A large portion of baby formula ingredients is made up of proteins extracted from cow’s milk. So why not just use cow’s milk then? The proteins found in baby formula have been specially treated to be more easily digested by tiny tummies. These proteins help babies’ brain, bone, and muscle development. Once ingested, our bodies break down proteins into amino acids that create enzymes, hormones, and antibodies to fight against infections and allergies. These are critical functions for a baby’s tiny body, which is why choosing a formula that contains high-quality protein is so important.
We all know the higher the fat content of our milk, the tastier it is — and the same applies to baby formula. The fats contained in formula are easily digestible vegetable oils like palm oil, sunflower oil, and rapeseed oil. Many formulas also include the fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid). These help with mental development and vision among other things. Some formulas derive these fatty acids using a petroleum derivative called hexane. However, hexane is also used in gasoline and glue. Look for brands like Holle
, and HiPP
that don’t use hexane in the production of their formulas.
Carbohydrates (or sugars) provide energy, which is something that growing babies need plenty of. If you’ve ever wondered why corn syrup is the first ingredient in some baby formulas, it’s because babies need lots of energy. However, corn syrup and other added sugars are unfortunately used in many formulas. These are not the only option, though. Look for formulas that use only organic lactose, which is what makes breast milk sweet.
Babies change and develop enormously over the first weeks and months of their lives. This is why baby formulas are available in stages. The different stages are specifically designed to fit the needs of each age range, whether the formula is going to a newborn or to a 20-month old. The nutrients found in each stage differ, but generally contain a combination of the following: Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K, Potassium, Calcium, Fluoride, Selenium, Manganese, and Iodine. Each one serves a specific purpose in helping babies’ development.
- Vitamin A aids in vision and skin
- Vitamin B supports the nervous and immune systems as well as cell growth and muscle tone
- Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron
- Vitamin D aids in calcium absorption
- Vitamin E is an antioxidant
- Vitamin K supports normal blood clotting
As you can see, baby milk formula ingredients vary widely — and each one serves an important purpose. Checking the labels on baby formulas is incredibly important to provide little ones with the best option available. Feel free to reach out to us in the comments below with any questions you have about what’s on baby formula labels.
Millions of babies are fed with formula every day. It’s the sustenance they live off of in the early months of life — but have you ever wondered what exactly is in it? What is that powder mixture actually made up of? We took an in-depth look at what’s in baby formulas and, although specific types vary, there is a basic make-up that’s pretty universal. Read on to learn the ingredients in baby formula.
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