When it comes to infant feeding, there are a lot of options to choose from. While pediatricians always recommended breastfeeding as the best option, high-quality infant formula is equally nutritious. If you are considering starting your child on infant formula, you may be wondering what brand is best, or even if there is a difference between different types of formula.
There are many different types and brands of formula, however, let’s delve into cow’s milk formula specifically. Cow milk formula is the most common and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for infants who are not breastfed.
Why Can’t I Feed My Infant Regular Cow Milk?
A lot of parents often wonder why specialized infant formula is better than regular cow milk. This is a great question and the simple answer is that infants are unable to easily or completely digest cow’s milk. The formula is broken down into smaller compounds that little digestive systems can tolerate, and that is closer to how breast milk is formulated.
Cow’s milk also has a high concentration of minerals and proteins. While this may sound like a good thing, infants’ kidneys are not mature enough to process these yet. Cow’s milk proteins and minerals can actually cause fever, heat stress, diarrhea, and other illness in infants. Infant formula has a carefully measured concentration of vitamin C, iron, and other nutrients babies need to survive. Cow milk, on the other hand, is lacking these essential nutrients.
Some babies may become anemic if given cow milk too early. The proteins in the milk can cause irritation in the lining of the intestine and stomach. This may cause blood in the stools which further leads to infant iron-deficiency. It is important not to feed your infant regular cow milk until they are at least 12 months old.
What Is Cow’s Milk Formula?
Cow milk formula is a specially formulated drink for infants intended to provide nutrition and comfort that is as close to mothers’ milk as possible. Cow milk infant formula is created using the proteins from cow milk, but it is broken down further so that infants’ immature systems can digest it. Due to the high levels of sodium, protein, and potassium that pure cow’s milk contains, it must be formulated and broken down in order for infants to be able to consume it safely.
Of all types of infant formula, those made from cow milk are the closest in similarity to breast milk. According to the AAP, it has a good balance of healthy fat, carbohydrates, and milk proteins. Cow milk infant formula can be found in powder form that requires water to be added prior to consumption, or in readymade form. High-quality organic cow milk formula from Europe not only offers a perfect nutrition profile for infant health, but it is also free from harmful GMO’s and other common irritants.
How Do I Know If Cow Milk Formula Is Best For My Child?
Most infants tolerate cow milk formula with no issues, others may fare better on a different type. Spitting up is normal for infants regardless of what type of formula they consume. Periodic regurgitation should not cause an automatic switch to a different type of formula. A certain percentage of the popular is allergic to cow milk, so it is important to pay close attention to how your baby reacts during meals. This can happen to infants breastfed and those who are only formula-fed in equal measure. Most children, but not all, will outgrow their infant milk allergy as they grow older.
Some signs of infant sensitivity or allergy to cow milk formula are:
- Lack of weight gain
- Swelling of mouth and throat
- Frequent spitting up
- Coughing or wheezing
- Watery eyes and stuffy nose
- Blood in the stool
- Crying and irritability after feedings
- A scaly skin rash
- Trouble breathing
Keep in mind that an allergic reaction to milk is not the same as lactose intolerance. Infants who are intolerant of lactose are unable to digest the natural sugars cow milk and in some cases, breast milk. An allergy, on the other hand, is a medical condition that can result in severe complications or even death.
What Is Added To Cow Milk Formula?
Cow’s milk-based formulas are more than simply cow’s milk broken down to make it safe for infants to drink. The milk itself is dramatically altered with heat and other methods that make the cow milk protein more digestible for infants. Additional lactose is added to infant formula to bring the concentration equal to the amount found in natural breast milk. The butterfat from cow milk is also removed during the formulation process and replaces with other healthy fats that infants are able to digest. Healthy fats that boost infant growth are also added to infant formula.
Cow’s milk formulas also have extra iron included. If you look at the front of most packaging, you will see the label stating that it is iron-fortified. A larger percentage of infants lack the proper stores of iron which is essential for active development. Cow milk formulas that are fortified help to reduce the chances of developing infant iron-deficiency anemia. Many European brands, especially HiPP Dutch brand infant formula go the extra mile by fortifying cow milk infant formula with probiotics and pre-biotics. These beneficial bacteria encourage a healthy gut from birth onward.
What To Look For In A Good Cow Milk Infant Formula
The majority of cow milk-based infant formulas have been created in such a way that they closely resemble breast milk. That being said, not all cow milk infant formulas carry the same formulation or even the same ingredients aside from cow milk proteins.
There has been a bigger focus on clean eating, organic eating, and sustainable living in recent years. It makes sense that you would also want to include your infant in these healthy habits. Look for infant formula made from organic and free-range cow milk. It is also a good idea to choose a formula that avoids the use of GMOs, and also one that doesn’t use excess sugars and fillers. Always buy fortified cow milk infant formula for children aged newborn to 12 months to ensure they are getting a well-balanced cow infant formula to meet their developmental needs.
Healthy Feeding With Mommy Formula
Here at Mommy Formula, we care about the health of your child. If you have any questions regarding our European infant formulas or any of our cow milk-based formulas, we are happy to help. Leave us a comment down below, or reach out to our customer service via email for more information.