When you walk into a store prepared to pick up a canister or bottle of formula, there’s a bit of overwhelming “What?!” when you first venture down that aisle. Cans, bottles, packets, bright colors, soy, hypoallergenic, things you can’t pronounce are all presented in front of you.
So what do you pick? What’s the best choice for your new baby?
Let’s start with the basics. Formula is available in three forms: powder, liquid concentrate and ready-to-feed liquid. Powders are typically the least expensive and are measured out and added to water. Liquid concentrates are pricier and diluted with an equal part of water. Ready-to-feed is exactly that, just pour straight into a bottle and feed to your baby. All three are easy to travel with, especially with new and innovative measuring tools and special containers.
So now that you now that forms that you can purchase formula, let’s look at the main ingredients.
Soy-based formulas are available for babies who are not tolerating dairy well, or who’s parents prefer to start their baby immediately on a vegetarian diet. Soy is not recommended for premature babies or for babies who were born with a low birth weight.
Next, you have milk-based formulas. These are, for the most part, what will be offered to you in the hospital unless an issue arises (like an allergy) in those little “sample pack” sized bottles. If your baby tolerates a milk-based formula, make sure to ask your nurse to send home some extra bottles before you leave the hospital! These bottles are perfect for those first few nights when you are completely sleep-deprived and everyone is adjusted to the new normal.
Specialty formulas are available, and usually with a nice price tag. In this category you would find formulas for low-birth-weight babies, special dietary needs (“sensitive” formulas that have pre-digested proteins to help babies digestion), and even formulas to use when baby has diarrhea!
You have the basic information, and now you have to pick. First, ask your pediatrician! Usually when they make a recommendation, they can also provide you with free formula samples and coupons to use. You should also talk with your friends and family members who have babies. They can share their experiences and opinions. As long as your baby doesn’t need a specialty formula, the choice really is up to you! You can purchase a name brand or a store brand to best fit your family’s budget, you can gather coupons or purchase in bulk too once you’ve found the formula that works best. Whatever you need, there is a perfect formula for your baby!
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