Lactose-free formulas or those based on cow's milk, soy, casein hydrolyzate or whey proteins, or even transitional formulas… Which one to choose?
Given the multitude of infant formulas available in grocery stores and pharmacies, how do you choose the right one for your child? Extenso helps you find your way…
Breastfeeding is the best form of infant feeding. However, for a baby who is not or only partially breastfed, commercial infant formula is the best milk replacer until the age of 9 to 12 months. Indeed, they provide the child with the energy and nutrients necessary for growth and proper development.
1. For a he althy term baby
Cow's milk protein formulas are suitable for the majority of he althy, full-term infants who do not have any family members with allergies.
Iron content varies with different preparations. Offer your baby iron-fortified formulas from birth. Iron deficiency can, in the long term, causesequelae in the development of the child.
2. When baby is strict vegetarian
Soy-based infant formulas are indicated for babies from strict vegetarian families or for infants with galactosemia.
If your baby has a cow's milk protein allergy, soy formula may not be the best choice. Some babies can also develop an intolerance to soy.
In Canada, all soy formulas are fortified with iron. Beware of soy drinks and other vegetable drinks sold for adults! Whether fortified or not, their calorie, calcium and vitamin D content is insufficient to meet the needs of children under 2 years of age and to ensure their normal growth.
3. For the lactose intolerant
If your baby is lactose intolerant, choose a lactose-free formula made from cow's milk protein. These preparations may also be useful in the case of acute enteritis, diarrhea, bowel disease or Crohn's disease.
4. Allergic to cow's milk protein?
If your baby is at risk of developing allergies because one or more family members have allergies, then whey hydrolyzate preparations are preferred.
On the other hand, if your baby has a confirmed allergy to cow's milk proteins, offer him hydrolyzate preparations instead.casein.
5. And baby grows…
At 4 to 6 months of age, it's time to think about introducing solid foods into your child's diet to meet their increased energy and nutrient needs.
Since cow's milk is not recommended for infants under 9-12 months, pharmaceutical companies have released transitional formulas that provide more nutrients and energy.
But these transition preparations are not mandatory. And although they are more advantageous than cow's milk, their superiority compared to the initial preparations has not been demonstrated.
Pasteurized whole cow's milk (3.25% m.f.) can be given to babies from 9 months to two years of age. Thereafter, partially skimmed milk may be given to children two years and older.