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Niche Topics (Pregnancy and Kids) is all about practical parenting advice and parenting skills to help you deal with common parenting challenges from toddlerhood to teen years. You’ll find tons of healthy food ideas and easy-to-make kids meals, fun activity ideas and creative crafts projects that kids love to do and play!

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By Martha Sanders


If for some reasons you're unable to breastfeed your baby or decide not to, the next best alternative is commercially prepared iron fortified baby formula.


The kind of formula you choose depends on the needs of your baby and your budget. Formulas are prepared according to FDA regulations, nutritionally complete and safe for your baby.


However, some babies (premature babies or babies with allergies) require special infant formula. Your pediatrician may recommend you get a formula with certain additives or nutrients. Request for any new parent packets which your pediatrician received from formula companies. They often contain coupons that you can use to save money.



How Do I Know Which Formula Is Right for My Baby?

Selecting infant formula can be daunting for most parents. In general, there are 3 main types of infant formula – milk-based, soy-based and specialty formulas for specific infant problems.


In addition to basic formula types, you can also find lactose free formula, formula supplemented with DHA and ARA, and formula for premature babies.  All formulas are fortified with iron, Vitamin D and contain lactose.


Many brand-name formulas are also available as store brands, but you should read and compare nutritional labels to ensure that the generic brand offers the same nutritional value as the more expensive brand-name formula.


When possible, choose powdered infant formula over liquid infant formula. Powdered formulas have lower rate of BPA (Bisphenol A) leaching than liquid. If you're using ready-to-feed prepared liquid formula, choose Similac quart size plastic containers as these are BPA-free.


If not, then consider a glass container over canned for prepared liquid formula. According to a Enviromental Working Group (EWG) report, metal cans of liquid prepared formula had the highest concentrations of BPA while glass containers will only have BPA lining in the metal lid.



Milk Based Formulas

Milk based formulas are manufactured from cow's milk. They're available as basic formula and as a predigested formula for lactose intolerant babies.

Cow's milk based infant formula is developed from modifying and treating regular cows milk. The protein quality is improved and has reduced salt levels. A range of different fats is added and the milk is supplemented with 13 essential Vitamins and 11 essential minerals including iron and calcium.

Goat's milk is slowly gaining in popularity among parents as they feel it's better for both baby and the environment.

Using goat's milk is probably fine but goat's milk only contain about 10% of the folic acid in cow's milk. If you plan to use goat's milk, go for a brand that has been fortified with folic acid. On the plus side, goat's milk formula contains higher levels of copper and antioxidant, selenium.

Some parents believe that lactose intolerant babies will fare better when switched to goat's milk. Whilst it's true that goat's milk does contain lower levels of lactose, it's probably best switching to soy based formula or a lactose free formula of cow's milk.



Soy Based Formulas

Soy based formula is also becoming more popular these days as an alternative to milk based formulas for lactose intolerant babies or for babies that are raised vegetarian or vegan.

Strictly speaking, soy is not milk as it's derived from whole soy beans or soy protein isolates. When soy based infant formula is produced, it's supplemented with essential fatty acids, vegetable oils, and carbohydrate in the form of maltodextrins, corn syrup solids or sucrose. Other essential Vitamins and minerals, including calcium and iron are then added to soy based formulas.

You can find brands such as Enfamil ProSobee, Similac Isomil, and Nestle Good Start Supreme Soy available on the market.



Specialty Formulas

Usually, specialty formulas are only prescribed when the baby has a specific health condition such as heart disease, malabsorption, an inability to digest fats or other conditions that neither regular milk-based or soy formula can address the problem properly.

Specialty hypo-allergenic formulas are available for babies with Cows Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA) or Milk, Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI). In most countries these specialty formulas require a doctor's prescription.



Some babies may have a tough time ingesting certain types or brands of infant formulas. If that happens, you might want to experiment around until you find a formula that best satisfy your baby's needs.


How to Choose Baby Formula

how do i know which formula is right for my baby

How Much Milk Formula to Feed My Baby

Confused about how much milk formula and how often to bottle-feed your baby? Find advice on feeding based on your baby's age.


5 Clever Ways to Save Money on Baby Diapers

Find out how you can save money on baby diapers or even get baby diapers for free.


Best Money-Saving Tips for First-Time Parents

Learn practical advice and ideas on how to save money on baby stuff.


How to Treat Baby Colic Naturally

Natural homemade remedies to treat and prevent baby colic and what you can do to calm a crolicky baby.


4 Must-Knows to Buy Baby Clothes Online

Learn how you can buy baby clothes online that are cute, comfortable and practical for a cheap price.


What to Look for in a Baby Cot Bed

Learn how to choose and buy a cot bed that is safe, durable and comfortable for your baby.


Caring for Baby Skin on a Budget

Learn how to care and protect your baby's skin from rashes and common skin conditions for less money.


Homemade Diaper Rash Cream Recipe

Make diaper rash cream and ointment for pennies, and cure your baby's irritated bottom. Also, find home remedies to prevent future rashes.


10 Killer Tips to Lose Pregnancy Weight Fast

A look at some safe and easy ways which you can use in your everyday life to help you lose pregnancy weight fast and naturally.