Choosing the best baby formulas can be a daunting task, especially since there are so many types on the market today. If you have made the decision to use formula, you will need to educate yourself with all the options before making your choice. There are a few things you need to consider such as type, form, cost and generic or name brand.
Many parents must make choosing the baby formulas decision according to budget while some look for convenience. Ultimately, you want what is best for your infant. Your pediatrician will be able to assist in your quest for the best baby formulas for your little one
All of the baby formulas sold in the USA is regulated by the FDA so you know that your baby is getting the nutrition that he/she needs. Companies make their own recipe according to the requirements set, but in the end, they are all about the same nutritionally.
What’s the best formula for babies?
So let’s take a look at the types of formula available. Cow’s milk and soy based are the most common. The main difference between these two is protein and sugar makeup. There are also specialty formulas to meet certain needs your baby might have.
Cost can be an issue when choosing the baby formulas because brands can vary a great deal. Be sure and do your research and compare before buying.
Cow’s Milk Based
Cow’s milk based formulas are the most popular. The protein used in this type has been modified so that the baby can digest it easily. Vitamin, mineral, fat, protein and sugar levels are also altered to make these formulas most like breast milk.
Please note that infants cannot digest regular cow’s milk properly. Do not try to feed your baby regular milk! It is not healthy and could actually put your little one at risk or cause nutritional deficiencies.
The popularity of soy based formulas is growing quickly. Many pediatricians recommend that this type of formula only be used if cow’s milk based does not work. There are still many concerns with soy based formula and it would be wise to talk with your pediatrician before making your choice. For babies who show problems with cow’s milk formula or for vegetarian families, soy could be a solution. If your baby seems to be lactose intolerant or allergic, please consult your doctor before changing formulas. It should also be noted that soy based formula tends to be more costly than cow’s milk based.
These formulas are available for babies with special medical conditions including premature and low birth weight babies.
Next, you must decide what form of formula you need. The three choices are powder, ready-to-serve, or liquid.
This is generally the most cost effective way to go. It also takes up the least amount of space so it is more environmentally friendly. You can make up as little or as much as you need and it has a shelf life of one month after it has been opened. You only need to measure, add water, and shake, but you must be precise and follow the directions exactly. It does take longer to prepare than ready to serve forms, but the savings might just be worth it for you.
Ready to Serve
Obviously, this is the most convenient way to go but is also the most expensive. It tends to run about 25% more per ounce than powdered. This might be a great choice if money is not an issue. It is very handy when traveling or of you find yourself in a situation where clean water is not readily available. This must be used within 48 hours after it is opened, so its shelf life is very short.
The cost of liquid concentrate seems to fall between powder and ready to serve. It is mixed with water and is a little easier to prepare than powder. It has a 48 hour shelf life after opened.
Formula content includes protein, fat, carbohydrates, nutrients, minerals, vitamins and other vital ingredients your infant needs for proper nutrition. There are also breast milk substitutes that add extra ingredients such as iron to meet special needs.
Making the decision to formula feed is going to stretch any budget. In the first year alone, costs can add up for breast milk substitute. Of course, this depends on the type and form of formula but there are other things that can help cut costs. Simulation of human milk is big business. This market has many companies and manufacturers who are all competing for your business.
Many of these have created incentives to gain valued customers. They regularly give out free samples and coupons to market their product. This is will not only help you find the best baby formula for your baby, but it saves a little money along the way. Most hospitals freely give samples out to new moms. Many company websites also offer free samples and coupons upon request. Don’t be shy!
Once you have coupons it’s time to compare store prices. When you have found the cheapest price try to use your coupons in conjunction with a sale to get extra savings.
Consider buying in bulk once you have chosen the right baby formulas for you and your infant. You can get some big savings but be careful. Look for expiration dates and the shelf life of your choice once it is opened. Don’t get something if you won’t be able to use it all before this time. If you or a friend has a warehouse membership, use it. Most of the time there are great bargains for bulk buying and you might be able to save more than 15%.
Generally, drug stores are higher than supermarkets by as much as 20% so unless they are offering a deal try not fall for the convenience unless you can afford to.
Surf the web for bargains. Some websites offer great deals on baby formula. Just make sure that you allow for shipping cost to insure that the final price is really a bargain.
GENERIC vs. NAME BRAND
First, it helps to remember that the FDA regulates baby formula so even generic or store brand formulas contain all the necessary nutrition your baby needs. If you are skeptical about these compare, compare, compare! Many times store brands have almost the same make up as a popular brand at a much cheaper cost.
As if it could not get any more confusing, the baby formula market has added yet another category to the breakdown. Now there is infant formula (for up to 6 months), follow-up formula (for 6 to 12 months), and toddler formula (for 12 months up).
It goes without saying that breastfeeding is the cheapest way to feed your infant in the first months of life. There are also countless benefits to breastfeeding. You have probably read many articles about it and consulted your doctor prior to making your decision. This article is for the parent who has decided to use formula instead. It is not intended to persuade you of one over the other. The decision is an extremely important one and depends on many factors according to your way of life.
As you can see, there are many choices to be made once you have decided on formula. You can find the formula for your little one if you take the initiative. Take the time to research as many types, brands, and forms as you can. It will be worth your research in order to choose the best baby formulas for your new arrival.