Infant formula, regular baby formula or simply baby formula or first milk or infant milk, baby formula is a commercially prepared food designed and sold specifically for feeding infants and babies under the age of twelve months, generally prepared from liquid or powdered feed. The term infant is usually reserved for these younger babies, as the older term baby is used for those of younger ages. The food is made up of water, powdered or pasteurized milk or other milk substitute, sugar, vitamins, and added minerals. All are safe for use on infants of this age however there are some risks involved in using infant formula, especially when given to extremely premature infants or for those who have a history of allergic reactions to formula.
Because of the prevalence of powdered or pasteurized infant formula on store shelves today, it is not uncommon for it to have an expiration date stamped on it. An expiration date can be for one of several reasons; the longer the better, meaning that the product has probably been sitting on the shelves for a long enough period of time to begin to degrade. Usually the first indication that you can see on the expiration date is that the container will begin to appear very cloudy or oily. The reason for this is because the powdered or pasteurized milk has begun to break down. It may still be fresh in the original container, but as it begins to break down it will produce a cloudy appearance and smell. If you are concerned about the expiration date, it is best to purchase formula that is already packaged and sealed at the manufacturing plant.
There are several factors that come into play when determining the expiration date of infant formula. One is the manufacture date, which can vary according to each brand. Another factor is the variety of ingredients that are used in the making of the product. There are some brands that contain wheat, corn, soy or other grain based ingredients while others contain rice or other grains. This can also factor into the expiration date. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to determining if a soy-based formula is better for infants:
In general, infant formulas that are soy based are best suited for infants up to 12 months of age because they are easier on their digestive systems than other varieties of formula. If you purchase ready-to-use formula, you must mix it with water. Other varieties of infant formula are not compatible with certain babies because of the gluten or casein that may be present. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and oats while casein is found in cow’s milk.
Soy-based formulas also tend to be lighter in consistency than other varieties of infant formulas. Some brands of soy-based formulas also tend to be cheaper than some milk formulas. On the flip side, these formulas do tend to be richer in nutrients and have a higher fat content than other types of infant formula. Since soy-based formulas are becoming more common, more studies are being done on them. However, there’s still some debate over how safe they are for babies.
As with any food or supplement, you should carefully review all of the ingredients before purchasing a product. Check with your pediatrician to learn about soy-based formulas and the potential risks associated with them. Breast milk is still the best option for breastfeeding babies. For the sake of convenience as well as economic reasons, try to find a formula that is made from soy rather than cow’s milk. Make sure to check with your baby’s pediatrician if you have questions regarding which milk formula is best for your baby.