Baby Formulas: The Best Alternative to Breast Feeding Your Infant

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Having a newborn baby, especially for the first time, can be one of the most memorable and exhilarating moment of your life. Like other mothers who are having their first baby, you have many questions. One of the most important questions you must answer is whether to breastfeed or use baby formula when feeding your baby. As an expectant mom, you only want the best for your little one. You don't want to compromise their health so you’ve probably sought advice from your doctor and friends about the benefits of either feeding method for an infant. As you probably heard by now, the consensus is breast milk is still best for nursing babies. However, many factors affect breastfeeding and you may later need to supplement feeding with baby formula or choose formula all the way.

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Using formula does not mean that you’re depriving your baby of the essential nutrients found in breast milk and that you’re settling instead for second-rate cow’s milk. First of all, baby formula is not the same as cow’s milk. This is one of the most common misconceptions about baby formula. It is based on cow’s milk but commercial manufacturers have gone to great lengths to match it as closely as possible to mother’s milk. Among other things, the protein is made more digestible, lactose is added to match that of breast milk, and butterfat is removed and replaced with a combination of fats and lipids more readily absorbed by infants.

As mentioned above, many factors affect breastfeeding. These include the mother’s health, diet, and post-postpartum condition. A small percentage of mothers cannot express milk nor supply adequate amounts of it. Occasionally, some suffer from mastitis or breast infection, which can make breastfeeding very painful. This is where supplementing with or using baby formula can be your ally. Infant formula is easy to prepare and now even comes in convenient ready-to-feed form. These days, preparing baby formula is not the laborious procedure it once was in the past generation, with the advent of microwave sterilizers and pre-sterilized disposable bottle systems. You can prepare a day’s worth of bottles in advance and store them in the fridge or freezer (please ask a health professional on how to do this safely). Further, with bottle feeding, anyone can feed the baby. This will give you some time off from the extremely exhausting routine of feeding every 2-3 hours, especially during the first six months. For you mothers who would like to go back to work soon after giving birth, infant formula is heaven-sent if expressing breast milk is not an option.

If you should choose to bottle feed, make sure you speak with your pediatrician regarding the type of baby formula he/she recommends. More often than not, they will recommend one that has an optimum combination of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients like DHA and ARA -- essential fatty acids that are important for brain and eye development. Brands like Similac and Enfamil are formulated to resemble breast milk as closely as possible. Enfamil LIPIL and Similac Advance both have DHA and ARA at comparable levels to breast milk. Enfamil LIPIL also boasts of whey and casein (whole, easy-to-digest proteins) composition similar to breast milk. Similac Advance EarlyShield, on the other hand, has an exclusive blend of prebiotics, nucleotides, and antioxidants that mimic breast milk in terms of supporting baby’s developing immune system.

Whatever method you choose to feed your baby is entirely up to you. While breastfeeding is best for baby, it may not work for everyone. You can supplement or feed your baby entirely with infant formula with the assurance that most commercial brands now have nutritional benefits very similar to breast milk. Unlike breastfeeding, though, bottle feeding using infant formula allows some flexibility and gives you precious time to rest so you can recharge and take care of your baby more efficiently.  If you are searching for a great bargain on baby formula, check out our links on our website.