Baby formula Buying Guide

fat folic acid protein carbohydrate vitamins niacin minerals calcium iodine phosphorous sodium chloride and nucleotides

According to a 2001 WHO report, infant formula or baby food is the preparation of foods that are not only nutritionally sufficient for an infant but also safe. The complementary food is also seen as a good substitute for breast milk , though in the initial six months of their life infants are recommended exclusive breastfeeding. Buttressing growth adequately, baby food is manufactured for babies who are below six months of age. In many instances they are seen as the prime source of nutrition .

 

Composition:

Based approximately on the milk of a mother produced at one to three months of the postpartum period, baby food composition is very important. Infant formulas popularly comprise of cow’s milk that has been purified known as casein and whey. This ingredient in infant formula is a key source of protein . Along with this, infant formula also includes a good combination of vegetables oils to make up for the body’s need of fats, a mix of vitamins and minerals and lactose to supple carbohydrate. Depending on the manufacturer, infant formula may also consist of other ingredients. In some baby foods, some manufacturers replace cow’s milk with soybean to proffer the baby’s need for protein in the body. This kind of replacement is common in the Great Britain and United States.

Types:

Raw milk formulas:

To attain a nutritional balance, raw milk formulas were known to be complex ones which suggested the inclusion of sugar or honey, cream, water and cow’s milk in certain proportions. These ingredients were added to baby food to help it achieve a baby’s nutritional requirements based on digestive ability. Though in the later years, orange juice and cod-liver oil were added to this basically home-based baby food to take care of medical conditions that were related to a baby’s diet.

Commercial baby food:

In industrialized nations, breastfeeding and home-based baby foods were scrutinized closely to arrive at an infant formula that may be best in terms of its composition. That is precisely what brought commercial baby food in the picture. With ingredients like maltose and dextrin believed to be important constituents of a baby’s food, physicians made available a milk additive termed as Dextri-Maltose by the Mead Johnson company as baby food. Later, the milk fats in this product were given a miss and it included a good combination of vegetable and animal fats. Doing so allowed the baby food to be as identical to simulated human milk as possible. A number of baby foods with varying formulas fall under the commercial category. With products like Similac and Enfamil marking their presence, commercial baby food picked up pace against evaporated milk infant formulae. The latter has diminished in use over the past few years with commercially produced baby food consumed by most babies across the world.

Evaporated milk baby food:

Available at rather low prices, by 1950 virtually more than half of babies were given evaporated milk baby foods. A number of investigations in the past indicated towards this type of infant formulae helping babies meet their nutritional needs well. The affordability of this variant of infant food also contributed to making it a hit among parents.

Follow-on and toddler baby foods:

Older children 6+ months up to around 2 years of age were given toddler formula . There is a common belief that toddler formulas were brought in the scenario as the infant formula market for infants below 6 months was near about saturated.

Generic infant food:

In the United States, all infant foods were needed to strictly stick to the FDA guidelines in the country. PBM Products is believed to have been the first baby food introduced as a store brand formula. While manufacturers can differ in the recipes adopted to prepare the baby food, they must adhere to the regulations put forth by the FDA.

Present baby food:

A decrease in breastfeeding of children between the newborn and 6 months period, the use of baby food including cow’s milk in particular has increased dramatically. Specifically, the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes needs companies who manufacture infant food to mention in detail the information of their product. Current health guidelines recommend the use of baby foods only after appropriate consultation with health experts.

Uses:

The use of infant formula is associated with a number of medical benefits. Though breastfeeding is the best way to proffer nutrition to a baby , when a mother’s milk may be unsuitable for the baby or in adverse conditions baby food is the best available option. A mother’s health is the key determinant of providing a baby with infant food. Baby formulas are also an alternative when a mother’s milk lacks enough nutrients on the basis of her dietary habits. In the medical field, the non-availability of human milk banks may further make it necessary to use an infant formula for the baby.

Pitfalls:

There are a number of downsides to using infant formula on the basis of previous studies and baby food may not necessarily be the perfect substitute of breast milk. The main reason for this is that the right chemical properties of human breast milk have not been comprehended as yet. With response to a mother’s feeding habits, the mother’s breast milk may also alter in the course of time and fits appropriately depending on the growth and development of the baby being fed. A mother’s breast milk is believed to be rich in antibodies and helps stave off infections. It isn’t always necessary that baby foods include these important antibodies. These antibodies are also considered to be important in helping a mother build her immune system.

Nutritional value:

Though breast milk is considered to be the most important provider of nutrition to a baby, infant formulas that have been prepared correctly and are safe are recommended as well. In almost all baby foods, cow’s milk is an important ingredient. The integral constituents of a baby food are
  • fat
  • folic acid
  • protein
  • carbohydrate
  • vitamins
  • niacin
  • minerals
  • calcium
  • iodine
  • phosphorous
  • sodium chloride and
  • nucleotides


Certain baby foods are also rich in stabilizers and emulsifiers.

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