Breast milk needless to say is the very best milk for the baby during the first one or a couple of years but if this is not possible there are many alternatives; but which one do you choose?
In days gone by, babies received watered down “carnation milk”, “condensed milk” or cow”s milk; some added “Pentavite” for vitamins, some failed to. Research shows these are not the most effective choices for babies and may even do harm.
Today during 2010, we have been fortunate enough to have infant formula that has been researched, modified and tested and is still researched to provide milk nearest to living breast milk. It really is commercially synthesised therefore it will never make it to the premium standard of natural breast milk but at least it has to be a lot better than what our ancestors used.
Until age twelve months a baby requires an infant formula for optimum digestion and nutrients.
There are numerous types and brands of milks listed under the age kinds of starter (1), follow on (2) or toddler (3). ‘Starter’ and ‘Progress’ formulas are complete food substitutes but ‘toddler milk’ is like a vitamin in milk form and never a food substitute. ‘Progress’ (2) formulas have added iron and nutrients for increased development and growth requirements however, if the ‘starter’ formula is better tolerated after 6 months and solid food continues to be introduced then it is not absolutely essential to use.
Cow’s milk based infant formula – This can be commercially modified cow’s milk to resemble breast milk and it is suitable for most babies. It is not suitable when babies use a cow milk protein allergy, lactose intolerance or have parents who would like to keep away from animal based foods. Some milks have recently been further enhanced with added docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) Omega – 3 fatty acids and prebiotics and probiotics for added immunity and digestion. Research is ongoing for even further refinements.
Goat milk based infant formula – This commercially modified goat milk contains slightly less lactose than cow’s milk with the protein much like cow’s milk but forms a softer non clustered curd. These facts can make goat milk formula easier to digest for some babies. It is actually more rapidly digested therefore can be helpful for a baby with reflux.
Soy based infant formula – This milk is commercially made from the soya beans that have similar protein content to cow’s milk. It contains lactose. During processing the protein is isolated without its cofactors needed for digestion and metabolic process therefore is not really a good choice for babies.
Lactose free infant formula (LF)- This milk is usually cow milk based and has no lactose. This formula may help babies who are suffering from excessive wind, explosive poos and unsettled sleep patterns because of lower bowel pain.
Anti Reflux infant formula (AR)- This is usually a cow milk based formula that has been thickened using either carob bean gum or maltodextrin (enzymatically produced from any starch but usually corn or wheat). This thickened milk is made for babies who have difficulty keeping milk down. Depending on the thickening agent used this milk may not appropriate for babies who are lactose or wheat intolerant.
Protein modified cow milk infant formula (HA)- Within this milk the cow milk protein has been broken down to make it easier for babies to digest and it is an alternate milk for babies that have a primary chance of dairy allergy. Usually do not use in case a baby was already in contact with dairy through breast milk or some other formula.
Protein free infant formula – An extensively hydrolysed 100% pure whey protein specialty formula for babies with a diagnosed dairy protein or soy allergy. Medical supervision is required for babies with this formula and in Australia is only available by script.
Casein dominant or whey dominant infant formula -Whey and casein are the proteins found in milk. Whey dominant formula is easily the most common on the market, is closest to breast milk and digested quicker than casein based. Very hungry babies are believed to perform better on casein dominant formula.
After 12 months the gut of any baby is mature enough to progress onto cow’s milk or an alternative such as rice milk, oat milk, soy milk, goat milk or toddler milk. These milks are certainly not natural or organic but deciding on a which one to use is yours. Babies require full fat milk until at least two years old.
Goat milk has a similar protein in a comparable quantity to cow’s milk but forms a softer, non clustered curd and possesses slightly less lactose, possibly making it simpler to digest. It really is more rapidly digested, therefore may be useful to have an infant with reflux or frequent positing. It is usually not tolerated by anyone who has a cow milk protein allergy.
Cow milk is really a nutrient dense food when ingested in the raw organic form (breast milk or unpasteurised milk) but unfortunately nutritional vitamins are lost today using the pasteurisation and homogenisation process (heating it to make it better for people!) Additionally there is a difference in milk made out of relaxed cows grazing in open fields of grasses and flowers to a mass produced commercially fed cow living in overcrowded cement floor stalls. Milk just will not be the same milk as years past. Lactose free cow’s milk is also available.
Soya milk is manufactured out of soya beans and it has the equivalent amount of protein to cow’s milk it is therefore not tolerated if allergic to cow milk protein. Research shows that processed soy can prevent the absorption of essential nutritional vitamins such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. The commercial processing involved with isolating the protein in soya beans leaves out the vlxwtj digestive and metabolism cofactors, deeming soya milk often challenging to digest.
Rice milk is made of brown rice, has no lactose and is also usually fortified with minerals and vitamins, and is higher in carbohydrate and lower in protein and calcium. An appropriate milk alternative when cow, goat and soy milks have to be avoided.
Oat milk is manufactured out of whole oats making it higher in fibre than other milks. It is almost always calcium fortified and naturally sweet.
Toddler milk is marketed for toddlers twelve months to three years. Yes, it includes added nutrients and iron however, if a toddler’s weight loss program is adequate then this milk is unnecessary. It can be helpful to get a poor eater since it increases iron to their diet that can enhance their appetite as well as supplying a balanced level of nutrients. Do not give a lot more than the required milk intake since it is Not really a substitute to food.