There are many reasons why some mother’s can’t or don’t want to breast-feed. In this case it’s important for the mum to get well informed about infant formula.
Stage 1 …there is starter formula
That’s what infant formula for newborns is called that should be given to children of not-breast feeding mums until they reach six months of age. For starter formula there is the additional distinction between Pre and stage 1 milk. The so-called pre-milk is the closest you will find to actual breast milk, both in consistency and in content, and is what most experts will recommend at this stage. The only sugar present in this milk is the milk-own version lactose. Other carbohydrates are strictly prohibited in infant formula. The recommended amount is, just as it is with breast-milk, dependant on the requirements and therefore appetite of the child.
For stage 1 milk do be watchful: some of these milk powders contain additionally added sugars and starches, which are completely unnecessary at this age. Infants can easily be overfed on these products, requiring parents to keep an alert eye on the child’s weight development. In general however, both pre and stage 1 milks are perfectly adequate for the entire first year. They are good substitutes of breast milk and are also a good complement to first solid foods during the second half of the first year. No additional formula is therefore needed during this time.
Stage 2 ...Follow-on formula
The purpose and function of follow-on formulas are highly debated. Under normal circumstances, follow-on milk is not really needed. Some experts even argue that its use delays the transition to family food. If a mother still wants to feed follow-up formula, just make sure to keep an eye on how satisfied your child is after drinking it. Follow up formula is often creamier (higher carbohydrate, starch, protein and iron contents compared to Pre-formulas), stays in the stomach longer and thus creates a sensation of satiety. Stage 2 milk has a slightly higher caloric value than stage 1 (at about 60-70 kcal per 100ml), and is therefore seen by some as potentially fattening. Due to the satiety effect however, less appetite generally balances this out. Stage 2 milk should not be given before the 7th month, given its higher protein content and the fact that his can strain the kidneys.
Stage 3 ...Growing up milk
Stage 3 milk, or growing up milk can be consumed after the 10th month. Beyond the first birthday, children should still drink at least 2 glasses of milk per day. Growing up milks are a good option for this, especially as many of them contain prebiotic fibres and have vitamin and mineral mixes tailored to the child’s needs. Read the labels however to make sure that they don’t contain any unnecessary amounts of sugar.
If one or both parents have allergies, the offspring will most likely require a formula low in allergens. This way you have a chance of preventing or at least delaying the onset of allergies. These formulas are only different from their normal counterparts by their different protein properties. Hypoallergenic formulas (HA), have their protein components further broken down and therefore cause less of a reaction. If a cow-protein allergy is already confirmed, the child will most likely still react to the HA formula. As a last resort, parents can then still opt for high grade hydrolysed products, where the protein particles have been split to the degree of no longer presenting any allergic properties. The only drawback here is that the milk take on a somewhat bitter taste, which often takes some getting used to. When choosing hydrolysed HA formula, try and choose the variety with the highest calcium content.