The age-old debate rages on, centuries past its expiration date: should we all be breastfeeding our children exclusively? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the first six months of a baby’s development be as formula-free as possible. But statistics show that in a society of single-mothers or dual-income households, laboring under an economy that is not especially maternally friendly, most of the population falls short of this golden standard. As of data collected in 2011, roughly 40 percent of infants were breastfed up to three months, and only 20 percent up to six months. Factors besides time and availability also affect the likeliness of needing to supplement with formula; not everybody comes stocked with an abundant supply of natural milk for the baby. The good news is, the modern-day market provides some quality alternatives. While many still argue that nothing can rival a mother’s breast milk (and, in fairness, this is how she passes on antibodies to strengthen her baby’s immune system), the formula has come a long way in providing the necessary nutrients for healthy, thriving babies. Here are our top ten picks for modern-day mommies who are looking for nutritionally dense formulas to supplement their breastfeeding regimens.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Earth's Best Organic Infant Powder
- With Omega Fatty Acids
- Similac Advance Infant Formula
- Enriched with OptiGro Complex
- Enfamil Nutramigen Infant Powder
- Promotes Healthy Gut Flora
We will be sharing with you an in-depth presentation of the differences among the various baby formula brands. Hopefully, this will help you decide on which baby milk preparation you think will be best for your baby.
Criteria Used in Evaluation of The Best Baby Formulas
In weighing out most of the pros and the cons, we always had to take into consideration the scientific data that goes behind many of the claims that are made! What specific nutrient does what inside the body of your child? How many seemingly good ingredients are possibly bad or simply a benign placebo? It’s important to go back to the drawing board in some these instances to make an informed decision and present the best possible information out there to the consumer! Unfortunately for us, that may mean taking a crash course in Organic Chemistry! But, that’s our job and what we’re here for! It’s to help you make the best decision for the health of your baby.
Going further into this, we came to understand a nutrient known as Inositol. This is a vital ingredient in breast milk that promotes healthy gene expression and reinforces the skeletal system of a newborn; it also regulates internal organ function, such as the regulation of insulin. Then, we did our homework on Choline where the jury is out! The results are inconclusive on whether there is any beneficial effect that this nutrient has in supplementation. And, the last to be weighed is Soy! There are differing opinions on Soy. Some say that it is a good substitute; others of the opinion that it’s terrible when it comes to maintaining a healthy hormonal balance.
The debate on formula versus human breastmilk has been an interesting one for the past 40-50 years! It’s definitely a marker of a great cultural shift and change! Similac, produced by Abbott Labs has been around just as long and is considered the Titan of infant formulas — just like what Gerber is to Baby Food! With the rise of more women in the workforce, or just more women who make themselves busier than the women of the past, it has become a relevant debate. Pediatricians tell one story, holistic doctors another! Then, there are midwives who come into the forum, expert moms. And, sometimes bloggers who don’t even have a clue! Our research simply stuck to the facts on the paper or the screen. It’s gone through the filter of experience from reviewers, placed side-by-side with the data accumulated from manufacturer sites, and even some sociological studies. We can’t say that there’s anything that beat Nature’s Way when it comes to the overall health and wellbeing of your infant. What we can be certain of is the best alternatives available to you!
What Determined the Top Infant Milk Formulations in Our List
We are not nutritionists. Neither are we experts in the field of child’s nutrition. However, it is our passion and commitment to serve Moms and Dads out there to become better parents for their children that have motivated us to conduct a research into the top 10 instant milk preparations for infants or babies this 2018. It was a tough one but we were able to come up with a shortlist. And here’s how we did it.
First, we had to read a lot about infant nutrition and the best baby formula comparison is that of breast milk. We strongly believe in the fact that breast milk contains all the right nutrients and in the correct amounts especially geared for babies’ optimum development. We had to make sure that the nutrients found in breast milk are the standards to which the different baby formula brands have to be measured against. So, the closer the nutritional profile of the infant nutritional product to breast milk, the better are its chances of getting included in our top 10 list. Moreover, if there are additional nutrients that are not found in human breast milk, we had to study these ingredients and determine if they provide a significant developmental benefit to infants. If so, then these are also factored in. For example, soy formula will have a slightly different nutrient profile from cow’s milk although both are instant formula preparations. These examples of baby milk nutrient formulations will have a slightly healthier advantage to certain babies.
Next, we had to look at the company that manufactures these infant milk nutritional products. Some are well-known in child and infant nutrition while others are just beginning in this industry. We had to look at the manufacturing practices of these companies and whether their facilities have the necessary and appropriate certifications for producing nutritional products for babies.
Unfortunately, we cannot rely on customer feedback simply because, like us, their knowledge about infant nutrition and making baby formula comparison may be limited or perhaps even flawed. Our search for the top 10 baby milk brands has been one of the most objective researches we have ever undertaken. Nevertheless, we did it.
Breast Milk is Best for Babies, But…
As we have already said earlier, nothing beats the benefits children can derive from natural milk from Mom. Breast milk is well-known to:
- Provide young kids with the perfect and ideal mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats including vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy growth and development;
- Provide a form of nutrition that is easily digested so it’s friendly to your baby’s tummy;
- Contain maternal antibodies that help to protect children against certain bacteria and viruses that commonly infect children of young age;
- Lower the risk of allergies as well as asthma by strengthening the immune system’s ability to distinguish harmful substances from the not; and
- Lower the incidence of ear infections, diarrhea, and respiratory infections including colds and flu.
Moreover, breastfeeding has been documented to:
- Help improve the cognitive abilities of children, as measured by their IQ test scores;
- Help provide babies the sense of emotional security through the physical, skin-to-skin, and meaningful eye contact that occurs during breastfeeding; and
- Help ensure progressive and healthy weight gain of infants while also preventing the likelihood of obesity in the future.
Clearly, there are a lot of benefits to breastfeeding. However, not every Mommy can and should breastfeed. The following Mommies should never breastfeed their babies.
- Those who have been diagnosed with AIDS or are considered to be HIV-positive
- Those who have active as well as untreated tuberculosis
- Those who are receiving medications or treatment for cancer
- Those who are taking certain drugs used in the management or treatment of arthritis, migraine headaches, and/or Parkinson’s disease
- Those who are using illicit or illegal addicting substances such as heroin, marijuana, or cocaine
- Those who have babies who are diagnosed with galactosemia
Among mothers who cannot breastfeed because of certain conditions that prevent them from doing so, it can be an emotional burden. Moms only want the best for their children and everyone knows that breast milk is the best nutrition for children especially in the first 6 months of life. So, if they cannot breastfeed it can be particularly devastating. For mommies who are in this predicament, they can do the following to help them get over the fact that they cannot breastfeed.
- Don’t blame yourself for your inability to breastfeed. Situations like this happen a lot even to people who are deemed healthy. It is ok to be sad or even be mad but it should never take the energy off your task of caring for your baby. Remember, if you dwell on the negative emotion for so long, you might end up neglecting your infant.
- Take time to talk to a lactation expert about your feelings. They can provide you with additional tips on what you can do. Don’t underestimate the value of your spouse’s support or even your family’s assistance and your friends’ listening ears.
- Would you want to consider donated breast milk? There are milk banks throughout the nation that provides Moms with the breast milk they need to feed their kids even though, technically, the milk came from another Mom. You can talk to your baby’s pediatrician if it’s possible for you to use donated milk on your baby.
The Bottom Line
Infant nutrition is crucial to ensuring optimum child development. Breast milk provides the most complete nutrition for babies. Unfortunately, not everyone can or like to breastfeed. As such, our list of the top 10 infant milk formulations should be of great use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is Soy one of the better alternatives?
A: While there is some research that promotes soy for adults with high blood pressure and cholesterol, there is also some research that states how soy throws off adult hormonal balance as people approach middle-age with even trace amounts of soy in their diet! Now, it can also be seen as a good protein substitute. When it comes to babies soy can be a major contributing factor in causing food allergies and decreasing immunity in an infant. It also neutralizes the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the system. This contributes to a lower IQ. Hormonally, it can possibly cause a lifetime imbalance beyond repair in both boys and girls.
Q: What is Optigro?
A: Optigro is a systematic formulation developed by Similac that combines DHA, Lutein and Vitamin E. It’s promoted to support eye and brain development, as well as growth, immunity and the ability to the thrive. It’s been reported to be in conjunction with 30 other beneficial nutrients, one of which is Nucleotidic acid. Since most of the formulas in our list are used as a treatment or preventative to colic, the Similac Optigro system, also has a proprietary blend of prebiotics for healthy digestive development.
Q: Why aren’t all formulas Non-Gmo?
A: You might have to ask the FDA about that! Simply, the jury is still out when it comes to the official research on GMOs. At this point in the conversation, scientists and corporations are still trying to find the benefits of GMO use for greater production without it being harmful or detrimental to the population or environment. It really is a toss of the dice! But, with more people becoming aware, many businesses are now sensitive to this need for at least a Non-Gmo option! If there’s a greater demand for more all-natural products, then eventually it won’t even be a question of labeling.
Q: How important is it to have a lower lactose base product to promote immunity in the future?
A: Quite a few of these formulas are used to ease the symptoms of a colicy baby. An infant has an underdeveloped digestive tract and has a hard time breaking down many of the acids and proteins that a child or an adult obviously can. With a lower lactose based formula, we can introduce and provide trace amounts of the bacteria that a child will need to have a healthier and stronger immunity to lactose in the future. This will prevent dairy and environmental allergies, as well as a possible gluten intolerance.
Q: What’s the difference between DHA and healthy fat for your baby?
A: I understand the question! Many of these formulas promote carrying DHA while being non-fat! We all know that most cholestorols and high fat foods already contain DHA naturally! These formulas are meant to be substitutes or supplements to the naturally occurring source of DHA and Omega-3. Ideally, an infant should be continually feeding on its mother for all of the nutrients and “healthy” fats that will allow for proper development. One very good benefit is that some of these formulas are all-milk based so there is at least some highly-soluble, naturally occuring, amounts of DHA that are inherently present.
Q: What is a hydrolysate protein formula? Is it safe?
A: These formulas contain proteins that have been hydrolyzed (or broken down). The proteins in cow’s milk and soy-based formulas are sometimes still too big for sensitive little stomachs. When baby’s digestive tract isn’t able to fully process the nutrition it’s receiving, you get gassy, fussy little ones. No one wants to watch their child suffer through a stomach ache or any kind of discomfort. Formulas with hydrolyzed proteins are best for infants that don’t tolerate cow’s milk, soy-based formulas, or have a protein allergy. For children who simply have trouble tolerating lactose or animal products, soy-based formulas are a promising alternative. Cow’s milk formulas are usually the first stop as they are the least processed and closest to a mother’s breast milk. But if your little one is having trouble digesting this, soy and hydrolyzed formulas may give the whole family some relief.
Q: Is it appropriate to continue with formula after 12 months?
A: You can, but it’s not really necessary! The first six months of a baby’s life are the most crucial for development! This is when everything is still being solidified in his or her system, so to speak! Past that period, you will be pretty much over the hurdle when it comes to most major developmental challenges. After the twelve month marker, it will just be a matter of direct continuity to the process of thriving, emotional wellbeing and development.
- Inositol, Wikipedia Page, ,
- Only Similac has OptiGRO, our unique blend of DHA, Lutein and Vitamin E., About Page, ,
- 3Comparing Infant Formulas with Human Milk, Informative Article, ,
- Soy protein, Wikipedia Page, ,
- Consumer Research on Infant Formula and Infant Feeding, FDA Informative Article, ,