Breast milk needless to say will be the absolute best milk for your baby during the first one or 2 yrs but if this is not possible there are other alternatives; but which one do you pick?
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 has revealed these are certainly not the best options for babies and could even do harm.
Today during 2010, we have been fortunate enough to have infant formula which has been researched, modified and tested and continues to be researched to offer milk nearest to living breast milk. It is commercially synthesised therefore it can never reach the premium standard of natural breast milk but at the very least it has to be better than what our ancestors used.
Until age one year a baby requires an infant formula for optimum digestion and nutrients.
There are many types and brands of milks listed underneath 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 not a food substitute. ‘Progress’ (2) formulas have added iron and nutrients for increased growth and development requirements however if the ‘starter’ formula is better tolerated after 6 months and solid food has become introduced then it is not absolutely necessary to use.
Cow’s milk based infant formula – This can be commercially modified cow’s milk to resemble breast milk and it is ideal for most babies. It is not suitable when babies use a cow milk protein allergy, lactose intolerance or have parents who would like to steer clear of animal based foods. Some milks have now been further enhanced with added docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) Omega – 3 essential 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 all the protein similar to cow’s milk but forms a softer non clustered curd. These facts can make goat milk formula simpler to digest for a few babies. It really is more rapidly digested therefore can be helpful for any baby with reflux.
Soy based infant formula – This milk is commercially created from the soya beans that have similar protein content to cow’s milk. It includes lactose. During processing the protein is isolated without its cofactors needed for digestion and metabolic process therefore is not a great choice for babies.
Lactose free infant formula (LF)- This milk is normally cow milk based and has no lactose. This formula may help babies who suffer 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 for babies who may have difficulty keeping milk down. Depending on the thickening agent used this milk may not appropriate for babies that are lactose or wheat intolerant.
Protein modified cow milk infant formula (HA)- Within this milk the cow milk protein has been broken down to really make it easier for babies to digest and is also an alternate milk for babies who have a primary probability of dairy allergy. Do not use when a baby was already subjected to dairy through breast milk or another formula.
Protein free infant formula – An extensively hydrolysed 100% pure whey protein specialty formula for babies using a diagnosed dairy protein or soy allergy. Medical supervision is required for babies about this formula as well as 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 twelve months the gut of the baby is mature enough to succeed onto cow’s milk or even an alternative such as rice milk, oat milk, soy milk, goat milk or toddler milk. These milks are not natural or organic but deciding on a what type to make use of is yours. Babies require full fat milk until at the very least 2 years old.
Goat milk includes a similar protein in a comparable quantity to cow’s milk but forms a softer, non clustered curd and contains slightly less lactose, possibly making it easier to digest. It is actually more rapidly digested, therefore may be helpful for the infant with reflux or frequent positing. It is usually not tolerated by individuals who have a cow milk protein allergy.
Cow milk is a nutrient dense food when ingested in the raw organic form (breast milk or unpasteurised milk) however minerals and vitamins are lost today with the pasteurisation and homogenisation process (heating it to make it better for all of us!) There is also a difference in milk made out of relaxed cows grazing in open fields of grasses and flowers to your mass produced commercially fed cow located in overcrowded cement floor stalls. Milk just will not be exactly the same milk as years past. Lactose free cow’s milk is also available.
Soya milk is manufactured out of soya beans and has the equivalent quantity of protein to cow’s milk it is therefore not tolerated if allergic to cow milk protein. Research indicates that processed soy can prevent the absorption of essential minerals and vitamins like calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. The commercial processing involved in isolating the protein in soya beans leaves the natural digestive and metabolism cofactors, deeming soya milk often challenging to digest.
Rice milk is made of brown rice, has no lactose and is usually fortified with nutritional vitamins, and is also higher in carbohydrate and lower in protein and calcium. A suitable milk alternative when cow, goat and soy milks have to be avoided.
Oat milk is manufactured out of whole oats which makes it higher in fibre than other milks. It will always be calcium fortified and naturally sweet.
Toddler milk is marketed for toddlers 12 months to three years. Yes, it contains added nutrients and iron but when a toddler’s diet is adequate this milk is unnecessary. It can be useful to get a poor eater as it increases iron drsdus their diet which will improve their appetite as well as supplying a well-balanced quantity of nutrients. Do not give a lot more than the desired milk intake because it is NOT a substitute to food.