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Baby Formula | Types of Formula Milk

Introduction To Formula Milk

Formula milk or Infant formula is a substitute for breast milk prepared for babies under 12 months. Baby formula milk contains all the nutrients required for early development of babies. Baby milk comes in powder or liquid forms (ready to use). Formula milk is formed from dried cow or goat milk with some additives to enhance the nutritional content. The USA FFDCA depicts the baby formula milk as, 

 "A food which purports to be or is represented for special dietary use solely as a food for infants because it simulates human milk or its suitability as a complete or partial substitute for human milk".

 Although parents prefer to breastfeed their babies rather than using formula milk, there can be so many medical and social issues for choosing formula milk over breastfeeding.

Nutritional Content of Formula Milk

It is scientifically proven that the nutritional content of formula milk is more than that of mother’s milk. It is because a child needs all the essential amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for his proper growth and development. All of these requirements cannot be fulfilled by the mother only. In that case, it is mandatory to use predigested formula milk to keep a baby healthy and active. It is reported that the total caloric content of formula milk powder is 670 kcal/L which is way more than that of mother’s milk. Besides having proteins, fats, and carbohydrates as main ingredients, formula milk also contains additives such as long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPs), Probiotics, Prebiotics, Beta-carotenes, vitamins such as vitamins A, B, and Zinc necessary for proper growth and maturation of neurons. 

Types of Formula Milk

There are so many kinds of baby formula brands in Pakistan that offer the best infant formula feeding following the guidelines of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA has set some ground rules about the upstream and downstream processing of formula milk which need to be followed properly to get approval. There are so many types of formula feeding some of them are discussed below. 

Cow’s Milk Formula

Cow’s milk formula accounts for almost 80% of all infant formula. The main protein content of cow’s milk is whey and casein. This high concentration of protein in cow’s milk makes it unsuitable for consumption in babies. That’s why it is treated with heat or some other methods for easy digestion. After that, lactose is added to the cow’s formula to make it more like breast milk. At last, the butter fats of cow’s milk are then replaced with some easily digestible vegetable oils, better for the baby’s health. You can also check powdered formula milk, the perfect substitute for cow's milk.

Goat Milk Formula

Goat milk formula is made with the same processing standards as Cow’s milk formula. Some argue that goat milk formula is better than soy-based and cow’s milk formula as it does not upset the stomach lining and induces allergy reactions in the body. However, there are not any evidence supporting this statement and it is important to consult with your doctor before using any kind of formula milk. Moreover, if your baby shows any kind of reaction to cow’s milk formula then do not use goat milk because both have the same composition.

Soya-Based Formula

The soya-based formula milk is formed from soybeans, soya is a protein source, and glucose or sucrose is a carbohydrate source. This type of baby formula is used when the baby is lactose intolerant and cannot digest the lactose in milk. However, there are some health concerns related to soya-based formula as it contains phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogen is a chemical substance similar to estrogen which is a female hormone. High levels of phytoestrogen in the formula can have negative effects on the reproductive health of the baby. Moreover, the soya-based formula also affects the teeth in the baby. You can buy Lactose free formula milk online from Bebambi.

Specialized Formula Milk

There is also specialized formula milk for premature babies or babies with severe medical problems. Examples of this formula milk are, 

  1. Extensively hydrolyzed Formula

In an extensively hydrolyzed formula, all the proteins are broken down into smaller pieces and provide complete nutrition to babies. This type of powder formula is used when a baby is showing allergic reactions to cow’s milk formula. So, casein (cow’s protein) which is causing the triggering reaction is broken down into smaller pieces, and almost 90% of babies can easily digest this formula. 

Lactose-Free Formula Milk

The lactose-free formula is mostly used for medical purposes such as when the baby is lactose intolerant. It means that the baby cannot digest lactose which is a common sugar found in dairy products. The obvious symptoms are bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea; all of this harm the enzymes of the stomach and intestinal lining. In this case, lactose-free milk powder is available in the market containing all the essential nutrients for the growth of babies. But if you are not sure that your baby is lactose intolerant, and the symptoms can be due to another reason then it is important to consult with your doctor before using any kind of baby formula milk. 

Iron Fortified Formula Milk

During the first 6 months, all of the iron reserves of the baby decline rapidly. It is because the development of major organs such as brains and all the physiological processes occur during the first 6 months which require a lot of iron and other nutrients. This leads to a common condition called, “Physiological anemia of infancy” in babies. That’s why it is important to give best formula feed for newborns and fortify baby formula with iron so that the growing baby gets the proper amount of iron he needs for all of his physiological processes. Many kinds of iron-fortified formulas are available in the market that can fulfill iron deficiency in infants. In some kinds of iron-containing formulas docosahexaenoic acids (DHA) and Arachidonic acid (ARA) are also added as an additive, both of which are essential for eyes and brain development. Moreover, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that babies should use iron-rich formula milk until one year. 

Ready to Use Formula Milk

Formula milk is also available in liquid form for ready-to-use. This type of baby formula is more expensive and safer as compared to powdered formula. Ready-to-use baby formula comes in a disposable bottle and is properly sealed to avoid environmental contamination. Most mothers opt for ready-to-use formula milk when going on trips or to offices because it takes a lot of time to mix powder formula. But there is nothing to worry about because the composition and the nutritional value of both are the same.


While choosing the best formula milk for your little one, some considerations should be kept in mind, 


  1. Some babies are born with rare genetic defects such as lacking Lactase enzymes in their bodies. So, they can’t digest lactose in milk. It is best to use lactose-free formula milk to prevent your baby from some serious damage. 
  2. Some babies are victims of galactosemia disease, which means they can’t digest galactose. For these babies, it is important to use soya-based formula rather than cow or goat milk formula.
  3. Another concern is that some babies are allergic to milk’s protein, which means they can’t digest the high concentration of proteins present in the cow or goat milk formula. Hence, it is suggested to use an extensively hydrolyzed formula to prevent allergic reactions. 
  4. Never use a homemade formula for your baby as it would not be as safe as the artificially prepared formula. Besides that, the nutritional content of the homemade formula would be either less or more and it could dramatically affect the health of your baby. 
  5. Last but not least, once your baby gets comfortable with one formula milk powder then do not change it too quickly unless prescribed by your doctor or pediatrician. 




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