Why in the world is formula feeding a baby so confusing?


Being a second time mom, one would think that you could just follow the same recipe that you used for your first. The same clothes, the same pram, the same routine, and the same way of feeding. But as we know every little creature is different.

Maybe we hope that all our babies are going to be the same from a convenience point of view ( I’ve done the research before, so I don’t need to do it again) or because our egos get in the way (I’m a mom again, I’ve got my stuff together and I know what I’m doing).

Fast forward past my decision to move my second baby onto infant formula just like I did my first. Surely the formula brand and variant that I used for my first would be as well suited for my second? Think again!

After a few traumatic nights of reflux, colic and constipation, I knew what I had to do. Look for another formula brand … or did I need to find another variant in the current formula brand that I was using … or did I need to alternate between the two variants? How hard could making this decision be?

FormulaStanding in the baby section in a pharmacy confronted by over 7 formula brands and in total close to 60 variants – how on earth was I to know what to choose? What’s the difference between HA and AD and AC and what was Soya formula for again and what in the world does satiety mean? Lastly why do some tins give an explanation about what the formula variant does, whilst others don’t ? With no one to ask in a public space (thanks to our Minister of Health and a piece of legislation called R991, who was I to phone instead of my paediatrician, who could I ask ….. so I did what I’m sure many others do and ask Doctor Google.

But with so many conflicting messages and explanations, it’s no wonder certain brands and variants remain so popular. Getting correct factual information can be so difficult, so you might as well use the brand and variant that your mothers mother used and not research new brands and advancements.

In comes BabyYumYum to empower mothers , fathers and caregivers. Below is a dictionary of all that we have compiled using expert resources (not Doctor Google).

Oh and did I ever find the right brand and variant for my second baby? Yes, and after a little bit of research to help me make an informed decision, my baby is happy and satisfied, and so am I. Just one less thing to worry about.

A-Z Guide to Feeding

(Note: The information and/or advice is not intended to replace medical care)

Alpha-lactalbumi: a major protein in human breast milk, as opposed to casein, a major protein in cow’s milk.

Amino Acid based formulas:  Infant formula based on synthetic amino acids. It is suitable for the dietary management of children allergic to cows’ milk or with multiple food protein allergy.

Allergens:  Substances capable of triggering the production of IgE antibodies to provoke allergic symptoms. Foods, such as cows’ milk, can be an allergen.

AC: Typically for babies suffering from Colic

AD: Anti Diarrhea formula

AR: Anti Regurgitation formula

Bifidus factors: factors in the colostrum and breast milk that favour the growth of the “friendly” bacterium Lactobacillus bifidus in infant’s intestinal tract, so that other less desirable intestinal inhabitants will not flourish.

Colic: an infant who, otherwise healthy and well-fed, has paroxysms of irritability, fussing or crying lasting for a total of more than three hours a day and occurring on more than three days in any one week.

Colostrum: a milk like secretion from the breast, present during the first day or so after delivery before milk appears, rich in protective factors.

Constipation: a condition of having infrequent or difficult bowel movements. Rare defaecation in breast fed infants is defined as less than 1 defaecation in 7 days, whereas in formula fed infants it is defined as less than 1 defaecation in 3 days.

Complementary bottle feeding: Whereby you accompany breast milk with the occasional infant formula.

Cow’s milk:  consists of whey protein and casein protein.

Casein: main milk protein, making up 80% of the proteins in cows’ milk. Casein has a wide variety of uses, from being a major component of cheese, to use as a food additive, also as binder for safety matches.

Dehydration: the condition in which body water output exceeds water input. Symptoms include thirst, dry skin and mucous membranes, rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure and weakness.

Diarrhoea: the frequent passage of watery bowel movements.

Demand feeding: feeding infants in response to their hunger cues.

Electrolytes: salts that dissolve in water and dissociate into charged particles called ions.

Exclusive feeding: giving either breastmilk or infant formula as the only/main source of nutrients/food for a specific duration of time (usually 4 to 6 months).

Food intolerances: adverse reactions to foods that do not involve the immune system.

Follow up formulas: usually refers to the number 2 formulas, which is a follow on/up milk formula that covers all the nutritional needs of infants from 6 months old.

Gastroeophageal reflux: the backflow of stomach acid into the espohagus, causing damage to the cells of the esophagus and the sensation of heartburn.

Growing up formula: usually referring to the number 3 formulas, which is the growing-up formulas that have been specially developed in order to take over from milk formulae in your baby’s diet as of 1 year old up to 3 years of age.

Hydrolysis: a chemical reaction in which a major reactant is split into two products/ broken down to smaller fragments.

Hypoallergenic formulas: clinically tested infant formulas that support infant growth and development, but do not provoke reactions in 90% of infants and children with confirmed cow’s milk allergy. This definition does not apply to the common “HA” formulas on the market, which is only partially hydrolysed formulas adequate for the prevention of allergies, but rather the extensively hydrolysed formulas indicated for the treatment of allergies.

Hydrolysed formula:  Cows’ milk-based formula treated with enzymes in order to break down most of the proteins that cause symptoms in allergic infants

Iron Fortified:  the addition to a food of nutrient (such as iron) that were either not originally present or present in insignificant amounts. Fortification can be used to correct or prevent widespread nutrient deficiency or to balance the total nutrient profile of food.

Infant formula:  Liquid or reconstituted powders fed to infants and young children instead of or in addition to breast milk.

IT: Intestinal transit – best suited for constipation.

IgE:  Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is a class of antibody elicited by allergens. Elevated blood levels of IgE usually indicate an allergy.

Lactose free:  when a product does not contain the nutrient lactose, commonly referred to as “milk sugar”.

Organic Infant Formula:  This is a whole subject on its own but in a nutshell this is formula which is created without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation.

Probiotics:  living microorganisms found in foods that, when consumed in sufficient quantities are beneficial to health.

Reflux:  The involuntary passage of gastric contents into the oesophagus. Normal physiological event affecting the majority of infants.

Satiety: the feeling of fullness and satisfaction that occurs after a meal and inhibits eating until the next meal. Satiety determines how much time passes between meals.

SD: Sweet Dreams – this formula creates a longer lasting feeling of fullness in baby.

Sterilization:  The removal of all microorganisms and other pathogens from an object or surface by e.g. subjecting it to high heat.

Soy formula:  Soy formula is an infant food made using soy protein and other components. It is fed to infants as a supplement or replacement for human milk or cow milk formula.

Whey protein:  whey is the watery part of milk that separates from the curds.

Disclaimer: Breast milk is the best food for infants. Good maternal nutrition is essential to prepare and maintain breastfeeding. If breastfeeding is not applied, an infant formula may be used according to health professionals’ advice. Preparation and storage of any infant formula should be performed as directed on the tin in order not to pose any health hazards.

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