You just gave birth, and you are ready to lose all that baby fat, as well as make some healthy life changes in your diet to ensure those pounds melt away quickly. Perhaps you gave birth months ago and still haven’t fully recovered. For many moms, thinking about getting back into shape after birth is a very important topic, because we want to be healthy for our children that we are now raising.
But what about making sure our children are being healthy too? If you are breastfeeding, you are able to offer the most amazing nutrition to your baby. For many moms, breastfeeding is not an option for medical reasons, work-related reasons, etc. Other moms can breastfeed, but they need to supplement as well. So how do these moms look out for their baby’s health? The solution seems simple, find the healthiest baby formula they can for nourishing their baby; unfortunately, the search for this healthy formula can be stressful. We are here to help you with just that!
Think about your baby’s needs
If you walk down the formula aisle at your local grocery store, you will notice there are a plethora of options. You might notice that each brand has multiple versions based on the baby, like sensitive, gas, acid reflux, or lactose-free, etc. There is no one-size-fits-all for baby formula, because babies are still developing their digestive systems and they do this all at different rates. Plus, our genetics make us have different sensitivities to foods as well.
As a parent, we can’t ask our baby how do you feel when you drink this bottle? We have to guess based on how they react, and then adjust from there. The best thing a parent can do is give their baby the cleanest, healthiest formula to start with – as this usually eliminates many of the problems a baby’s digestive system encounters. If you are already giving them the cleanest formula, this is when you have to consider alternative sensitive options such as those mentioned above. Bottom line: never start giving your baby sensitive options first.
Examine the Ingredients
As mentioned before, if you are trying to get healthy yourself, you know that the nutrition is key to your success. The same principle applies to choosing baby formula. If you don’t know what the ingredients are in the formula, research them – just like you would do for yourself.
Something else to consider is that babies need to avoid certain ingredients that adults can easily process. Just because it is placed inside the baby formula and approved for sale on the shelves doesn’t mean that it is okay for your baby to consume. Think about the many products that are sold to us that are unhealthy – chips, candy, sodas, etc. You might ask, since these are baby products, surely there are regulations and such in place to keep manufacturers from harming the baby. This may be the case in other countries, but in the US the FDA has very lax regulations concerning baby products. Turn on the news and you will see all sorts of reports of toxic ingredients found in the top baby products.
Without further ado, here are some of the ingredients you might want to research further and avoid in your baby’s formula:
- Sugar (also labeled as high fructose corn syrup, glucose syrup solids)
- Artificial ingredients (such as artificial DHA, etc)
This list is small, but a start for your research. You will notice it doesn’t take much research to find plenty of articles about the aforementioned ingredients and the harmful effects towards your baby.
So which ingredients should you look for in a healthy formula? Here are our suggestions:
- Lactose-based (usually one of the first ingredients, and a natural sugar for your baby)
- Natural DHA/ARA – from algae oil or extracted in a process where no hexane remains
- Prebiotics/Probiotics – not necessary for every baby, but a nice plus for helping digestion. Make sure these are natural as well. Prebiotics obtained from whole milk are amazing!
- Milk Fat Globule Membrane (MFGM) – Not lab created. Whole milk formulas, such as Kendamil, obtain this naturally. It’s not a necessary ingredient, just a plus because it helps with your baby’s immune system.
As you can see, these ingredients are also a starting point. You want to think about the nutritional needs of your baby at the stage they are in and with the sensitivities they have.
Consider the Environment
Many of the latest news reports about toxins in baby products are because the environment the ingredients were obtained from wasn’t clean. How do you ensure a clean environment? Parents will choose organic options for their babies to guarantee the environment is free from the toxins and the product free from chemicals. This is a great start, but did you know there is a difference in place of origin for the organic ingredients as well?
For example, in Europe, they consider the entire environment surrounding their organic farms. This means cross-contamination from chemicals used in non-organic farms is eliminated. This type of precaution is not necessary for US standards.
Furthermore, the land that cows/goats are allowed to graze on is vast and lush, providing the healthiest nutrients to the animals producing the milk. They also take animal treatment into consideration, which means no harmful or cruelty is allowed, such as de-horning. These animals are typically from smaller family farms, that truly love and care for them. This means they don’t get sick as often as the cows in America and they need less antibiotics to fight sickness. Since cows are allowed to receive antibiotics when they are sick and still have their milk considered organic, you want to ensure the cows have less opportunity for sickness so no amount of antibiotics will pass into the milk.
You won’t know what exactly your baby thrives best on without a little bit of research. Pay attention to your baby and start with the basic blend of healthiest ingredients. If your baby has reactions, switch to a healthy alternative such as European baby formula options. For babies that can’t digest cow’s milk well, goat’s milk is a great alternative..
At the end of your individual research, bring your concerns to your pediatrician and make a plan that works best for your baby. Lastly, don’t stress too much about this! Your baby needs you to stay healthy in your mind as well, which means staying calm and finding a support group of other parents to help you on this journey as well. We hope you have enjoyed our article and that we have given you a starting point!