If you bottle feed your baby, here is some information to help you choose the right infant formula.
An alternative solution
It is generally known that breastfeeding has many benefits for your baby's health and well-being. That is why the World Health Organization (WHO), the Canadian Paediatric Society, and the medical community recommend that all mothers breastfeed exclusively until their baby reaches six months of age. Therefore, they should be strongly encouraged and supported in the breastfeeding process.
However, various problems can compromise breastfeeding and even lead to giving it up altogether. In many cases, support, coaching, and assistance by a professional can help mothers to find solutions to the problems they encounter. The decision to stop breastfeeding can be difficult for some mothers. For others, the choice to switch to bottle feeding comes naturally, as it is considered the best option.
Commercial infant formulas
Because commercialized infant formulas in Canada are subject to the Food and Drug Act, their composition, manufacturing, labelling, and packaging are strictly controlled. Infant formulas take on different forms: powder, concentrated liquid or ready-to-drink liquid. Parents can make their choice by taking into account the price, product convenience, and the following elements:
- For a healthy child, the use of a cow's milk-based protein formula is recommended to start.
- Unless otherwise indicated by a doctor, you should always buy iron enriched formula until your child is 9 to 12 months old.
- Infant formulas are divided into five categories: regular iron-enriched or non enriched formulas, follow-up formulas, lactose-free formulas, soy-based formulas, and therapeutic formulas. Among other things, your choice must be based on:
- the baby's age
- his/her health
- his/her allergy or food intolerance risk
- the formula composition
- the family's lifestyle or beliefs
- Your baby's healthcare provider can indicate which category is best suits his/her needs.
Some advice for optimal use
If you provide infant formula to your baby, follow this advice:
- Wash your hands well with soapy water before preparing the bottle.
- Never give your child formula that is passed the expiry date or that comes from a container that is dented, swollen or has an abnormal appearance.
- Never use tap water to dilute the powder or concentrated liquid. Use water that has boiled for at least two minutes, then cooled, or use bottled water.
- Follow the product manufacturer's instructions regarding storage, manipulation, shelf-life, and instructions for use.
Pharmacists can help you choose the infant formula that is best-suited to your little one. They can answer your questions about the optimal use of this type of product and about infant nutrition. When it comes to the health of young and old, you can count on your pharmacist!