Which Mixture is Closest to Breast Milk?

Sometimes switching to a baby formula is a tough but necessary decision. There can be many reasons such as lack of breast milk, diseases, etc. Even though there are debates about whether the formula can replace breast milk or not, in any case, it will be a good alternative if needed.

The main thing is to correctly choose the content so that a kid will receive the same nutrients and trace elements as if it’s breastfed. So it is important to know what the formula is, and what quality criteria should be considered while choosing it for a child. Usually, it is manufactured following the strictest requirements and based on cow or goat milk. Some formulas are made on soy protein, which is well tolerated by children with allergies. it’s also recommended to buy formula after consulting a pediatrician, who will suggest the most useful option.

Types of Formula

If you know the meaning of all labels on the packaging, you will not get lost in the supermarket and easily pick up what is right for your little one. The formula can be either dry powder form or liquid.

Liquid formula. This is a completely ready formula that needs only heating. It is sold in a tetra pack. It is suitable for mixed and bottle-feeding. Unfortunately, such a type of formula has a short shelf life.

Dry powder formula. It is convenient to store, transport, and prepare. To get it ready, you need to add boiled water according to the instructions. After the opening, the formula can be stored for approximately up to 2 weeks.

Most formulas are made based on cow milk, which undergoes special processing, says MayoClinic. Cow milk whey is completely processed and rich in vitamins, trace elements, nucleotides, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is the lightest, most digestible, and most nutritious type of formula which is similar to breast milk. Such a formula is called an adapted one.

For those older than 6 months, a formula based on casein or unadapted can be used. When buying such a formula, pay attention to the content because some of them may miss essential nutrients e.g. taurine (needed for vision – see here) or fatty acids. 

Hypoallergenic formula is suitable for those children who are prone to allergic reactions. Milk protein in the HA formula is already broken down by enzymes. Formula with lactic acid bacteria is intended for kids older than 7 months who suffer from digestive problems.

Age-Appropriate Formula

It’s important to select the formula according to the age needs because the growing body requires different amounts of trace elements at all stages of development. For example, Holle Formula stage 1 is more high-calorie than stage 3, because the most intensive growth and maximum weight gain last during the first months of life (Holle’s organic baby formula can be found on the babymilkbar.com). That’s why a 2 months old kid needs more energy than a one-year-old child.

While a child is growing, the protein amount in the content increases, but the number of fat decreases. The amount of carbohydrates changes slightly, but even small changes are worth paying attention to.

The protein content of stage 1 is adapted to the content of breast milk in the ratio of whey proteins to casein in it is 60:40. Stage 2 is designed for the second half of the year. It has a different ratio of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, the dosage of the vitamin-mineral complex. If you give stage 2 formula to a newborn it may not get the nutrients it needs.