The first year of life is characterized by an especially high rate of growth and differentiation of organs and tissues, as well as the imperfect development of the digestive glands and external secretory function of the liver, immaturity of metabolic systems, and homeostasis regulation. This dictates special requirements for the composition and quality of the infant’s diet.
Natural feeding is the only form of human nutrition, formed during its biological evolution. Mother’s milk is a natural unique biological product, which contains all essential nutrients in optimal proportions, easily digestible form, and provides physiologically adequate nutrition for infants.
Of course, it is impossible to fully replace breast milk, especially its biological effects, but in the absence of milk from the mother, the baby has to be transferred to artificial feeding. Today, artificial and mixed feeding should be used in modern dairy infant formula industrial production, approximate in composition to women’s milk.
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Every child is different
An important task in the work of the pediatrician is the correct individual approach to the choice of a milk formula when mixed or artificial feeding of a baby in the first year of life is required.
Most modern infant formulas are divided according to the degree of adaptation into starter formulas, which are indicated for feeding infants during the first six months of life, and further formulas for infants during the second six months of life. Starter formulas are as close in composition to baby’s milk as possible (as modern technology permits) and meet the needs and metabolic specificities of children in the first months of life. The following formulas take into account the higher requirements of babies in the second half of life.
Achievements in the direction of improving milk formulas, above all, concern their protein composition. Several goals are being achieved in parallel: reducing the protein level, increasing the biological value of the proteins by optimizing the ratio between whey proteins and caseins, and optimizing the amino acid composition. Lowering protein levels prevents protein overload in a child’s immature metabolic system.
Where to start?
The artificial formula is prescribed by a doctor and only a doctor. Not a friend, not an advertisement, or even a mother’s intuition is not helpful. The pediatrician should proceed from the severity and peculiarities of child development, the circumstances of pregnancy and childbirth, and the propensity for allergies. He also has to argue the reasons for switching to a mixture, not guided by outdated methods. If you have doubts about the doctor’s advice, visit another specialist. Choosing food from birth is a vital question!
How do you start?
The formula is introduced gradually to check the body’s reaction. On the first day of one day give 10 ml of powder, on the second – three times 10 ml, on the third day the dose is doubled, so the week brings the rate of powder to the daily. In special cases, under the supervision of a doctor, the mixture is introduced more quickly.
What kind of formula is better?
The baby likes it. This means that he eats with pleasure, does not cry when feeding and does not turn away, does not burp more often, there are no rashes on the skin, and prolonged constipation (slight constipation immediately after the introduction of the mixture is considered the norm). Give preference to mixes in which whey proteins rather than casein proteins predominate. A good example of an organic casein mixture is the HiPP goat milk formula stage 1 – suitable for feeding your baby in the first six months of his life. Do not buy a formula that contains sucrose and starch.
Important little things when choosing a formula
You should feed your baby formula based on her age and considering certain aspects:
- Up to 6 months of age, only entry-level formula;
- Newborns and infants up to 6 months of age should be given adapted formula. They are most similar to mother’s milk in composition and are easily accepted by the baby’s digestive system;
- Medicinal formulae for health problems can be given once or twice a day. Not more often; beautiful advertising is great. But do not let yourself be fooled. Read the composition, compare, and ask. If you’re alarmed that there’s a mixture of rapeseed oil and palm oil in the formula, don’t take it at all;
- Blends with an approaching expiration date are best thrown in the trash. Don’t take any chances;
- Every product has its place of sale. It is better to buy baby formula in stores designated for that purpose;
- Linoleic acid, taurine and carnitine, all in the formula? Great! Although the baby formula is without them nowadays;
- Observe your baby. If you see an adverse reaction to the food, go to the doctor. Yes, it’s him, not a friend or mother, no matter what kind of expert you think she is. But if she has a doctor’s degree lying on her desk, then – you’re welcome.
Remember that baby food for babies must meet certain quality standards, and each age has its mix.
Starting to think about complementary foods
By the age of 6 months, many babies are already familiar with natural fruit juices and purees. If your baby has already tried the fruit, you can begin to introduce vegetable purees, cereal, special baby crackers, and cookies. Children who are artificially fed need to be transferred to the formula for half a year olds, as well as introduced to additional complementary foods.
For a six-month-old child, it is important to choose the right meal plan with the most balanced diet. This will provide the growing body with the nutrients it needs to build strong health. The diet of a 6-month-old baby should be rich in vitamin A, which is necessary for the growth of body cells and visual acuity (contained in orange and dark green vegetables such as broccoli, pumpkin, and carrots), vitamin C, which promotes the proper formation of tissues, iron, necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and proper growth (contained in cereals) No less important for a six-month-old baby is calcium, which is necessary for the formation of strong teeth and strong bone tissue.