Guide to Formula Milks & Feeding
Breastmilk provides the best possible food supply for your baby. When you are breastfeeding a baby who is either very upset, refusing to feed, or very sick it can be very tough. If you can’t breastfeed for any reason, or if you’ve chosen not to, formula milk is the next option.
High-quality formula milks that provide your baby with the nutrition needed are being developed and launched. There are a variety of different formula types and it can be quite a minefield, if you are just moving over to bottle feeding.
- baby’s health and dietary needs
- Baby’s age and weight
- Issues baby is coping with – reflux, poor weight gain, intolerance, allergies
There are several different types of formula:
- cow’s milk-based formula
- hydrolysed protein formula
- soya-based formula
- Lactose-free formula
It’s most likely your baby can have cow’s milk-based formula, unless there’s a health or dietary reason why he/she can’t.
- First-stage formula. These milks consist of mostly whey, with a casein:whey ratio of 40:60, which is about the same as breastmilk. They are suitable for your baby from birth up to about a year, and are thought to be easier to digest.
- Second-stage formula. These milks consist of mostly casein, with a casein:whey ratio of 80:20. They take longer to digest and are often promoted as being for hungrier babies.
Nutritionally, your baby will only need first-stage formula, although you may decide to move your baby onto second-stage formula as they grow.
This is a formula milk which is designed for babies with an allergy or intolerance to cow’s milk. If your baby has a cow’s milk allergy, the protein in the milk will cause an allergic reaction and your baby will have difficulty digesting the lactose, or sugar, in the milk.
Made from soya beans and modified with vitamins, minerals and nutrients to make it suitable for formula milk. It is not recommended for babies with a cow’s milk intolerance to be offered soya milk formula. Often babies with cow’s milk issues will also be sensitive to soya. Instead of soya,modified cow’s milk-based formulas called hydrolysed-protein formulas may be better suited to your baby. Only give your baby soya-based formula on the advice of your doctor, health visitor or paediatrician.