. Again though, it is not the safest option for babies with immune problems.
Ready to feed formulas are, as the name suggests, ready to feed. You can purchase these formulas in 2 ounce nursettes, 8 ounce bottles or 32 ounce containers. These formulas are the most expensive but also the safest. If you feel you may have a problem with water contamination or do not feel confident in your measurement abilities, a ready to feed formula may be the best baby formula for your little one.
If cost is a major consideration you may want to consider a store brand. These are usually powder, are comparable in nutrition to name brands and significantly cheaper than name brand formulas. There are often coupons available for the popular brands.
Once you have decided on which form of formula you think is best for your baby, you need to decide on cow’s milk or soy formula, and organic or not. The basic formulas you get at the hospital are cow’s milk based, and babies are not switched unless there is a problem. For healthy babies, a cow’s milk based formula such as Similac and Enfamil is recommended. If you would rather an organic formula, the milk based organic formulas are also great for your baby.
If your infant cannot tolerate milk based formula you may want to first try a lactose free formula. If she doesn’t like this either a more broken down formula must be tried. Since the process of breaking down proteins is not considered organic, there are no organic formulas available if your baby does not tolerate a standard formula. The most broken down formula, an amino acid based formula named Elecare, is made for children who cannot tolerate any other type of formula, have major gastrointestinal issues or have multiple food allergies. Elemental formulas are the best formulas for these babies.
Once these decisions have been made you can choose an organic baby formula. For many parents with babies who are fine with standard formulas, this is their choice for the best baby formula for their little one.
Baby formula without iron is surprisingly popular, however is not usually recommended when switching baby formula because babies need iron in their diet. This is probably not the best baby formula for your infant.
Once you decide, you may want to keep up to date on the latest baby formula recalls. Although they don't happen often, they do happen, so make sure you know if it was the brand you are using!
Choosing which formula is the best for your baby is a big decision. Once you understand the difference between all the available formulas, you can make an informed decision regarding the best one for your child.