Baby formula, baby food or simply baby formula or ready-to-feed baby food, baby milk or infant formula, is a commercially produced food designed and marketed specifically for feeding infants and babies below 12 months of age, generally prepared from powdered or liquid food. It’s often served as the first course food for a short period of time or fed only while the baby is awake and may be hungry. Although many parents believe that breast milk is best, research shows that infants fed with infant formula have a more pleasant feeling and are not as likely to become ill. There are several brands of infant formula on the market including Formula One, Good Life, and Cuisinart.
Most formula is pasteurized at high temperatures to kill any bacteria before it is distributed to the baby. Pasteurization can be performed in various ways depending on the brand and type of formula. In some ready-to-feed baby food brands, the powder is mixed with juice, boiled for 10 minutes, cooled and then stirred into a container of heated water.
Each serving of formula should have about one ounce of protein, about two ounces of fat, two ounces of sugar and about one ounce of salt. Powdered infant formula should not be frozen or re-heated. Before feeding your baby, check to see if there are any signs of bacteria growth – black spots on the bottle, bad odor from the bottle, or dark spots in the mouth or on the food. If you notice any signs of bacterial contamination, stop feeding the baby and seek advice from a health professional.
Some people question the ability of a cow to produce enough milk for human babies. Cow milk is considered the optimum food for breastfeeding babies because it contains antibodies that protect the baby from illness and disease. This makes cow milk a very important part of the baby’s diet, especially during the first six months of life. Human babies cannot develop sufficient antibodies to protect them from illness before they reach the age of one month. The amount of antibodies in a human milk formula are usually more than in cow milk.
Another popular alternative is soy formula. Soy formulas can be found in health food stores and are made from soy beans instead of cow’s milk. Soy formulas do not provide as many health benefits as breast milk, but are less likely to contain growth hormones.
Baby bottle cleaning should not be done by just anyone. Professionals who clean and sterilize bottles pass an FDA exam and must be certified before they can sell the product. Before you buy a baby bottle, see if the company you are buying it from has an FDA license. You also need to make sure that the company uses state of the art baby bottle cleaning equipment to ensure the safety of your baby. The last thing you want is for your baby to become seriously ill because he or she was unable to drink his or her bottle. It would be a tragedy.