Baby formula, baby food or simply baby food or formula, baby milk or pre-prepared baby food, is a commercially prepared and manufactured food intended for feeding infants and growing children under the age of 12 months, generally prepared from powdered or liquid skim milk or formula. There are a number of different types of commercially available baby formula on the market today. Most baby formula is mixed with water and other additives to make it suitable for consumption as food. In recent years, baby formula has been made more available over the Internet and through mail-order catalogs.
The majority of baby formula sold in the United States is typically produced in two separate components. One type of this product is a concentrated liquid concentrate and the other type is a ready to serve or ready to drink (RTC) concentrate. A United States company producing a baby formula usually will include a selection of unique and attractive flavors. Each flavor will be appropriate for a particular baby’s nutritional requirements.
The majority of baby formula is formulated to provide the necessary vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates that a growing baby needs to grow and develop normally. Although formula is primarily designed to meet the nutritional and biological requirements of newborns and young children, it is also used by adult people to meet their daily nutrition requirements. As a result of the fact that formula provides an adequate supply of the needed nutrients for baby’s first year of life, most pediatricians recommend that a baby is fed with a mix of formula and breast milk for the first year of life. This combination is often referred to as the “fractionated diet”. By the first year, when a baby has his or her first feedings of infant formula, the infant may only need breast milk or formula to meet his or her nutritional needs.
Although the infant formulas are generally considered to be safe for infants, problems can occur especially if mothers are unable to breastfeed due to the complications of pregnancy, childbirth or the birth of a baby who has a low birth weight or is too large for the mother’s uterus. Mothers who choose to substitute breast milk for infant formulas may run into nutritional problems. It is best to check with your baby’s pediatrician to make sure that the powdered formula that you are considering feeding will not have any negative effects on your baby.
Powdered formulas were typically designed for cow’s milk, which contains a high percentage of lactose. Today, formulas for infants are available in formulas that contain soy, rice, oat and even soy-based oils. Soy products are not commonly consumed by most infants. However, these products can be used in small amounts during the first year, especially if the mother is unable to breastfeed. Some babies who are allergic to cow’s milk may be able to tolerate soy milk or formula if the mother is able to tolerate the taste of another food type.
Breastfeeding babies should never be fed formulas that contain soy. The enzymes used to process soy may cause symptoms such as: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and a high level of lactose in the milk. It is important to note that babies who are diagnosed with a soy allergy should be avoided from using any formula made from soy. For lactose-free and other infants who do not require the amount of fluid and sugar that soy formulas contain, rice milk is an alternative to soy.