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Infant Formulas - Topic Overview

What types of formulas are there? continued...

Other types of formulas are available for babies who have trouble digesting cow's-milk formulas. These are for babies who are at high risk of allergies or with a cow's milk allergy. Talk to your doctor before giving your baby one of these formulas.

  • Soy formulas may be recommended for babies who are unable to tolerate cow's-milk formulas or for vegetarian parents who don't want to feed their babies animal products. Or soy formulas may be chosen for cultural, ethical, or religious reasons.
  • Soy formula is not recommended for all infants. It should not be given to any infant who has a soy protein allergy.
  • Lactose-free formulas are used for babies who are lactose-intolerant. This is a rare condition in babies.
  • Hydrolyzed protein or amino acid formulas are used for babies who cannot tolerate formulas made from cow's milk or soy.

Do not use homemade formulas, such as those that use evaporated milk. These do not contain the nutrients and supplements your baby needs. They could also make your baby sick.

How do I prepare them?

You can buy formula as a powder or as a concentrated or ready-to-feed liquid. Ready-to-feed formulas cost the most. But some caregivers find their convenience worth the extra cost. You must add cool, safe water to powders and concentrates. Be sure to follow the directions on the label and use the measuring device that comes with the product.

Cover and store your open cans of ready-to-feed and concentrated liquid product in the refrigerator for no longer than 48 hours. Cover and store both opened and unopened cans of powder formula in a cool, dry place, not in the refrigerator. You can use the powder product for up to 4 weeks, if it's stored right. Don't leave prepared formula out of the refrigerator.

Also, follow-up formulas for toddlers are available and usually contain more iron and other nutrients than other formulas. They can be used for older babies who are switching from formula to whole cow's milk. Most babies make this transition easily.

In some cases, doctors recommend adding a thickening agent to a baby's formula. Before you use one, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits. If you have any trouble feeding your baby, talk to your doctor or nurse.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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