Baby formula, baby food or simply baby food or first milk or formula, baby formula is a commercially produced food intended for feeding babies and young infants below 12 months old, generally prepared from powder or paste for oral consumption or bottle-feeding, either by powder or liquid, and meant for infants and toddlers who do not have developed any specific milk-to-wheat or cow’s milk-to-moisturizing tastes. There are four main types of commercially available baby formula: ready-to-eat ready-to-serve (RTR), ready-to-fill, concentrated ready-to-serve (CFS) and ready to boil (RCB). In addition, there are several other varieties like organic, hypoallergenic, and NutraSweet. Usually, the formula is mixed with other ingredients such as breast or bottle milk; sometimes with cereals, fruits, or vegetables; and sometimes with juices of fruits and vegetables, although these usually lose their taste after some time. Most baby formula is colorless, odorless, and tasteless.
RTR or “ready to drink” formula is generally produced on the same process as adult formula. Concentrated ready to drink or RCF is heated to intensify the sugar and flavor, and then passed through a cold pressing process to make it more concentrated. Some baby formulas are still being processed using the old-fashioned, manual milling method, which uses a roller mill and pressurized air to press the powder into tiny alphahydragms, which are then mixed with water, oil, and other ingredients. Today, most formulas are heated in a commercial centrifuge and pass through a series of temperature and pH checks to ensure their potency and safety. The water used in these processes contains minimal amounts of vitamins, carbohydrates, calcium, and protein.
Ready to serve (RTS) or “breastfeeding” formula is a more expensive product than typical baby formula, due to its higher cost of production. It is generally considered by many to be a high quality alternative to breast milk. This is generally made by supplement companies and may contain various preservatives, fats, and artificial coloring. Due to the fact that it takes longer for baby to gain full use of the formula, it is often prescribed for new mothers who breastfeed, to help them meet the recommended feeding times for baby.
Complete and varied nourishment is vital to healthy babies, and most formulas are formulated to provide an adequate number of vitamins and minerals, together with a variety of nutrients necessary for the development of infants. Because babies can only absorb so much of the nutrients in breast milk protein, formula is often added to formulas to help babies receive the right amounts of formula at different stages of their development. Breast milk protein contains casein, which the body does not synthesize, and infants cannot develop adequate enzymes to digest it.
Babies that are exclusively breastfed may be consuming formula for weeks, months or even years. However, researchers have discovered that babies that are receiving the proper nutrition from a combination of breast milk and formula are healthier, more likely to develop certain health problems, and they tend to grow up with a higher IQ than infants that are not receiving any form of nutritional support. The majority of pediatricians recommend that infants should begin eating solid foods when they reach four months of age. At this point, doctors usually discourage the practice of giving breast milk or formula to young children.
The lack of research into the nutritional needs of baby formula babies has led to many parents using store bought formulas, which can prove unhealthy over time. These formulas tend to provide little in the way of nutritional support, and babies in these situations do not receive the needed vitamins, minerals, or the proteins needed for the growth of their bodies. Some studies have indicated that babies fed infant formula based on store bought brands may have a lower IQ than those that were provided with formula milk formulas. Fortunately, there are a number of trusted brands available in the market that provide adequate nutritional support for baby formula babies.