It is clear to everyone that a mother's breast milk is the best baby feeding option, especially in the first 6 months of its life. In fact, the universal recommendation of all health and social organizations involved in the upbringing of the smallest members of society recommend that children be breastfed as long as possible, because breast milk not only provides all the necessary nutrients for the newborn organism, but it is also the safest defender of the health of the newborn.
However, there are a number of cases where natural breastfeeding is impossible. These are contraindications related to the baby. They include:
- Birth-traumatic injuries with risk of internal bleeding;
- Severe diseases causing respiratory problems;
- Premature babies who lack sucking and swallowing reflexes;
- In operative delivery.
There are also a number of contraindications from the mother's side. Among them are:
- Illnesses of the mother, in which case breastfeeding may be dangerous for her health or that of the baby;
- If the mother suffers from cystic fibrosis, because there is too much sodium in the breast milk;
- If the mother takes narcotic substances or medicinal preparations.
Breastfeeding problems can also occur with malformations of the baby's mouth, blockage of the mammary gland ducts in the mother and the occurrence of breastfeeding problems accompanied by painful sensations.
There are also absolute contraindications for breastfeeding metabolic diseases, defects in the urea cycle and others that require feeding the baby with infant formula.
Composition and production of infant formula
Manufacturers of formula milk use breast milk as a model and follow a general recipe, which includes:
Different ingredients are combined, so that the food in infant formula milk has almost the same proportions as breast milk. The big difference between individual formulas comes from the sources - cow's milk, soy or something else.
Most types of formula milk are based on cow's milk, which undergoes special processing. Soybeans are also a source of nutrients needed in human nutrition. Manufacturers start with the basic elements in cow's milk and soy milk and add ingredients, until the product is as close to human milk as possible. Protein, carbohydrate and fat levels are adjusted and vitamins and minerals are added.
Since the chemical composition of cow's milk and mother's milk differ in a number of indicators, some adjustments are necessary. Here's what they are:
- The content of proteins and mineral substances in cow's milk is reduced by diluting it;
- Lactoalbumins are added to correct the ratio between casein and whey proteins. This is a mandatory change for the milk to become adapted. If protein correction is not carried out, the milk is partially adapted;
- In order for carbohydrates in formula milk to be as close as possible to those in mother's milk, lactose is added;
- The addition of vegetable oils containing polyunsaturated fatty acids corrects the quantity and quality of fats;
- Enrichment of formula milk with vitamins and microelements takes into account the daily needs of the newborn organism. In terms of calories, formula milk is in sync with breast milk.
Types of formula milk
In recent years, different types of adapted and partially adapted milks have been produced in order to make an appropriate choice by comparison.
- Dietary milks - these are intended for children with chronic diarrhea. They are: low-lactose, soy and hydrolyzed milk;
1. Low lactose milk is produced from cow's milk. The requirements are that the lactose has been reduced several times, they do not contain gluten and in terms of chemical composition they are close to formula milk. This way, the child develops well physically even with long-term treatment;
2. In soy milk, the protein is replaced by soy isolate. They are for feeding children with an allergy to cow's milk protein. In terms of composition, they are similar to formula milk and are suitable for long-term treatment through diet. They do not contain gluten;
3. Milk with hydrolyzed protein - they are suitable for children with allergies to cow's milk and soy proteins. They are for children born with low birth weight;
- Infant formula with lactose intolerance - intolerance to milk sugar is due to the lack of the enzyme lactase, which breaks it down into simple sugars. This type of milk contains little or no lactose;
- Infant formula with gastroesophageal reflux - they are used to feed babies with this disease who burp and vomit;
- Infant formula with gastrointestinal diseases - such manifestations are colic, belching, constipation and vomiting.
Use of formula milk - rules and guidelines
If there are reasons to feed the baby with infant formula, rules must be followed to ensure the health and proper development of the baby. They are the following:
1. Expiry date of the milk and condition of the packaging - if the expiry date has passed, there are no guarantees that the product is suitable for use. Outdated foods and those with damaged packaging are not suitable for the baby. There should be no protrusions, dents, leaks or stains on the package;
2. Hygiene when preparing the milk - it is necessary to observe strict hygiene, including washing hands always before handling the baby's food;
3. Sterilization of milk preparation utensils - bottles, teats, caps, spoons need to be sterilized. The utensils are boiled for 5 minutes. The utensils should be allowed to air dry. For the next use, wash with soap and water;
4. Measuring infant formula - it is imperative to read the packaging in order to prepare the correct amount, depending on the age of the baby;
5. Steps in preparing formula
- Clean boiled water is used;
- According to the instructions, a quantity of water is mixed with a dry substance;
- After establishing the correct proportion, the mixture is shaken well;
6. Formula temperature
The temperature of the milk is checked on the wrist. It should be cool. After feeding the baby, the remains are thrown away;
7. Storage of formula milk
Store unopened packages in a cool and dry place. If it is suspected that the packaging has not been stored properly, it should be discarded.
Tips for switching to cow's infant formula milk for a newborn
Cow's milk is quite different in composition from a mother's breast milk. It contains more proteins and mineral salts, but is poorer in fats and carbohydrates. It contains more than 2 times more protein than casein, which is more difficult to digest and has a lower biological value.
Cow's milk has less lactose and fat. It contains enough calcium, but it is not absorbed well because of the alkaline pH. Iron is not enough and high sodium levels make it difficult for the newborn's kidneys to work. This poses a risk of serious disturbances in very young infants, which are fed cow's milk. Therefore, it should not replace formula milk if artificial feeding of the newborn is necessary.
See also how to prepare healthy baby puree for your baby if it is already of an appropriate age.
Here's how a 7-month-old baby should be fed.