In an ideal world, every new baby would be a breastfeeding baby. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the world we live in, and not every baby or mother can tolerate breastfeeding. Luckily, we have baby formula to fill the void for those babies or new mothers who, for whatever reason, cannot breastfeed.
Nutritionally complete, safe, and convenient, baby formula can be a perfectly acceptable alternative to breast milk. Whether you have the luxury of choosing between breastfeeding or formula feeding or Mother Nature makes that decision for you, it’s important to remember that fed is best.
To that end, let’s explore some facts about baby formula many parents don’t realize.
1. There Are Many Different Types of Baby Formula
Baby formula isn’t a one-size-fits-all product, and there is no single best formula for babies. This means that if your baby is allergic to one kind of formula, there are many other types to try. You can test out goat’s milk, soy, hydrolyzed protein, and other varieties until you find one that suits your child. There are even specialized formulations for preventing reflux, eczema, and other conditions.
2. Formula Isn’t Just for Babies
Baby formula has come a long way since its beginning. Today, there are even formulas for older babies and toddlers. These generally include the added iron, minerals, and protein growing children need.
Though this is wonderful, it does add an extra complication for parents. It means that when buying formula for your child, you must make sure you’re getting the right type for your child’s age. So, always read the labels carefully!
3. Formula Fed Babies Poop Differently
Breastfed babies have multiple bowel movements a day, and they’re usually mustard-yellow and relatively mild smelling. Formula-fed babies, on the other hand, have fewer bowel movements – maybe only once a day or so – and they’re generally darker in color. The biggest downside to formula feeding, as far as poo goes, is that it is usually very smelly!
4. Formula Fed Babies Stay Satiated Longer
Formula-fed babies stay fuller longer because formula digests slower than breastmilk. You may find that your little one needs fewer feedings on formula than on breastmilk, and they may even sleep for longer stretches at night because they stay satiated longer.
This isn’t to say you should jump on the formula-feeding bandwagon simply to get your baby to sleep better at night. This is a generalization, not a rule. Switching to baby formula isn’t a guarantee that your bundle of joy will sleep longer at night.
5. Baby Formula Does Spoil
Regardless of the type of baby formula you use (ready-to-feed, powdered, or concentrated), it can and will spoil if not refrigerated and used promptly. For example, if you use ready-to-feed formula, you’ll need to store it in the fridge within two hours of opening and use it within 48 hours. Bottles prepared with powdered formula shouldn’t sit out for more than an hour, so throw away any formula your little one doesn’t finish in a single feeding. Lastly, concentrated formulas that must be mixed with water should be treated the same as ready-to-feed formula.
Keep in mind that powdered formula tins expire as well. Unopened tins can be stored and used within one year. Once opened, use it within a month and then throw out or repurpose any leftovers (expired baby formula can do wonders for your garden).
A fed baby is a happy baby, so it really doesn’t matter whether you breastfeed or formula feed. If you’re on the fence about formula, hopefully, the little-known facts above will help you decide which avenue is right for your baby.