Unfortunately, there is no correct baby formula for everyone; it all depends on your baby’s needs and what they prefer or like in the end. We understand how this can be puzzling for parents; that is why we are here to help you every step of the way. One of the most intriguing options you can notice in baby formulas is the iron-fortified or low iron content baby formulas.
There are misconceptions where parents tend to do away with iron-fortified formulas because their babies are experiencing constipation, stomach pains, and even colic, and they are blaming it on the iron. However, that is not true, there are countless reasons why your baby experiences these symptoms, and definitely, it is not due to iron in their milk.
Iron is required for proper growth and nutrition. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all babies are better when they consume iron-fortified formulas in place of breast milk. If you want to more about iron in baby formulas, then read on.
Do babies need iron-fortified formula?
Let us be direct to the point, your babies need iron, and it is vital for their overall growth and development. Additionally, baby formulas without iron are not recommended and appropriate for most infants out there. There has been a misconception, and it was even thought initially that low-iron is the best for babies; however, it was proven false. Healthy babies typically need an iron-fortified formula to get the same amount that they should be getting if they are being breastfed. Breast milk is the best source of nutrients for babies, and they have the most absorbable iron among all kinds of milk. But, we understand how some babies can not be breastfed, and to help them achieve the same thing, if they take has breast milk, they should be getting iron-fortified formula since a formula with little to no iron will not suffice.
There may be instances and conditions where your babies will need to have low-iron formula milk, but that does not mean that they do not need iron. They still do need to acquire iron from different sources such as vitamins or baby food.
Why does my baby need a baby formula with iron?
It has been repeatedly mentioned, and I will repeat that iron is essential for babies. Iron plays a critical role in the growth of your children and the development of the brain and functions of the blood. The lack of iron in children often results in iron deficiency anemia. IDA or iron deficiency anemia happens where not enough oxygen circulates in the bloodstream, affecting the other organs in the body. If your babies suffer from IDA, they usually experience too much tiredness, rapid heartbeat, pale skin, loss of appetite, and a swollen tongue. No parents would want their babies to experiences to kinds of symptoms. That is why it is best if you give your little one some iron-fortified stuff right there.
Milk alternatives: Can you use them as a baby formula substitute?
With the ever-evolving needs of every human being, the market has also made its way to come up with a variety of non-dairy commercial milk alternatives that can be readily available to consumers today. However, you need to know that these milk alternatives cannot wholly replace baby formula. These milk alternatives are indeed very healthy, but they do not contain all the nutrients that baby formula can offer and required for the healthy development of your babies. You will be able to use these milk alternatives in combination with good formula milk or breast milk.
Goat milk is very popular and often used as a substitute for cow’s milk when your little kids are getting ready to transition from baby formula. Goat milk has a good amount of protein, healthy fat, and micronutrients since it is suitable to be consumed by younger kids. Goat milk should not be given to babies or any child below a year old since babies might have difficulty digesting large proteins in goat milk. Also, remember only to give your child pasteurized goat milk.
Soy milk is made from soybeans and is very rich in protein, and has a very close composition similar to cow’s milk. This is great for children who cannot tolerate dairy but when choosing one, make sure that you get the fortified soy milk so that it can contain all of the essential vitamins and minerals for your little ones. Soy milk also has a good amount of protein content.
This is one of the oldest and the original plant-based kinds of milk that has surfaced and consumed by children. Rice milk is typically made from rice and water and is low in calories and proteins. However, it is a good source of calcium and boasts a variety of other micronutrients. But this type of milk is not generally recommended for children.
Almond milk is made from almonds and water and is suitable for babies who can not consume dairy products. However, you have to be careful not to give this milk to babies who are allergic to tree nuts. Almond milk is mildly flavored as well, so this would be great for picky eaters.
Coconut milk can be bought in two forms. They can either be in a carton or can. Coconut milk in cartons is usually given to children since they are more diluted and have healthy fat content. This type of milk can also be a good source of iron, vitamin A, and some B vitamins, but they lack proteins. Coconut milk is also known to have potential immune-boosting and infection-fighting benefits.
About baby formulas with low iron
Babies that cannot consume breast milk or partially drinking breast milk should be fed using an iron-fortified formula. Pediatricians do not recommend using a low-iron formula for those who are depending solely on formula milk. However, if, upon evaluation, the doctor will prescribe your baby with a low-iron formula, then that might be the best option. That means that only an expert or a physician will be able to decide if your little one would need a low-iron formula. You might be needing prescriptions because, in some areas, you will not be able to purchase a low-iron formula over the counter.
The options for low-iron formulas are minimal, so it would be easy to choose between products. Your doctor will also guide you as to what will be best suited for your baby.
- Enfamil Premature Low Iron Formula, this is a milk-based formula for preemies or low-weight babies.
- Similac Low Iron Formula is specially formulated for infants who would need lower mineral intake because of impaired renal function.
If you are very confused and concerned about your baby’s formula, we are here to help. But if you have concerns that need to be discussed, you can ask your pediatrician about them. Changing from one formula to another‘ is tricky; how much more if, you are planning to change something that affects its composition as a whole. Whatever your child’s needs may be, it is essential that they are being satisfied so that they will be able to grow healthily and happily.