Baby Formula Powder Vs. Liquid

Once you make the decision to feed your baby using formula, you have several other important decisions to make. You will want to determine what brand of formula you want to buy, what ingredient you want to be as the base and what form you want the product to come in. Three forms are available--powdered, concentrated and ready-to-use.

milk in baby bottle
Baby formula comes in several different forms. (Image: tycoon751/iStock/Getty Images)

Definition of Baby Formula

Dr. William Sears, pediatrician and associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California at Irvine School of Medicine, explains that baby formula, which is actually called "artificial baby milk" in medical terms, is not as nutritious as breast milk, because it lacks the hormones and antibodies produced by a woman's body. Yet it is also more convenient for some women. He states that formula is usually made with a cow's milk base, but it can also be made using a base from the soybean plant. Formulas are fortified with iron and other vitamins and minerals that babies need.

Powdered Formula

According to the Family Doctor website, formula in powder form is the least expensive of all three forms that it comes in. It is prepared by mixing one level scoop of powder with 2 oz. water and then shaking or stirring until fully mixed. Another benefit of powder formula is that it lasts the longest. A woman can throw a can of powder formula in her purse and carry it with her and prepare it with water whenever her baby gets hungry.

Concentrated Formula

Concentrated liquid formula is also fairly inexpensive, according to the Family Doctor website. Although concentrated formula is in liquid form, it is still essential to mix it with an equal part of water. Giving a baby concentrated liquid formula without adding water could be dangerous--if not toxic--for the baby. Some parents prefer concentrated formula, because it is easier than powder formula for some babies to digest.

Ready-to-Use Formula

Ready-to-use formula is the type of formula that most hospitals give out as samples to new mothers who choose to feed their babies with formula. It is, by far, the most convenient, because it requires no mixing or adding anything to it. It is also the most expensive type, according to the Family Doctor website.

Choosing Which is Best

Choosing which type of formula is best is really a personal decision, based on the preferences of the family and the person who will be feeding the baby. Neither powder formula, concentrate nor ready-to-use is inherently superior as they all have their own benefits and drawbacks. Busy mothers may choose ready-to-use for its convenience, while mothers who spend a lot of time outdoors with their baby may want the powder formula.

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