Differences between formulas

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Differences between formulas

Most people think there are no differences between formulas and all formulas are the alike. And this is simply not true. Here´s the thing. All formulas are going to feed your child and nourish your child just fine and they all have to adhere to certain standards set forth by the International Formula Council and the FDA. But the thing is they do differ. And as any sensitive baby can attest, some babies do great on one brand and not the other even with the normal formula. I am not even talking about sensitive versus soy. So it´s really important to realize that if one formula isn´t working for your child, another one probably will. Now the different kinds of formulas, the first category are just your regular milk based formulas. Now these include like your Similac Advanced or any of the ones you are usually given in the hospital if your hospital does give out samples. Most babies will tolerate these just fine but some don´t. And if they don´t, then your next step is usually to try a sensitive formula, which is also milk based but these contain what´s called partially hydrolized proteins. Now, that just means that they are breaking down the protein a little bit to make it easier to digest for your baby but an interesting thing to note is recent studies have actually shown that babies who are fed partially hydrolized based formulas do fare better in some significant ways. So it´s just something to consider. There are generic brands that have the partially hydrolized proteins so in terms of cost, it is usually pretty equal to the normal milk based. But if your baby is super sensitive and can´t handle any milk derivatives, your next option is going to be a hypoallergenic formula. These are completely broken down and they are actually dair derived but the protein is so tiny and so predigested that even typically milk allergic babies can tolerate them. If they can´t, there is also amino based, which are prescription formulas for really the most allergic babies. But these are super expensive, available by prescription only, and tend to taste awful so it´s usualy better not to go there unless you have to. The one other option you have is soy. Soy formulas are a bit controversial because there is some concern about giving that much soy to babies, especially boys. The American Academy of Pediatrics right now does suggest that parents only turn to soy formula if a baby can´t tolerate milk and they don´t want to pay the cost of a hypoallergenic formula or if the parents are vegan. But what I would say is if you are concerned about soy, do your own research because a lot of this advice coming from these organizations are being extremely overcautious and most likely if your baby is fed on soy formula, it´s not going to be the end of the world.

See Suzanne Barston, CLC's video on Differences between formulas...


Expert Bio

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Suzanne Barston, CLC

Blogger & Author of Bottled Up

Suzanne Barston, CLC is the former Editor-in-Chief of Los Angeles Family Magazine, a Certified Lactation Counselor, and a freelance writer specializing in parenting, women’s interest, and science/health topics. She is the author of Bottled Up: How the Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood, and Why It Shouldn’t and blogs as her alter ego, the "Fearless Formula Feeder". "FFF", as it’s known to an international fan base representing over 40 countries, supports parents dealing with issues of guilt, fear, conflict and uncertainty regarding infant feeding difficulties and choices through critical assessments of research, pithy commentary, practical advice, and a weekly series allowing parents to share stories in a cathartic way. She is also the co-creator of the #ISupportYou movement. 

Barston was raised outside of Boston and earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University in 2000. After living and working in Chicago and London, she now resides in Los Angeles with her husband, the photographer Steven Barston, and their two obnoxiously cute children. She and her husband were featured on two award-winning online reality series for Pampers.com, A Parent is Born and Welcome to Parenthood, about their pregnancy and first years as parents. Suzanne's writing and her work with FFF and Bottled Up have been featured in the New York Times, the Huffington Post, SheKnows.com, Babble.com, Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine, Parenting, Babytalk, OhBaby!, Fit Pregnancy, The Observer, Yahoo Shine!, Australia's Good Weekend magazine, and on a variety of radio programs including KPCC's "Take Two", numerous NPR affiliates, "Parenting Unplugged", "Positive Parenting", "Mom Enough", "For Crying Out Loud", "Voice of Russia", and more. Suzanne was honored to be one of the keynote Voices of the Year in 2012 for the annual BlogHer conference.

She currently works both as a writer and as an Infant Feeding Counselor. 


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