You have tried all the baby formulas on the shelves at the local grocery store, and nothing is helping. Your baby keeps crying and you are feeling desperate for a solution. So begins the long and what seems to be never ending google search for the perfect formula for your baby. Sound familiar?
Many parents go through this struggle when switching to formula feeding from breastfeeding. Other parents that are formula feeding from the start have this struggle to begin with. Either way, finding the formula that works best for your baby doesn’t have to feel hopeless. Here are 3 things to consider when searching for baby formula:
If your baby is sensitive, certain ingredients can trigger allergic reactions or sensitivity in the form of gas, reflux, or constipation. It will benefit you and your baby most to examine all of the ingredients on your baby formula container. Some ingredients you should avoid:
- Corn syrup
- Glucose Syrup Solids
- Artificial DHA/ARA
- Synthetic Nutrients
Babies that have sensitivity to the lactose protein may benefit from formulas that have hydrolyzed proteins; this means the protein has been broken down into smaller, more manageable molecules and easier to digest. Some parents have been considering the A2 cow’s milk formula versions on the market as well – as the body breaks down the A2 protein more efficiently than the A1 protein. Another solution is to switch from cow’s milk directly to goat’s milk formula. Goat’s milk formula has only the A2 protein and many babies are able to digest the goat’s milk better than cow’s milk.
#2 Organic vs Nonorganic
While it may not be completely necessary to choose an organic baby formula, simply choosing it will automatically eliminate certain ingredients that might be causing your baby issues. For example, synthetic ingredients and preservatives are not easily found in organic baby formulas.
Parents can go a step further and choose European organic formulas, in which even more questionable ingredients are removed due to the stricter regulations in the EU. For example, you will never find soy in European formulas as it is a banned ingredient due to the extensive research on the negative effects for developing children.
#3 Additional “Bonus” Ingredients
While it is not mandatory to have DHA/ARA in baby formulas in the USA, European formulas have adapted to making it mandatory. This is because the research has shown that Omega 3 fatty acids like DHA are critical to eye, brain, and nervous system development. As DHA is found naturally in breastmilk, having it added to the baby formula only seems logical. As discussed earlier, make sure you understand where the DHA is derived from; artificial DHA may not be as effective as natural DHA. Natural DHA can come from fish oil (most common) as well as plant algae (vegetarian-friendly).
Another bonus ingredient to consider is HMO (Human milk oligosaccharides). This is naturally found in breastmilk and helps boost a baby’s immunity and gut health. Certain American brands and European brands carry HMO in their formula.
The last additional bonus ingredients to consider are prebiotics/probiotics. Some formulas have prebiotics naturally added through their whole milk recipes. There are even European formula options with only prebiotics and some that contain prebiotics as well as probiotics. The added bonus to these ingredients is gut health as well as intestinal health.
The three considerations mentioned above are simply to get you started or provide a clearer focus on your perfect formula journey. Remember, many parents have dealt with the same struggles and journey, so you are not alone. The fact that you keep trying to find the best formula for your baby means you care. You are an awesome parent; do not belittle yourself or blame yourself – as your baby’s struggles are part of being a parent and not because you are doing something wrong! Speaking of you, are you looking for a protein-efficient diet? If so, we hope our article provides you some more help as well.