The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding your baby for at least six months but some mothers find themselves unable to breastfeed. This can be due to discomfort, time constraints, medical problems or latching issues. Because breastfeeding does not work for everyone there is a healthy alternative in infant formula. Formula has benefits that include nutritional value and convenience level.
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Infant formula contains the nutrients necessary for a baby to thrive and grow. Commercially prepared formula brands meet nutritional requirements and safety standards. Some even have added vitamins and nutrients, such as iron that can help prevent anemia. According to Healthy Children, some types of formula contain a probiotic called Bifidobacterium lactis, which can help to reduce diarrhea, improve colic and lower the risk of food allergies.
Formula can be fed anywhere at any time, making it a convenient choice for working mothers who are not able to pump enough breast milk for the day. Both parents and all caregivers can give bottles of formula. Infant formula is also a beneficial alternative for mothers who wish to nurse but cannot due to pain, medical issues or a baby’s poor sucking reflex. Formula also digests slower than breast milk, so a formula-fed baby will need to eat less often than a breastfed baby.
There are a variety of different infant formulas available to suit a baby’s needs. Infant formula is typically made from cow’s milk or soybean, and there are also varieties that are made from predigested proteins. A baby with an allergic reaction to cow’s milk or constipation problems may benefit from a soy based formula, and if she has digestive problems she can try one with predigested proteins. Her pediatrician can help determine which type of formula is best for her according to her needs.