How do you choose the right baby formula?

How do you choose the right baby formula? – words Anna Wallace

When you have decided to give your baby formula, you will have an important decision to make. In a world with hundreds of different brands, how do you choose the right baby formula for your baby?

Fortunately, parents can count on the following information to not get overwhelmed in the baby formula isle.


The Three Types of Formula

Considering not every mum has the ability to breastfeed, there may be time where formula[1] is needed. When you encounter possible formula choices, you will notice three main types of formula. These types of formula include powders, liquid concentrates and ready-to-use formula.

Each formula type has its own advantages and disadvantages, not only for the baby, but also for parents. Therefore, it is extremely important to consider each one before you commit to a specific one.

When choosing your formula type, also make sure you choose a brand that can provide you with a constant supply. Changing formulas too often can cause digestive distress for babies, so try to stick the same formula throughout the early life of your baby.

Formula Sources

To create formula, manufacturers can use many different source materials. The best known source of formula is still cow’s milk, but that does not mean it is necessarily the advised formula. Many babies experience digestive distress from cow’s milk, because their tiny tummies find it hard to digest cow’s milk properly. In these cases, it could be better to look at an alternative such as goat’s milk baby formula, which naturally contains higher levels of prebiotic oligosaccharides to aid with digestion.

In addition to goat’s milk formula, there are other options available on the market as well; this includes soy and hydrolysed formulas. However, these two options tend to be used only on recommendation of a health professional, since these formula options could cause some problems for babies.


Making Your Decision

Once you are familiar with the different types of formula and have done a little bit of research into the various brands and formulas available, it is best to consult a health professional before you choose formula for your baby. Paediatricians will be able to provide you with some recommendations, which could reduce the chance of your baby not being able to tolerate a certain formula.

Problems with Formula

Fortunately for most parents, problems with formula tend to be easy to detect because of clear symptoms that children may show after consuming it. When you child experiences symptoms such as dry skin, irritated skin, diarrhea, loose stool, constipations, forceful vomiting or extreme fatigue or weakness, be sure to contact a health professional right away, because your child may be experiencing an allergic reaction to the formula.

Formula Feeding Tips

When you are feeding your baby formula for the first time, it can be useful to have some valuable tips on formula feeding. The first thing you should always know about formula feeding is that you can feed your baby as much formula as he or she wants, but never force your baby when he or she has lost interest in eating.

Ensuring your baby get the right nutrients when you use formula feed also includes looking at the instructions provided by the formula manufacturer. Always read how much water you need to add to a concentrated powder, because adding the wrong amount could lead to digestive problems such as diarrhea, and in extreme cases to dehydration.

When you use formula, never try to save money by watering down the formula you have obtained. When you add too much water to formula, your baby will not get the right number of nutrients and could be susceptible to water intoxication, a condition that disrupts the electrolyte balance in the body. When left untreated, this condition could have serious consequences such as seizures and even brain damage. Therefore, always make sure you follow instructions to the letter.

Last but not least, if your baby seems to spit up formula a lot more than normal, adjust the amount of formula you are giving your baby. Also, make sure you do not formula feed your baby too quickly, because some babies are slower eaters. The baby should also be held in an upright position, since the still developing digestive system of your baby could cause the food to come back up.


Despite having a world of choices where formula is concerned, it is always best to ask your paediatrician for formula recommendations first. Even if you have used formula in the past for one of your other children, each child is unique and may have special needs. So no matter how attractive a certain formula appears to be, always convey your ideas to a health professional to get the best formula option possible for your little one.

How do you choose the right baby formula? – words Anna Wallace

[1] “Choosing Baby Formula”, WEBMD (2016), available from URL: