If, for any reason, a woman cannot breastfeed, she will have to choose one formula from the many on the market. A pediatrician will help you make the right choice, but many parents want to know in more detail what is hidden in the name of the mixture, how it is produced and what is in it.
Artificial milk is made from cow’s or goat’s milk, but its composition changes during modern technological processes. The main feature is the high content of whey protein in infant formula, which is obtained at the factory from whey, it is easily digestible and contains the amino acids necessary for the proper development of the child.
In addition, during the manufacturing process, part of the animal fat is removed and vegetable fat comes to replace it. Like breast milk, the mixture contains essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, but its composition cannot exactly replicate the content of the nutrients of mother’s milk, for example, there are no hormones, natural antibodies and some enzymes that contribute to comfortable digestion. Technologists continue to work on creating the perfect milk formula, which would become an analogue of breast milk.
The composition of the milk formula
The composition of the dry mixture is the minimum that every crumb of the first year of life needs. The blend is balanced for needs and age, including fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins and excluding harmful preservatives, dyes and gluten.
Squirrels. Basic building blocks of cells and tissues of the body. The complete cow’s milk protein in the formula is replaced with whey protein, which is easier to digest and better tolerated by the digestive system of young children. For babies with an allergy to cow’s milk protein, the manufacturer reduces the level of immunoreactivity through the process of hydrolysis (the breakdown of protein molecules into small particles, so they are almost completely devoid of allergenic properties).
unsaturated fats. Obtained by replacing animal fat with vegetable fat, which corresponds to the composition of breast milk. Also in the dry mixture there are polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are an integral part of the cells of the brain and retina of the child’s eyes.
Prebiotics. They are also oligosaccharides – carbohydrate components, are active in the gastrointestinal tract by regulating digestion and strengthening the immune system. In addition, prebiotics are involved in brain maturation, support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, and inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
Carbohydrates. The main source of carbohydrates in milk is lactose. Lactose has a positive effect on gastric motility and promotes the absorption of calcium, phosphorus and zinc. About 50% of a child’s energy needs come from lactose. In lactose-free formulas, the source of carbohydrates is maltodextrin, which is obtained from processed corn or rice starch.
Probiotics. They improve the condition of the intestinal microflora, minimize the risk of food allergies, regulate digestion and participate in the production of vitamins.
Microelements.The amount of sodium and potassium in the milk mixture is reduced, because. the immature gastrointestinal tract is unable to process large amounts of these substances. The content of iron in milk mixtures is slightly increased due to its low absorption. Iron from breast milk is absorbed by 50%, from artificial milk by only 10%. It is for this reason that most formula-fed babies are diagnosed with anemia at 3-5 months of age. This is another reason to introduce complementary foods early, as iron deficiency has a negative impact on mental development and can lead to stunted growth. Calcium is essential for the proper formation of bones and teeth, while iodine promotes growth and is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. As part of the milk mixture, the norm of iodine, like iron, is exceeded due to low absorption by the body.
Nucleotides. They are a basic structural element of DNA and an important building block, they have a positive effect on the development of the digestive system and support the proper functioning of the immune system.
Vitamins. Vitamin A maintains the normal condition of the skin, hair and nails, plays an essential role in receiving visual stimuli to the retina, and its excess can cause headache, nausea, loss of appetite and diarrhea. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that prevents infections and tumors, facilitates the absorption of iron. Vitamin E helps the nervous system and blood formation to function normally, and D contributes to the growth and strengthening of bones, its deficiency prevents the absorption of calcium.
Other supplements. The composition of the milk mixture includes taurine, choline and L-carnitine. Taurine supports the development of the brain, the functioning of the nervous system and muscles. L-carnitine is responsible for the transport of fatty acids and some vitamins. Choline has a beneficial effect on the nervous system. Also in the composition you can find:
- soy lecithin – acts as an emulsifier, the child’s body uses this compound as an additional source of choline
- folic acid – chemical form B9
- copper sulfate – a source of copper, an activator of many enzymes
- d-biotin – chemical form B7
- cyanocobalamin – chemical form of B12
- thiamine hydrochloride – chemical form B1
- cholecalciferol is the chemical form of vitamin D
- pyridoxine hydrochloride – chemical form B6
- potassium iodide – a source of iodine necessary for the synthesis of thyroid hormones
- sodium selenite – a source of selenium
- Phytomenadione is the chemical form of vitamin K.
- riboflavin – chemical form B2
- L-ascorbic acid, sodium L-ascorbate – two chemical forms of vitamin C
- magnesium chloride – a source of magnesium, which is necessary for the proper functioning of many metabolic processes
- calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate – a mineral source of calcium.
How to choose milk formula
The problem is that young parents do not know what to look for when choosing a mixture. The choice is so great that you can ask endless questions, but the most important of them is what will suit our baby. In this regard, it would be wise to choose a formula together with a pediatrician who, having collected complete information about the child’s health, would recommend the right choice.
However, sometimes you have to make a choice without the help of a specialist. The first thing to do is pay attention to age and health. Among the stores presented on the shelves, you can find an adapted mixture for premature babies, for crumbs with an allergy to cow’s milk, or very active babies that require large energy resources.
To assist in the selection, below is an explanation of the abbreviations present in the name of the mixture:
1 – for example, Nan1 – milk is intended for healthy babies from birth to 6 months.
2 – for children on mixed feeding and babies from 6 months.
3 – milk for children over 9 months old.
Junior – for example, Nestle Junior – for children from 1 to 3 years old.
AR – for example, Bebilon AR – reflux reducing milk. Frequent regurgitation may be due to the immaturity of the gastrointestinal tract, in order to prevent regurgitation or at least reduce its frequency, manufacturers add thickeners, such as potato starch.
Pre – intended for premature babies and those with low birth weight. The mixture is fully adapted to the specific needs of this group.
HA is a hypoallergenic milk formula. The milk protein in the mixture undergoes a special treatment that reduces its allergenic properties.
Sensitive – milk created for crumbs suffering from colic and excessive gas formation. Manufacturers grind cow’s milk particles so that it is easier for the digestive system to absorb.
Comfort – the composition of the milk formula is characterized by a reduced content of lactose, which makes it easy for a young body to process, reduces the occurrence of constipation and colic.
Pro – the composition of milk is enriched with special additives – probiotics, as well as iron, iodine and calcium. The mixture is recommended during and after antibiotic treatment.
R – contains a rice supplement that takes longer to digest than a mixture without it. Milk is great for active babies and for “cure” diarrhea.
There is also a composition of infant formula that completely excludes animal protein – a mixture based on vegetable protein. Soy milk formula does not contain lactose, protein and fructose, therefore it is recommended for babies with allergies to these components.
Whatever choice you make, you can not be afraid for the health of the baby – all food on the market meets the standards in accordance with the European Union regulation and its production is strictly controlled.