Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Milk Monday - The Three Forms of Formula

This week I will discuss the three forms of formula, there are many types of formula but three forms. I will go into the types in a different blog entry. The three types are powder, concentrate and ready to feed.

Powder is, well its powder. Generally speaking, it is mixed with two ounces of water per heaping scoop. Please always read the feeding instructions on the particular formula you are using, but that is general use. Powder is considered to be the least expensive form and is what is distributed by the federal program WIC. However, there may be situations where it is not. Calvin was a reflux baby and even still has trouble with it as a toddler. To help him hold his milk down we added an extra scoop of formula to thicken it. Adding the extra scoop, sometimes scoop and half did not make it the cheapest option. Powdered formula is also not sterilize and there is a small risk a bacteria named Cronobacter can grow in powder products. It is a very small risk but not impossible. You can read more about Cronobacter from the CDC HERE.

Concentrate formula is much like condensed milk as far as mixing goes or frozen concentrate juices. You make X size of bottle and add X amount of water to it and stir, generally two ounces of water per concentrate. If you have a baby like ours who either likes or needs their milk to be thicker this may be the cheapest option. I say maybe since the availability of concentrate formula seems to be hit or miss in different areas and in stores. Not only is concentrate itself spotty in availability but the brands and variety of types available as well. Calvin did tolerate the concentrate very well and because it tends to have less bubbles that creates gas since there is not shaking of powder. It does need to be mixed but it’s stirred rather than shaken.

Lastly, there is Ready to Use formula which is open the container and pour into bottle (heat if baby likes) and that’s it. This is considered to be the most expensive but most convenient. Going back to the topic of reflux, ready to use is what we ended up sticking with as it was just the right weight for Calvin and readily available anywhere that sold formula. We didn't buy ready to use because we were too lazy to measure water. It was necessary for Calvin's health and comfort, who wants to puke their food up all the time?  I also found it for sale in bulk boxes at Babies R Us which saved us money over buying individual jugs. Liquid formula is also sterile, which eliminates the risk of Cronobacter. Read more about Cronobacter here from the CDC.

No matter what form of formula you decided is best for your baby and your wallet keep in mind that infant formula is very regulated by the FDA. All forms have safety standards, although the CDC does recommend liquid over powder, many many babies consume powder formula without incident. If you are currently struggling to find the right formula or if formula is in your future please discuss any concerns you may have with your pediatrician. Pediatricians are well informed on formula as well as may have samples of the different forms and types to see what may be best for your baby without spending money on each one.


Have a terrific week!