Baby formula, baby food or simply baby food or first milk or formula, baby formula or powdered milk, baby formula or ready-to-eat cereals, baby food or ready-to-eat cereals, is a commercially-available product usually prepared and distributed for feeding infants and young children under the age of twelve months, usually ready for bottle-feeding or cap-fed. It can be powdered, pasteurized, or dehydrated (thawing). Baby food or baby formula has no nutritional value in itself; instead it is made up of cereals or nutrients that the mother should supplement with for normal baby growth. The market is today flooded with hundreds of different varieties, brands and types of baby food or baby formula products.
The formula has become so much of a part of daily life that some people consider it unhealthy. Studies show that children who are fed with ready-to-eat baby food or baby formula tend to have weak immune systems and suffer from allergies more frequently than those who are fed with regular food. As a result, parents should always make sure to read the labels carefully. Most baby formula sold today is produced in the United States and in other developed countries. In addition to having been created in a laboratory, baby food or baby formula comes in a variety of different flavors, textures and containers. Each of these factors can affect the way that the formula tastes to an infant and may even cause problems over time if the baby is not properly cared for and fed using baby food or baby formula.
First of all, food manufacturers are required to list ingredients in baby food or baby formula advertising. The major food producers spend millions of dollars each year creating advertisements that are designed to appeal to and then persuade potential baby food or baby formula buyers to purchase their products. In these advertisements, baby formula is often represented as being a healthy, nutritious food that promotes good health. However, this is simply not the case. All too often, baby formula is represented as being so pure that it is almost indistinguishable from regular food and as being appropriate for infants and toddlers.
In addition to this misleading representation, some baby food or baby formula makers also add small amounts of filler to the product, such as wheat gluten, corn and rice starch, or other synthetic materials that do not contribute to the nutritional content of the product. While these substances may be added for convenience and marketability, they should never be consumed by a baby under the age of three and should only be taken with permission from a qualified doctor. Some baby foods or baby formula manufacturers claim that they use the most natural ingredients possible, but most of these products also contain artificial ingredients and preservatives. These artificial ingredients and preservatives may sometimes be more dangerous to your baby than the food they contain.
There is no single baby food or baby formula that is the best overall for every baby. The best recommendation is to choose one based on the nutritional needs of your baby. If your baby is breastfed, then it is highly recommended that you choose a baby food or baby formula that is designed to keep your baby adequately nourished during the first year of life, after which, your baby will be able to consume normal amounts of milk at that age. A baby formula that is formulated to meet the needs of a bottle-fed baby may not be suitable for a formula-fed baby. Regardless of the age or period of time in which your baby is fed, the baby should be offered breast or bottle feeding in order to receive the full benefits of baby food or baby formula.
Some baby food or baby formula makers will make a baby food or formula especially for infants and toddlers who are unable to eat solid food. These formulas may contain smaller quantities of food and zero calories. Because they are not as rich in nutrients, however, they may not be the best option for an older baby. Generally speaking, the best choice is to choose a baby formula that is designed specifically for the age and type of food your baby is eating at any given time.