Read on to learn about important baby formula ingredients to look for when choosing the best formula for your healthy baby.
Choosing the best baby formula for your little one can be complicated, and we know that every parent tries to do the best for their family. Experts agree that breast milk offers optimal nutrition for babies, so the goal of a formula is to mimic the nutritional composition of breast milk, as best as possible. Read on to learn about essential baby formula ingredients to look for when choosing the best formula for your baby.
A baby’s digestive system is still growing and maturing, so it’s essential that the protein in the formula is easy to digest. Goat milk protein is naturally easy to digest and forms a softer, smaller and looser curd in the gut compared to cow milk protein. It is also degraded more quickly than cow milk protein. Some babies with health concerns may require a specialty formula, where the protein components are partially or fully broken down.
Animal milk, including breast milk, is made up of two major types of protein: whey and casein. Breast milk contains 60% whey and 40% casein, while cow and goat milk contain 20% whey and 80% casein. The formula should contain added whey to maintain a balance of whey and casein consistent with breast milk. Look for “whey” in the ingredient list, so you know the whey to casein ratio is adapted.
Lactose is the primary carbohydrate found in breast milk. Carbohydrates are used as an essential energy source for growing babies. As humans age, we produce less lactase enzyme making lactose intolerance more common in older children and adults. However, lactose intolerance is uncommon in babies under the age of two or three; and most babies produce sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose for absorption.
Other carbohydrates you may see in formulas include maltodextrin and corn syrup. These carbohydrates are not found in breast milk and contain higher amounts of glucose.
Fat is a critical macronutrient for babies. Breast milk contains a complex variety of fatty acids, with approximately 20-25% palmitic acid – most of which is found in a specific structure. The goal in a formula: to mimic the fatty acid profile (and structure) of breast milk, as best possible.
In the US, the formula industry standard is to replace animal fat with a vegetable oil blend. As no oil has a comparable fatty acid profile as breast milk, manufacturers will use a vegetable oil blend (often including palm oil as a vital source of palmitic acid). A fat blend with beta palmitate, such as an OPO fat blend, mimics both composition and structure and has been positively associated with improved nutrient absorption, bone mass and stool consistency.
Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA, are critical for the eye, brain, and nervous system development, and also have positive effects on cognitive development. DHA is naturally found in breast milk, along with other omega fatty acids such as ARA. Studies have shown that supplementing formula with both DHA and ARA, instead of DHA alone, is vital for development.
Families using formula should have access to reliable information to make informed choices. We believe that clarity about the ingredients in baby formula and manufacturing practices is crucial to empowering parents to make confident decisions about the best baby formula for their family.
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Kabrita Goat Milk Toddler Formula may be an option for little ones during feeding transitions, such as weaning and supplementing, or those with minor issues associated with cow milk sensitivity*.
*Not suitable for children with confirmed cow milk protein allergy