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Feeding time: Choosing the best baby formula

When it comes to baby formula, you want to give your child the best — but navigating the different types can be confusing to say the least. Do you choose a cow’s milk baby formula or a soy-based one? Do extra ingredients like DHA and AHA really help with brain development? Consider some of these factors when looking for the best baby formula for your child.

Important info about baby formula

Baby formulas are specially designed to come as close to the composition and taste of breast milk as possible. As breast milk contains so many nutrients and probiotics, regular cow’s milk or goat’s milk are not sufficient to properly substitute what you naturally produce. Insufficient nutrients, consequently, make these types of milk and harder to digest for babies under one.

If you are supplementing your breast milk with baby formula, it’s also important that the formula comes close to the breast milk so your baby doesn’t reject one or the other.

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Types of baby formula

Most infant milk formulas are made from cow’s milk, but if your baby is sensitive to dairy products, you should look for soy-based or extensively hydrolysed formula which will contain little to no dairy.

Milk formulas are also split into two stages. Stage 1 formula is intended for newborn babies up to six months old, while Stage 2 formula is for babies six months and up, until they are ready to switch to regular milk.

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Brands to know

The following are the most popular brands of infant formula used by parents in Singapore.

  • Nestle NAN H.A. Gold
  • Enfamil/Enfalac A+
  • Dumex Mamil Gold
  • Wyeth S26 Gold
  • Friso Gold
  • Similac Advance
  • Isomil Soy Protein (Soy-based)

When your baby formula doesn’t work

Sometimes an infant formula that your baby accepted earlier no longer works as well. It could just be that your baby’s needs has changed. Some baby formulas have the reputation of being “heaty” (e.g. Similac Stage 2), which babies cannot take. Or perhaps your baby has developed a sudden sensitivity to dairy. In any case, look out for the following symptoms:

  • Throwing up or spitting after drinking the milk
  • Increased gassiness and bloating
  • Diarrhea or loose stools
  • Constipation
  • Body rashes

 

RELATED: When is baby spit up something to worry about?

Do I need all the extra-supplements?

Infant formulas compete by branding themselves as being superior. They may hint at making your baby more intelligent by terms like “IQ” and “A+”. You should understand that this is basic marketing.

With regards to the claims of the additional supplements like DHA, AHA, probiotics, “immunity boosters,” it’s more tricky. While there is some evidence that fatty acids and probiotics are good for brain and digestive development, experts do not have an answer on whether babies really benefit from these supplements.

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You should also remember that these supplements are ultimately synthetic, and some babies may not necessarily take well to them. Ultimately you should go with a formula that your baby likes, rather than the one most “enriched” with extras.

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